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Inside the marriage of Washington power couple Ted and Heidi Cruz, who played Aladdin’s ‘A Whole New World’ at their wedding and spend most of their time in separate states

Summary List PlacementSen. Ted Cruz is back in the spotlight after controversially flying to Cancún, Mexico while his home state of Texasis flattened by a dire winter weather storm that has caused freezing temperatures and days-long power outages across the state.  Social media erupted on Wednesday night over photos that...

Ted and Heidi Cruz

Summary List Placement

Sen. Ted Cruz is back in the spotlight after controversially flying to Cancún, Mexico while his home state of Texasis flattened by a dire winter weather storm that has caused freezing temperatures and days-long power outages across the state. 

Social media erupted on Wednesday night over photos that appeared to show Cruz, his wife, and his two daughters at Houston International Airport boarding a flight to the Mexican resort destination while the Senate is on recess and Texas is ravaged by the extreme weather. 

Cruz formally confirmed in a Thursday statement that he had flown to Mexico on Wednesday. He said he made the trip be a “good dad” and travel with his daughters, who wanted to go on a vacation while their school was canceled, but was traveling back to Texas on Thursday.  

Still, he received swift backlash from Democrats, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saying, “If Sen. Cruz had resigned back in January after helping gin up a violent insurrection that killed several people, he could’ve taken his vacation in peace. Texans should continue to demand his resignation.”

Cruz’s wife, Heidi Cruz (née Nelson) is no stranger to the sacrifices, demands, and scrutiny that come with being a politician’s spouse in the public eye.

In 2018, Heidi sat down for her first interview since the 2016  election with journalist Elaina Plott, then of The Atlantic. She opened up about her journey forging an identity and a high-powered career at Goldman Sachs separate from that of her husband.

As her husband’s political career took off, Heidi became well-liked and respected among Republicans and even some Democrats for her work ethnic, discipline, and naturally warm and charming personality — helping Ted win over both voters and donors during his Senate and presidential campaigns.

Here’s a look inside the marriage of political power couple Ted and Heidi Cruz:

SEE ALSO: Inside the marriage of Donald and Melania Trump, who broke up once before, reportedly sleep in different bedrooms, and are weathering rumors of his affairs

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They met working on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign when Heidi was on break from Harvard Business School.

Source: The Atlantic

Their first date was at a bar in Austin in January 2001, where Heidi says he “asked me a lot of questions about my background, my goals in life, my 10-year plan, my 20-year plan.” They got married that May.

Source: The New York Times

Ted insisted they play “A Whole New World” from the popular Disney movie “Aladdin” at the end of their wedding ceremony despite Heidi’s objections that they hire a professional violinist.

Source: The Atlantic

“Because no one can do Aladdin,” she recalled Cruz responding to her protests. “She relented, and it became a theme of sorts,” Plott wrote.

Source: The Atlantic

“He’ll be like, ‘It’s such a great life! We have so much adventure ahead! It’s like our magic-carpet ride,'” Heidi said. “And sometimes I’m like, ‘I hope we don’t hit the cement.'”

Source: The Atlantic

Right after their marriage, they both worked in the Bush administration, with Heidi in the US Treasury Department and Ted at the Federal Trade Commission.

Sources: The New York TimesThe Atlantic

But Ted wasn’t completely satisfied with his career in Washington, so he applied for and accepted a job as Texas’ solicitor general — moving him to Austin.

Source: The Atlantic

For two years, they carried on a long-distance marriage, in which Ted worked full-time in Austin and Heidi stayed behind working as an aide to Condoleezza Rice on the National Security Council.

Source: The Atlantic

Heidi eventually left her dream job in DC to join Ted in Texas working for Merill Lynch, now Bank of America-Merill Lynch.

Source: The Atlantic

Plott described that Heidi had “divorced an essential piece of herself” by saying goodbye to the career and life she had meticulously planned for herself since high school.

Source: The Atlantic

Heidi revealed in The Atlantic piece that she even had an emotional breakdown one night in 2005 over the move to Texas.

Source: The Atlantic

She said she became so overwhelmed by her unhappiness that she broke down and sat on an expressway until a police officer found her and brought her to the station.

Source: The Atlantic

“It was, like, all of this—like, ‘Why am I here?'” Heidi said.

Source: The Atlantic

Heidi remembered that when Ted came to pick her up, he wasn’t angry or disappointed. “He just hugged me and said, ‘I just wanna make sure that you’re happy here, and that this is a successful chapter,” she said.

