Ann Romney Biography

Activist, Activist (1949–)
Ann Romney is the former first lady of Massachusetts and the wife of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.


Ann Romney was born in Detroit, Michigan, on April 16, 1949, and raised by a wealthy family in Bloomfield Hills. She attended an all-girls private elementary school, went on to high school and then enrolled at Brigham Young University. She began dating Mitt Romney while in high school in 1965, and formed a close relationship with his deeply religious father, who was at that time the governor of Michigan. The following year, she converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Romney temporarily interrupted her educational career in order to care for the five children she and Romney had together between 1970 and 1981, but earned a bachelor's degree in 1975. She has since been an active participant in her husband's political campaigns.

Early Life

Best known as the wife of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who ran for president in 2008 and 2012, Ann Lois Romney was born on April 16, 1949, in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, with her two brothers.

Ann Romney's father, Edward Davies, was a self-made businessman who also served as mayor of Bloomfield Hills for a period. For her elementary education, Romney attended the private all-girls Kingswood School, a sister school to the all-boys Cranbrook School, which Mitt Romney attended. The pair were reintroduced while in high school, and began dating in March 1965.

The following year, Romney converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and became a Mormon. Upon her graduation from high school in 1967, Romney enrolled at Brigham Young University.

Marriage, Family and Politics

Romney married Mitt Romney—whose father, George Romney, had been the governor of Michigan—in 1969, at a ceremony attended by then-U.S. House Minority Leader Gerald Ford and automotive executive Semon Knudsen. Then-President Richard Nixon sent his congratulations upon the couple's wedding.

About a year after their wedding, the Romneys' first son, Taggart, was born. Both Romney and her husband were undergraduates at BYU at that time, but because of Taggart's birth, Romney was unable to finish her undergraduate work. She would finish it a few years later, in 1975—taking classes toward her degree at Harvard University Extension School in Massachusetts—receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in French from Brigham Young University.

Between 1970 and 1981, the Romneys had five sons, and Romney was a stay-at-home mother. Her husband began to pursue political office in 1994, when the family lived in Massachusetts. Three years later, Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but has credited a mixture of mainstream and alternative treatments with improving her health and allowing her to live mostly without limitations. She is a board member of the New England chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and is known for her equestrianship, in which she became heavily involved following her diagnosis.

Later, in 2008, Romney was diagnosed with a non-invasive type of breast cancer known as mammary ductal carcinoma in situ. She underwent radiation therapy and has been cancer-free since.

In 2002, Romney's husband ran for and won the office of governor of Massachusetts. Three years later, he appointed her the head of a new special office designed to help the state's faith-based groups gain more federal funding. As Massachusetts' first lady, Romney was also active in teenage-pregnancy prevention efforts and children's charities, including Operation Kids.

Romney was a prominent participant in both of her husband's presidential campaigns, first in 2008 and again in 2012. In 2012, Romney gained momentum as the Republican presidential nominee, but ultimately lost to Barack Obama who was re-elected for a second term. Ann Romney appeared with her husband at the Boston Convention & Exhibiton Center after he delivered his concession speech in which he said: "I also want to thank Ann, the love of my life. She would have been a wonderful first lady. She's has been that and more to me and to our family and to the many people that she has touched with her compassion and her care."

As of May 2012, Romney and her husband had 18 grandchildren.

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