Who Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Fiancé? All About Riley Roberts

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her fiancé, Riley Roberts, got engaged in 2022

James Devaney/GC Images
James Devaney/GC Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her fiancé, Riley Roberts, have been engaged since 2022, but their relationship began over a decade before that.

The New York Congresswoman first met Roberts when they were both undergrads at Boston University. The couple started dating after becoming acquainted during a weekly debate event and remained together throughout their college careers, according to the biography Take Up Space: The Unprecedented AOC. While they ultimately broke up after graduation, they found their way back to each other several years later.

By 2022, Ocasio-Cortez was a household name in the world of politics — and Roberts was ready to pop the question to his longtime girlfriend. Looking back, Ocasio-Cortez admits she was a little unsure about taking the next step. When Roberts told her he wanted to propose sometime that year, Ocasio-Cortez says she told him he'd have to "woo" her and "convince" her why they should get married after being together for a while.

Though her uncertainty was partially driven by the incredible life changes they'd experienced since the first meeting, Ocasio-Cortez says it helped her realize Roberts was the kind of partner who celebrated her success and wasn't made insecure by a woman's good fortune. Ultimately, the couple got engaged in April 2022.

"I feel like I won the men lottery in my life," AOC told GQ later that September, adding Roberts to a list of men who've earned her admiration — from her late father, Sergio Ocasio, to her chief of staff, Gerardo Bonilla Chavez.

So who is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's fiancé? Here's everything to know about Riley Roberts and his relationship with the politician.

He's from Arizona

<p>Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP</p> Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Riley Roberts on November 13, 2018.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Riley Roberts on November 13, 2018.

Roberts calls Arizona home, according to Business Insider. Although not much is known about his early life, after graduating from high school, he enrolled in Boston University, where he studied sociology and finance.

He has a career in the marketing and web development field

After graduating from college, Roberts returned to his home state, where he helped launch websites for small businesses as a UX growth consultant. According to a now-deleted LinkedIn account, Roberts also assisted with marketing for HomeBinder, an online home-management service, in 2014.

"I love helping other subscription startups implement the best practices I've developed to quickly and sustainably grow with Facebook Ads, website conversion-rate optimization, and user experience design," he previously wrote on his LinkedIn profile.

Roberts also used his acquired skills to help Ocasio-Cortez early in her campaign, reportedly assisting with digital marketing and Facebook outreach, per Business Insider.

Ocasio-Cortez and Roberts met while they were students at Boston University

James Devaney/GC Images
James Devaney/GC Images

The couple met over a decade ago while studying at Boston University in what Ocasio-Cortez described to Vogue as "true nerdy fashion."

They both frequently attended "Coffee & Conversations," a weekly student town hall run by the university's dean of students. According toTake Up Space, topics of discussion ranged from "the war in Afghanistan" to pop culture — and Roberts served as one of Ocasio-Cortez's main "sparring partners."

"Riley was, for lack of a better term, the s----starter," Ocasio-Cortez's friend Eric Baker shared in the biography. "Riley's just as smart as anyone you've ever met, probably smarter, but he would actively say things just to stir the pot."

He added, "Riley was just like, 'This is dumb. Why are we all going around in a circle saying the same thing?' He enjoyed intellectual combat and I think she enjoyed his pushback."

They broke up after college but eventually reconnected

When they graduated from college, Ocasio-Cortez and Roberts went their separate ways. While Roberts moved home to Arizona, Ocasio-Cortez remained on the East Coast.

After spending some time apart, Ocasio-Cortez's mom told the Daily Mail that the couple "reconnected" sometime around 2015. Roberts later moved to New York to be closer to Ocasio-Cortez, where he worked out of their apartment in the Bronx.

They like to keep their relationship low-key

<p>Bebeto Matthews/AP</p> Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Riley Roberts on June 27, 2018, in New York City.

Bebeto Matthews/AP

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Riley Roberts on June 27, 2018, in New York City.

Although Ocasio-Cortez and Roberts have known each other for a long time, they prefer to keep their relationship out of the spotlight. The pair were also private about their romance in college, with one friend admitting she didn't even know they were together until several years after graduation.

While their relationship is now public knowledge, they have still kept things quiet. Roberts infrequently appears on Ocasio-Cortez's social media accounts and rarely photographed together.

Occasionally, Roberts is even confused as a campaign volunteer instead of Ocasio-Cortez's partner.

They got engaged in early 2022

In 2022, news surfaced that Ocasio-Cortez and Roberts had gotten engaged.

She confirmed the personal news on X (formerly Twitter), sharing that it happened in her family's hometown in Puerto Rico. Ocasio-Cortez also noted they planned to take some time to enjoy their engagement before planning the wedding.

"It's true! Thank you all for the well wishes," she wrote in a reply to a post about the news. Ocasio-Cortez also told Business Insider, "We got engaged last month in my family's hometown in Puerto Rico. No future details yet, we're taking some space to savor this time before diving into planning."

Ocasio-Cortez's family are fans of their relationship

Samantha Burkardt/Getty Images Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attends Featured Session: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the New Left during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 9, 2019 in Austin, Texas.
Samantha Burkardt/Getty Images Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attends Featured Session: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the New Left during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 9, 2019 in Austin, Texas.

Roberts has the full support of Ocasio-Cortez's loved ones, particularly her mom, Blanca Ocasio-Cortez, who can't wait for them to tie the knot. During a 2019 interview, she had nothing but kind words for Roberts and shared her hopes for the future.

"I love him. He is the most loving, supporting person I've seen. He helped her tremendously during the election," Blanca told the Daily Mail. "I know they love children, and they do very well with children from the family. So, I hope they get married soon, although they haven't told me anything about their plans."

Roberts is supportive of Ocasio-Cortez's career

Roberts has been by Ocasio-Cortez's side since the very early days of her political career. Although he prefers to be behind the scenes, family and friends say that Roberts encourages her journey and serves as her "grounding force."

During Ocasio-Cortez's run for Congress, her campaign was chronicled in the 2019 documentary Knock Down the House, where Roberts could be seen assisting Ocasio-Cortez.

"Everything from the emotional to the strategic to the practical, he has been a really important partner to her," director Rachel Lears told Business Insider.

Now that Ocasio-Cortez has been sworn into office, Roberts is showing his support in other ways. In a profile for Vogue, it was revealed that Roberts often walks Ocasio-Cortez to work, keeps her company if she ever has to stay at the office late — and sometimes even serves as her unofficial bodyguard.

Looking back on their relationship, Ocasio-Cortez shared that Roberts has been unlike any other man she's dated, many of whom "freak out" when an independent, successful woman starts being themselves. Fortunately, she explained that Roberts has been the opposite.

"He has been so supportive and willing and deeply engaging. He's not a witness to this. He dives into the fray for himself in that he uses what we go through as opportunities for personal growth. And it's incredible," Ocasio-Cortez told GQ.

Roberts has faced some criticism since Ocasio-Cortez took office

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the House steps of the Capitol on March 27, 2020.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the House steps of the Capitol on March 27, 2020.

Despite the fact that Roberts has chosen to stay out of the spotlight, he's still faced criticism in the media.

When it was revealed that Roberts had a House staff email address, a conservative political strategist posted on X that Ocasio-Cortez was attempting to provide Roberts with a salary paid for by taxpayers.

Ocasio-Cortez quickly shut down the rumors, explaining that the reason Roberts had a House email address was so that he could have access to her Google calendar, much like many other political spouses and families.

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