Who Is Rick Perry's Wife? New Details On Anita Thigpen Perry

They've known each other since childhood.

Who Is Rick Perry's Wife? New Details On Anita Thigpen Perry getty

Since early 2017, Rick Perry has served as the United States Secretary of Energy in the Trump Cabinet. But before being confirmed for the position, Perry was the Governor of Texas for 15 years and before that, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas after George W. Bush resigned to become president. Perry has also, unsuccessfully, ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2012 and 2016. And he’s also appeared on Dancing with the Stars, but was eliminated in the third week.


Like many members in the president’s Cabinet, his appointment drew criticism. During a presidential campaign, Perry said he intended to abolish the very department he now heads! Since his appointment, he’s asked for a study of the U.S. electric grid to give consideration to coal power, believes that climate change is due to natural causes, and doesn’t think human activity plays a role in the Earth’s increasing temperature, but is “offended” when being called a “denier.”

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He also opposes the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, claiming it would be devastating for the Texas economy, though he supports an “all of the above” energy strategy that includes not just oil and coal but nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, and wind energy. Perry also sued the Obama administration while he was Governor in an effort to overturn EPA regulations.


But most recently, his comments about fossil fuels drew backlash. He suggested that fossil fuels being used to light “dangerous places in Africa” could reduce sexual assault, saying:

“Let me tell you where people are dying, is in Africa, because of the lack of energy they have there. And it’s going to take fossil fuels to push power out into those villages in Africa, where a young girl told me to my face: ‘One of the reasons that electricity is so important to me is not only because I’m not going to have to try and read by the light of a fire and have those fumes literally killing people.’ But also from the standpoint of sexual assault. When the lights are on, when you have light that shines the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts.”

He faced immediate backlash from the Sierra Club and was accused of “exploiting the struggle of those most affected by climate change.”

But in the face of controversy, what do we know about his personal and family life? Just who is Rick Perry’s wife, and how does she handle his less-than-stellar environmental record? Here are seven details about Anita Thigpen Perry.


1. She holds multiple degrees.

Anita attended Texas Tech University, but left because they didn’t have a nursing program. She then went to West Texas State University and received her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She obtained a Master of Science degree in nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

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2. They're childhood sweethearts.


The two have known each other since elementary school. They met when they were both in a piano recital while children.

3. They’ve been married 36 years.

They wed in 1982.

4. They have two kids.

The couple are parents to two grown children: son Griffin and daughter Sydney. They also have two granddaughters: Ella Gray and Piper Thigpen.

5. She’s worked as a nurse.


Anita worked in the nursing profession for 17 years but left when her husband was elected as Texas Agriculture Commissioner. In her career, her work focused on surgery, pediatrics, intensive care, as well as teaching and consulting.

Her expertise has also led her to front health initiatives, including the Anita Thigpen Perry Endowment at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, “which focuses on nutrition, cardiovascular disease, health education, and early childhood development.”

The Anita Thigpen Perry School of Nursing at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center was named for her, and two nursing endowments were also set up in her name: the Anita Thigpen Perry Nursing Excellence Scholarship at West Texas A&M University, and the Anita Thigpen Perry Endowment at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

6. She was the longest-serving First Lady of Texas.

Her husband was the Governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015, and she used her position to advocate for health care issues and nursing.


7. She comes from a family of physicians.

Her father, Joseph, was a family physician and her paternal grandfather, also named Joseph, was a doctor.

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Samantha Maffucci is an associate editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.