gallery Dressed for Political Distress
Huma Abedin is the latest in a string of wives who have had to present a brave public face during the scandals of their politician husbands. From Abedin to Hillary Clinton to Jenny Sanford, see photos of how political wives have dressed in distressing times.
Susan Walsh / Getty Images; Susan Walsh / AP Photo Huma Abedin
A day after news broke that disgraced (now former) New York City congressman
Anthony Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, was pregnant, photographers snapped shots of the lovely-looking aide to Secretary of State Hillary of Clinton on a diplomatic visit to Abu Dhabi. The paparazzi would have loved to capture her looking distressed and disheveled. Instead, she was poised and elegant as usual in a blue jacket cinched with a pink belt. Another noteworthy accessory: her wedding ring. A few days later at an event in Tanzania, she looked equally chic in a brown tunic dress with sea-green beads draped around her neck. Hillary Clinton
Several months after the Monica Lewinsky scandal exploded, First Lady
Hillary Clinton appeared on the cover of Vogue radiating confidence and stateliness, showing no signs that she had weathered a storm. As Vogue pointed out, during a period when her private life was painfully overexposed, Clinton’s public persona never hinted at any sense of self-doubt or defeat. She had “mounted a heroic, one-woman campaign to reestablish the boundary line between public and private that the media have erased.” Lee Celano, Reuters / Corbis Wendy Vitter
When Louisiana Sen. David Vitter admitted to his connections with the “D.C. Madam” prostitution circle in the nation’s capital during a 1997 press conference, his wife Wendy stood next to him the entire time. But her woe-is-me facial expressions belied her statements that her husband was her “best friend” and that their marriage was stronger than ever. They looked nothing like the power couple that they professed to be. The
fitted leopard-print dress Wendy wore could have been sexy, but it didn’t befit a blatant shrinking violet. Stephen Chernin / AP Photo Silda Spitzer
Silda Spitzer also stood faithfully next to her philandering husband,
Eliot Spitzer, at his resignation press conference in 2008. She wore a neckerchief that matched the American flag behind the podium, from where her husband declared he was attempting to “atone for my private failures with my wife Silda” and was “grateful for the love and compassion” she had shown him.
Brian Branch-Price / AP Photo Dina McGreevey
When Former New Jersey governor
Jim McGreevey came out to the public as a “gay American” in 2004, his wife was kindly there for him—but she looked a little gender-confused herself in a boxy blue suit. Michelle Paterson
As we learned from Silda Spitzer, it’s not easy for a woman to look good while standing next to her husband as he confesses to infidelity. But Michelle Paterson pulled it off slightly better than Silda, wearing a
tailored black jacket and white blouse as she stood alongside David Paterson, at the time New York’s governor. Suzanne Craig
pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges of peeping into someone else’s stall in a men’s public restroom, then-Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) tried to take it all back in public. “I am not gay, I never have been gay,” Craig said at an appearance in Boise. His wife, Suzanne Craig, hid behind her sunglasses and wore a near-matching blue polo button-down. Couldn’t she have tried harder to distinguish herself from her shamed husband? Jerry S. Mendoza / AP Photo Carlita Kilpatrick Mary Ann Chastain / AP Photo Jenny Sanford
When news broke that Mark Sanford, former governor of South Carolina, had cheated on his wife,
Jenny Sanford spoke candidly about the incident in an interview with Vogue: “Everybody would like an escape sometimes. I’d like somebody 5,000 miles away I could email.” The couple was still together at this point (they ultimately divorced in 2010), but Mrs. Sanford portrayed herself as an independent woman—and she dressed like one, too. The former first lady of South Carolina was photographed in a short white tunic dress, seeming relaxed and happy in front of her beach house with a straw hat in her hand.