Source: The Atlantic

“It was a challenging time,” Ted remembered. “Because she was struggling with having given up a professional post that was very meaningful to her.”

Source: The Atlantic

Heidi recalled going to a Catholic spiritual retreat after the breakdown, where her counselor told her, “God’s gonna use you to do something beyond yourself … Because there’s something bigger than you now.'”

Source: The Atlantic

Heidi steadily found happiness in Houston, taking on a job as a managing director in charge of private wealth management at Goldman Sachs. She and Ted also had two daughters: Caroline, currently 12, and Catherine, 9.

Sources: The Atlantic, LinkedIn

After serving as Texas’ solicitor general, Ted worked in private practice at Texas law fim Cooper & Kirk PLLC until deciding to run for statewide office. In 2013, he ran for and won the Texas Senate seat.

Source: US Senate

Ted became a prominent rising star in the right wing of the party, gaining attention for his conservative stances and strong public speaking skills.

Source: Politico

He famously filibustered for 21-hours, eventually reading “Green Eggs and Ham” on the Senate floor to protest the Affordable Care Act in 2013. Heidi was the one who suggested he read the book.

Sources: CBC, Twitter, The New York Times

When Ted became a Senator, the two started spending most of their time in different places, with Ted in DC and Heidi in Texas not only being the family’s primary breadwinner, but doing most of the work raising their two girls, along with the help of a nanny.

Source: The Atlantic

Ted decided to run in the Republican primary for president in 2015 — and Heidi took several months of unpaid leave from Goldman Sachs to campaign with her husband, earning praise for her natural charm and ease in winning over voters and donors.

Source: The Atlantic

“I’d go into events, and people [would be] like, ‘Oh, you’re so gracious!'” she remembered. “I don’t know that I’m that gracious, but going through that campaign, I knew that I had done a great job and made a great impression.”

Source: The Atlantic

But the campaign didn’t come without challenges. As the race between then-candidate Donald Trump and Cruz got more bitter, the attacks on the Cruzes became more personal. But Heidi took it all in stride and like Ted, saw everything pragmatically.

Source: The Atlantic 

Trump famously tweeted out a side-by-side photo of Heidi and his wife Melania to attack Heidi’s appearance, and accused Ted’s father of being involved in the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy.

Source: Business Insider

“I don’t get angry often,” Cruz said after Trump tweeted the photos. “But you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that will do it every time. Donald Trump, you’re a sniveling coward. Leave Heidi the hell alone.”

Source: Business Insider

“I don’t know that I even shed a tear,” Heidi said of the day Ted decided to drop out of the race.

Source: The Atlantic

Even after that highly contentious campaign, Heidi said she and Ted were both pleased to eventually vote for Trump, and that they’ve been satisfied with his administration relying on the Federalist Society to nominate conservative judges.

Source: The Atlantic

The president held a rally for Ted in Houston on October 22, deciding he was now “beautiful Ted” instead of his previous disparaging moniker, “lyin’ Ted.”

Source: Business Insider

Even though their lives calmed down after the 2016 election, Heidi said people never really looked at her the same way after months of constantly being in the spotlight on the 2016 campaign trial.

Source: The Atlantic

Heidi described Ted as a “practical” and “strategic” “visionary,” and said she wants to make sure everybody is “comfortable” and “talking to each other.

Source: The New York Times

After a somewhat quiet two years of Ted going back to the Senate and Heidi returning to Goldman, the Cruz family came back into the fray as Ted faced a tough challenge from Beto O’Rourke.

Sources: The Atlantic, Business Insider

Cruz narrowly defeated O’Rourke, who shattered quarterly fundraising records, quickly rose up to rock-star status as a darling of the Democratic party, and even ran for president in 2020.

Source: Business Insider

“You know, Ted is up for a tough reelection. I don’t know the future. I think he’s gonna win,” Heidi predicted at the time.

Source: The Atlantic

Cruz faced a firestorm of controversy when he flew to Cancún, Mexico with his wife and daughters amid an unprecedented winter weather catastrophe and pandemic.

“With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends,” Cruz said in a Thursday statement. “Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon.”

He added that he and his staff are in “constant communication with state and local leaders” in Texas to fix the problems, saying, “This has been an infuriating week for Texans. Our homes are freezing and our lights are out. Like millions of Texans, our family lost heat and power too.”

Source: Insider

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