Is Andrew Cuomo married? New York leader divorced in 2005 before becoming governor

Cuomo tried to keep his marriage to Kerry Kennedy and 14-year relationship with Sandra Lee away from the spotlight

Bevan Hurley
Tuesday 10 August 2021 19:19
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Andrew Cuomo resigns as Governor of New York amid sexual harassment allegations
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Throughout his lengthy political career, Andrew Cuomo succeeded in shielding his personal life from the rigour of the media spotlight.

The former New York Governor, who resigned on Tuesday after being accused by 11 women of sexual harassment, maintained a veil of secrecy around his marriage to Kerry Kennedy and 14-year relationship with celebrity chef Sandra Lee.

But as the Covid-19 pandemic swept through New York a year after he split from Ms Lee, Mr Cuomo was found to have sexually harassed women in an explosive report from New York Attorney General Letitia James, that led to his position as Governor becoming untenable.

Mr Cuomo married Kerry Kennedy in 1990, forming a union of two powerful American political families that was dubbed “Cuomolot”, a play on the term Camelot that had come to define Ms Kennedy’s uncle JFK’s tenure in the White House.

Ms Kennedy is the seventh daughter of John Kennedy’s brother and presidential candidate Robert K Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968, and his wife Ethel.

Mr Cuomo, 63, is the son of three-term New York Governor Mario, and his wife of nearly 60 years Matilda.

Andrew Cuomo proposed to his bride on Valentine’s Day 1990, and the couple were married at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, DC, in June that year.

The couple would go on to have three daughters, Cara Ethel Kennedy-Cuomo and Mariah Matilda Kennedy-Cuomo in 1995, and Michaela Andrea Kennedy-Cuomo two years later.

According to a Kennedy family insider, Mr Cuomo did not get on well with the fun-loving Kennedy clan.

“Andrew refused to do anything fun, anything without a clear benefit to his career,” according to a quote in The Contender: Andrew Cuomo, a Biography.

In September 2002, the day after Mr Cuomo crashed out of his first ill-fated campaign for New York Governor, Ms Kennedy, a prominent human rights lawyer, demanded a divorce, biographer Michael Shnayerson wrote.

“The stresses of marriage and parenthood might have been alleviated, Kerry felt, if she and Andrew spent more time with their families (particularly her own): more child-care options, more camaraderie, more love and support. But Andrew did not agree.”

The divorce was only finalised in 2005. A decade later they were still battling over child support payments, according to a report in the New York Post.

The Post story prompted the pair to issue a statement denying there was any financial dispute.

In 2005, Mr Cuomo began dating famous TV chef Sandra Lee.

Ms Lee had starred in Food Network’s Semi-Homemade Cooking show and was the author of more than a dozen acclaimed cookbooks.

The couple moved in together the next year, and Ms Lee would attend the swearing in ceremony when Mr Cuomo achieved his lifelong goal of following his father into the governor’s mansion in Albany in 2011.

The couple preferred to keep their private life out of the media spotlight, but Ms Lee would regularly accompany him on official events.

In 2015, aged 48, Ms Lee was diagnosed with breast cancer, which became the focus of the documentary: Early Detection, A Cancer Journey with Sandra Lee.

“Sandy’s experience with breast cancer was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through personally. It opened my eyes, and I learned a lot,” Mr Cuomo told People magazine.

Signs that the couple’s relationship was in trouble emerged in 2018, when her image was removed from Mr Cuomo’s re-election campaign website.

They announced the breakup of their 14-year relationship in a joint statement in September 2019.

“Over the recent past, we have realised that our lives have gone in different directions, and our romantic relationship has turned into a deep friendship,” they said in a joint statement.

“We will always be family and are fully supportive of each other and dedicated to the girls. Our personal lives remain personal, and there will be no further comment.”

As the pandemic swept through New York state in early 2020, Mr Cuomo seemed to enjoy his moment in the spotlight during frequent appearances on his brother Chris’s CNN show.

​​”I’m the ‘Love Gov’, the governor told his brother. “I’m a cool dude in a loose mood, you know that. I just say let it go, just go with the flow baby, you know.”

In recent days, Ms Lee has been pictured in passionate public displays of affection with her new boyfriend Frenchman Ben Youcef.

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