What Do We Know About Jeanette Rubio?

by Kim Lyons

With Florida Sen. Marco Rubio throwing his hat into what is sure to become a crowded field of contenders for the GOP presidential nomination, his wife will likely become a more prominent figure during his campaign, even though Rubio has said his wife, Jeanette, "hates politicking," The Miami Herald reported.

The Cuban-American Rubio and the former Jeanette Dousdebes, who is of Colombian heritage, have been married since 1998, and have four children. The Rubios were childhood sweethearts, meeting when they were teenagers, according to a 2010 profile in the Tampa Bay Times. Rubio cheered his then-girlfriend from the stands as she practiced her routines as a member of the 1997 Miami Dolphins cheerleaders. She had aspired to a career as a fashion designer, but when she became pregnant with the couple's first child, she decided to be a stay-at-home mother, according to the Times.

So far during her husband's political career, Jeanette has preferred to do most of her cheering from behind the scenes. In a 2012 profile of the Rubios, Politico noted that she appeared in public so infrequently when her husband was running for Senate, that when she was present, it became newsworthy. Jeanette told Politico she was shy, and "not pushing herself to be out there" because she felt with her husband working so much, it was important for her to be with their kids. She did not rule out participating in a campaign, however, according to Politico, and realizes it comes with the territory of being married to a politician.

The part that’s difficult, I think, in campaigning is the part where you have to deal with the negativity that comes. It puts a lot of strain on the family.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In his memoir, American Son, Rubio tells the story of how he proposed to his wife, on top of the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day. On their first date, the couple saw the Kevin Costner movie Robin Hood (and yet she married him anyway!).

The most recent headlines about Jeanette came in January, from tabloids who apparently overplayed a fender-bender she was involved in outside a fundraiser event for her husband in Miami. But according to The Miami Herald, she sideswiped a donor's Porsche, with damage so insignificant that the owner didn't even bother to file a report.

There's no doubt raising four children is a full-time job, so it remains to be seen how much Jeanette will be able to participate in her husband's campaign. That's not to say that she can't protect her family's privacy; both the Clintons and the Obamas were insistent that the Washington press corps leave their young daughters out of the headlines, which for the most part, they did. For the publicity-shy Mrs. Rubio, staying out of the spotlight seems to suit her just fine.

Images: Getty Images (1)