An American lawyer and politician, Andrew Cuomo, served as the 56th governor of New York from 2011 to 2021. Cuomo is a member of the Democratic party and was the longest-tenured governor in the U.S.
Cuomo resigned from office due to several allegations of sexual misconduct in 2021.
Cuomo walked down the aisle with Kerry Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy’s seventh child with Ethel Skakel Kennedy, on June 9, 1990. They have three daughters: twins, Cara Ethel Kennedy-Cuomo and Mariah Matilda Kennedy-Cuomo (born 1995), and Michaela Andrea Kennedy-Cuomo (born 1997). The couple divorced in 2005.
Cuomo’s next relationship began in 2005 with Food Network host Sandra Lee. The couple moved in together in 2011 and called it quits come September 2019.
A Tale of Two Clans
By 1990, Cuomo was already giving the thought of proposing to Kennedy some grave brain space. However, what came across as highly odd was that Cuomo shared his heart’s desire with the media first. “I’m planning to ask Kerry to marry me,” he said to the journalists and P.R. flacks whom he used as a sounding board. “How do you think it will play?” Some of the journalists were acquaintances at best.
As the romance deepened and the Kennedy- Cuomo couple became more than just a speculative pairing, the Kennedys and the Cuomos began to eye each other with wariness.
The Kennedys were American political royalty to the Cuomos, and marrying into this charismatic clan would make the Cuomos a part of that elite and exclusive political circle, which came with its own set of privileges.
“Look, he was very handsome, very charming, hilarious,” Kerry would later explain. “It was a traditional crush.” But the Kennedys were somewhat less impressed by their prospective in-laws. After three generations in politics, the Kennedys were much more comfortable with their shortcomings while they observed the Cuomos be self-righteous and loud-mouthed with their idealism.
The ‘tacky’ fairytale engagement
Announced in mid-February 1990, this engagement had everything. The New York Times gushed, “Love. Politics. History.” “I think it was the happiest day of my life,” Kerry later ruminated, describing her giddy self on her engagement day.
Andrew too described himself as “a fortunate man” and waved off questions about a prenuptial agreement as “tacky.”
“So, what did you do with that bank in Florida?” Bobby Jr. asked Andrew later that evening. “Andrew then goes into this 10-minute speech of nothingness, not making any sense,” recalled Douglas Kennedy, Kerry’s brother. “The whole table stops; we’re listening to this very defensive explanation. Finally, he finishes, and there’s a lull, and one of the brothers says, ‘So what did you do with that bank in Florida?’ And everyone laughs but Andrew.”
Cuomo’s first-ever political campaign: The wedding
The crux of the matter was that Andrew had been treating the wedding as a political campaign ever since Kennedy accepted his proposal.
At St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on June 9, 1990, the wedding was as close to a royal affair as American nuptials could get. Kerry’s choice of church was poignant: St. Matthew’s was the setting, 27 years earlier, for President John F. Kennedy’s funeral mass. By Kennedy tradition, the 300 guests applauded when Kerry entered the church trailing 15 bridesmaids and 11 flower girls and boys. She walked up the aisle unescorted, a poignant moment in itself. Already, the press had a catchword for the new political chapter the wedding would bring: Cuomolot.
Kennedy’s return to reality culminates into the end of Cuomolot.
Tensions in the marriage deepened through the 1990s, despite Kerry’s insistence that they participate in marriage therapy by year two. Andrew seemed utterly consumed by his work; Kerry felt weighed down by a whole load of parenting the couple’s three young daughters. Yet even as they contemplated divorce in 2001, Kerry began working for Andrew in his first, ill-fated campaign—for governor of New York. For Andrew, the pride of being a member of the Kennedy clan never abated.
On September 11, 2002, the day after the primary, Kerry demanded a divorce. She had lived up to her side of the deal, she told friends, being the loyal candidate’s wife throughout the campaign, not letting a hint slip of the actual state of their marriage. But now, enough was enough.