The secret love lives of our presidents are not only indicators of their character, but they can shape our values about sex and relationships as a nation. What's gone on behind closed doors at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Let's take a peek:
Door #1: Passionate Love Affairs
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Politics tends to breed passion in almost any relationship, including love affairs. Especially important to a position as important as Leader of the Free World, a supportive and loving relationship tends to send a message of stability and values to the American people.
George Washington wrote his wife Martha such passionate love letters throughout their marriage that after his death she burned all the letters out of grief. Two were found later lost in an old desk. Washington wrote to his wife from the battlefield after their wedding, penning:
Fort Cumberland, July 20, 1758, We have begun our march to the Ohio. A courier is starting for Williamsburg, and I embrace the opportunity to send a few words to one whose life is now inseparable from mine. Since that happy hour when we made our pledges to each other, my thoughts have been continually going to you as to another Self.
Washington met Martha through mutual friends on a break after the French and Indian War and only visited her twice more before proposing marriage. The two were wed until Washington died in 1799 , which caused a grieving Martha to seal their marital bedroom and George's office, moving to another floor of the house where she resided until she passed away.
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Gerald Ford and his wife Betty were married for 58 years until his passing. They endured the hardships of her mental breakdown in 1965, her radical mastectomy shortly after entering the White House, and her substance abuse issues that would inevitably lead her to found the Betty Ford Center for Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation. David Kennerly, official White House photographer was quoted as saying, "They were a playful couple. They joked around with each other. His idea at the end of the day was to sit around with her, have dinner with her, just be with her."
Another picture of a loving marriage was that of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, who met while both were Hollywood actors. Reportedly, their proposal happened at legendary Hollywood restaurant Chasen's, where the actor simply said, "Let's get married," and Nancy replied, "Let's." The couple were married in 1952 and remained wed until Ronald passed away in 2004. The stories of their love are tender and caring, from leaving love notes for one another to Nancy taking riding lessons from her husband to get over her fear of horses. They always walked hand in hand. Their marriage survived breast and colon cancer and an assassination attempt on the President's life. A press secretary once said, "They never took each other for granted. They never stopped courting."