Who Is Lori Lightfoot's Wife? Everything To Know About Amy Eshleman

Lightfoot made history.

Who Is Lori Lightfoot's Wife? Everything To Know About Amy Eshleman instagram

Lori Lightfoot is the current Mayor of Chicago. Not only is she the first black female mayor, but she’s also the first openly gay mayor in the city’s history. Before winning the election, she worked in a private legal practice, and was President of the Chicago Police Board and chair of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force.

She announced her candidacy for Mayor of Chicago in May 2018, and just one year later, she will be sworn into office in May 2019. She won more than 73 percent of the overall vote in the runoff, and won every ward in the city.


In her acceptance speech, Lightfoot had a positive outlook for the future, saying, “Out there tonight a lot of little girls and boys are watching. They’re watching us. And they’re seeing the beginning of something, well... a little different. They’re seeing a city reborn, a city where it doesn’t matter what color you are, where it sure doesn’t matter how tall you are, where it doesn’t matter who you love, just as long as you love with all your heart...

In the Chicago we will build together, we will celebrate our differences. We will embrace our uniqueness. And we will make certain that we all have every opportunity to succeed. Every child out there should know this: Each of you, one day, can be the Mayor of Chicago.”


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But throughout her campaign, there was one person who stood by her: her wife.

Who is Lori Lightfoot's wife, Amy Eshleman?

Here are six things to know about Amy Eshleman, who became Chicago’s first lady when Lightfoot was sworn in.


Amy Eshleman is from Illinois.

Eshleman is from Sterling, IL, but has lived in Chicago since the early 90s. In high school, she played on the basketball and tennis teams; her school’s 1977 girls basketball team became the first girls basketball state champions in the state. She was also a member of the National Honor Society.

Eshleman holds multiple degrees.



A post shared by Lori Lightfoot (@lightfootforchi) on Feb 26, 2019 at 5:02am PST

After graduating high school, she attended Miami University in Ohio. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the college.


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Eshleman worked for the Chicago Public Library for almost 20 years.

From 1994 to 2012, Eshleman worked as a Chicago Public Library assistant commissioner. She helped develop YOUmedia, a digital media center for teens; the program has been successful since its inception in 2009 and spread to the national level, where President Obama cited the center as innovative.

Eshleman also helped expand similar programs nationally while in her role as “leader for education” at the Urban Libraries Council. Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa credit YOUMedia with helping to launch their music careers.

Eshleman and Lightfoot have been together for a long time.



A post shared by The Guardian (@guardian) on Apr 3, 2019 at 8:49am PDT

Eshleman and Lightfoot apparently met through Mary Dempsey, the Chicago Public Library Commissioner; Eshleman was Dempsey’s assistant commissioner. The couple has been together for 16 years, and got married the day same-sex marriage was legalized in Illinois.


According to Eshleman, the couple waited to get married and were surrounded with the anxiety of coming out: “You don't know what your life is going to be like. You want certain things for yourself, and falling in love and having a family and doing all those things felt really important to us. To be able to be married on that day felt really big.”

Eshleman and Lightfoot have a daughter.

The couple have an 11-year-old daughter, Vivian. The family lives in Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago.

Their openness had a major impact on the campaign.



A post shared by Lori Lightfoot (@lightfootforchi) on Jun 11, 2019 at 7:05am PDT

Their support for the LGBT community led to people to back the candidate. Brian Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, “a Chicago-based nonprofit dedicated to LGBTQ rights,” said the support “was a major, major piece. Thirty to 35 years ago, our bars were still being raided. Now we're represented in City Hall by the mayor. That’s a pretty profound switch.”


Eshleman and Lightfoot also walked in June 2018’s Chicago Pride Parade, and according to Eshleman, the experience was “one of the most profound and emotional and humbling” moments, showing that the people of Chicago are “open and welcoming and diverse and loving and nonjudgmental.”

Lightfoot has drawn some controversy during the coronavirus quarantine.

Photos of the mayor recently cropped up on social media that showed her getting a haircut with a stylist during the quarantine. The state currently has a stay-at-home order in effect and salons are not open.

When asked about it, Lightfoot responded, “I think what really people want to talk about is, we’re talking about people dying here. We’re talking about significant health disparities. I think that’s what people care most about. The woman who cut my hair had a mask and gloves on so we are, I am practicing what I’m preaching.”


A reporter also brought up an instance during a coronavirus public service announcement where the mayor told someone, "Getting your roots done is not essential.”

Lightfoot responded by saying, “I’m the public face of this city. I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye. I’m a person who, I take my personal hygiene very seriously. As I said, I felt like I needed to have a haircut. I’m not able to do that myself, so I got a haircut. You want to talk more about that?”

Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa criticized her explanation, writing on Twitter, “She is under no obligation to look good on national TV. She is under no obligation to book national interviews. But she is under an obligation to follow and promote social distancing in order to save lives. This is a bad example for our city."

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Samantha Maffucci is an 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.