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Sat Dec 17, 2011, 09:41 AM


Strange but true: Newt married his high school math teacher when he was 19 [View all]



Newt Gingrich, who has staked his career on defending conservative family values, has been married three times. His struggles with monogamy have been getting him in trouble for decades, most notably the 1980 fight he had with his first wife, Jackie Battley Gingrich, when she was in the hospital getting a tumor removed and he wanted a divorce.

But many forget how they came together in the first place: She was his high school geometry teacher and he was, as his mother put it in a 1995 interview with Vanity Fair, "her little boy." They met in 1960, when Gingrich was 17 and had just arrived to Columbus, Georgia. He was socially awkward and mocked as a "little adult" for the way he dressed, but he was bursting with ambition and already looking beyond high school girls -- he had vowed that he would marry Miss Battley, and they were secretly dating by the time he graduated the next spring.

"He saw a nurturing, mothering kind of person that he needed, and she finished raising him," said Georgia journalist Mary Kahn, who knew the couple and was married to Newt's former campaign manager at the time of the divorce, according to the 1995 Vanity Fair article.

The romance was already on its way out before the fight in the hospital. Gingrich was in the middle of a relationship with Marianne Ginther, who would become his second wife within the year. She was a younger woman, and he was no longer hot for teacher. "I don't think he was capable at the time of loving anybody more than he loved himself," said Kahn.


I would disagree with the claim that Ms. Battley "finished raising" Newt. That job remains incomplete.

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Reply Strange but true: Newt married his high school math teacher when he was 19 [View all]
Scuba Dec 2011 OP
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