John Kerry's First Wife

Who was she and what happened to her?

It’s been widely publicized that Teresa was married to J.R. Heinz III who died in a plane crash, but I’ve noticed that no one seems to be talking about the mother of the Kerry girls.

If he’s divorced, is his ex-wife in politics? Has Kerry been married more than twice?

What’s the scoop?

I don’t think the Newsweek article Earthling cited mentions it, but Kerry and his first wife technically had their marriage annulled, so from the perspective of the Catholic Church, he’s not divorced per se, and can take Communion. (At least, he could before the whole denying politicians Communion for their political views thing started.)

Wow, Catholicism is just amazing!

Two people can be married for over a decade, and that marriage can produce children, then later on someone can testify that the marriage was never really consumated?!?

That’s a better trick than anything David Copperfield has done so far…
Oh wait a minute, haven’t the Kennedys done something like that too? Ok, so it’s a “rich, politically-connected Catholic” thing, maybe.

Grounds for annulment
I don’t know the specifics of Kerry’s annulment, but “the marriage wasn’t consumated” is far from the only grounds by which an annulment may be granted.

cool, She lives in Bozeman.

No, it’s not. Brooke Shields is not, to my knowledge, politically connected and her marriage to Andre Agassi was annulled because she wanted to remarry. That doesn’t rule out the famous part. I’d give you some non-famous examples, but I don’t know any. :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, I don’t think your implication that Kerry and and the Kennedys have gotten special treatment stands up to any kind of scrutiny. A lot of people get divorced these days, and some of them are Catholic. Clearly this is a case where the Church has bent a little to go along with the times.

Thank you for the link, Earthling!

I’m glad she supports him and they appear to be on good terms. After I watched the Kerry Biography at the DNC last night, my heart almost seized when I realized that his first wife could still be out there somewhere, waiting for her shot to shoot down his dreams of becoming President.


Yeah. They’ve got a lot of neat tricks like that. There used to be a rumor floating around that they raised some dude from they dead.

I ain’t buyin it though.

I’m guessing that shot will come from another direction.

The ways that the Catholic Church allows its members to er, manipulate, the annulment process is nothing new.

1954’s The Ecstasy of Owen Muir, by Ring Lardner Jr. takes on the church in the McCarthy era in one of the bitterest novels ever published in America.

“Sacred Origins of Profound Things” by Charles Panati has an interesting section on Catholic annullment.

Basically, “annullment” is their word for divorce, and as he quoted some high-up priest in the text, if you give them long enough, they can find a reason for ANY marriage to be annulled. You’ve just got to be willing to wait long enough to go through the process.

What I want to know is are Kerry’s children considered illegitimate by the Catholic church considering their parents were never “really” married in the church’s eyes?

Good question Abbie, I’m curious about that myself.

After reading the rather extensive list in the link, I agree that you could annull just about any marriage under those guidelines.

I guess I just don’t get the whole “annullment means it never really happened” aspect of it, but I’m not Catholic so it doesn’t really matter what I think! :wink:

Nope. They’re not considered to blame for the parents’ situation.

Believe me, we Catholic kids ask all these questions in CCD when we’re 10 or so. :wink:

I don’t know what the official doctrine says about this issue, but in practice there seems to be a kind of grandfather clause which says that if the marriage was thought to be valid at the time, then the kids are legitimate no matter happens later.

Actually, the Catholic Church doesn’t get into the business of whether or not children are “legitimate”. It only concerns itself with the validity of the marriage.

Whether or not your parents were married when you were born is irrelevant to the Catholic Church nowadays.

I know of one-my uncle (by marriage) got an anullment from his first wife so he could marry my aunt in the church-previously they were married by a JP. I don’t know what grounds it was on, or how he got it, although my mother suspects some palms got greased.

I have a friend in England who was married for 25 years with two kids. His wife ran into her college sweetheart again one fine day, and asked husband to divorce her so she could marry BF#1. He was sucker enough to do it, taking the onus and paying all the bills. An annulment was obtained, and she married the ex-BF. They moved to the continent. Discarded hubby went on for more than 10 years unwilling to even date. Y’see, she had been chronically ill for some longish time early in their marriage. He kept thinking she’d get sick again and hubby #2 would bail, at which time she’d need him. So he was standing by (he told me this!). And sending his ex postcards from wherever he traveled for his job (he sends them to lots of people, including grandkids, godchildren, and the children of friends). Truly a pathetic situation for a brilliant sucker.

Umm, did I mention that he has a photo of himself shaking hands with the Pope on display in a prominent place in his home? He’s a very devout Catholic.

<editorial>There’s divorces and divorces. There are none where one of the partners is totally innocent. However, there are definitely degrees of culpability. I don’t know - don’t care, really - who was more to blame in my friend’s marriage. I just think it was pretty crummy treatment she gave him.</editorial>

I’d known him for about five years before I actually learned this much. When I did, I did a survey of divorced femmes for him (ones he knew). We all assured him that there’s no way any of us would go back to an ex, no matter what. We’d starve in a ditch first (well, nearly - other women know what I mean). After that he began to go out with a woman he already knew there in England, and has been calling her his GF for the last several years. I doubt he’ll ever remarry, though. Some hangups can only be conquered through counseling, and by someone who wants to get over them.

OK. I’d say the factual answer to the OP has been answered.

Anyone who wished to continue a discussion on the Catholic Church’s marriage policies is invited to open a thread in Great Debates.

This is closed.

DrMatrix - GQ Moderator