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Karine Jean-Pierre reveals split from partner Suzanne Malveaux after more than 10 years together

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has separated from Suzanne Malveaux, her partner of more than 10 years.

In a new interview with Vogue published on 7 September, Jean-Pierre, 49, revealed that the two have shared custody of their nine-year-old daughter, Soleil. “I’m a single mom who is co-parenting this amazing kid,” she told Vogue. “Our number-one priority is her privacy and to make sure we create an environment that’s nurturing.”

Jean-Pierre and Malveaux first met at the Democratic National Convention in 2012. Her former partner served as a White House correspondent for CNN for more than 10 years, before leaving the network in January 2023.

They welcomed their daughter, who they named Soleil, in May 2014. According to Vogue, it was Malveaux who initiated the adoption process, not long after she and Jean-Pierre started dating. The White House press secretary revealed that having a child was “a thousand per cent” not on her to-do list, but she formally adopted Soleil a few years after she was born.

As a public figure, Jean-Pierre admitted that she “worries” about her daughter’s safety. “People who love me are concerned,” she said. “But I do not walk around fearful for my life or my security. That is not something I worry about. I worry more for my daughter.”

She continued: “We talk about her feelings all the time. I ask her all the time: ‘Are you happy? How’s it going?’ And she’ll tell me.”

“That’s the nice part - being the parent that you wish you had,” Jean-Pierre added. “My parents were amazing, but they were trying to survive.”

The former couple met at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. There, Malveaux was covering the convention as a correspondent for CNN, while Jean-Pierre was working for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. “We met at a donor party being held in a nightclub,” Jean-Pierre recalled in her 2019 memoir, Moving Forward, according to People. “I know it’s a cliché, but the truth is, I spotted her across a crowded dance floor.”

While the two kept in touch over email, they didn’t begin dating until two months later, in November 2012. They began a long-distance relationship, as Malveaux lived in Atlanta covering the presidential campaign and Jean-Pierre was based in New York. The two eventually moved in together in Washington, DC, in early 2014.

“Suzanne is a beautiful woman with striking cheekbones and a dazzling smile,” Jean-Pierre previously wrote. “Suzanne is warm, brilliant, grounded, funny - and supportive of me.”

According to her memoir, Malveaux expressed her desire to be a mother early on in their relationship. As for Jean-Pierre, she said that “kids were never part of my life plan”.

However, her relationship with Malveaux changed her perspective on having children. “For the first time, I could see myself forming a family of my own with this woman,” Jean-Pierre wrote at the time. When it came to naming their now-nine-year-old daughter, Jean-Pierre said that they both knew they “wanted something French but waited until we saw her before we decided”.

The press secretary was born in Martinique to Haitian parents, and moved with her mother and father to Paris as a baby before settling in New York. Meanwhile, Malveaux was born in Lansing, Michigan, and her parents were both of Louisiana Creole origin.

“We instantly agreed that this radiant child should be Soleil,” Jean-Pierre wrote of their daughter’s name, which is French for “sun”.

“My darling Soleil is the light of my life,” she added.

When Malveaux announced she was stepping down from her role as CNN correspondent in January, she cited her family as one of the main factors in her decision. “I’ve made the heartfelt decision to put myself and my family first," the Harvard graduate wrote in a statement at the time.

“While I’ve thrived on the energy from covering breaking news and politics, the rhythm of my life has shifted to the more personal. I love being a mom, and the time I have with my eight-year-old daughter is priceless,” Malveaux said.

She began her career at CNN in 2002 as their White House correspondent, and went on to earn multiple awards and recognition for her work as a reporter. Malveaux has covered national stories such as Bill Clinton’s impeachment, the Kosovo War, the 2000 Presidential Election, the 9/11 attacks, and the 2001 war in Afghanistan. In 2005, she helped CNN win a Peabody Award for the network’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Jean-Pierre made history in May 2021 when she became the first openly gay woman, and the second Black woman, to brief the White House press. The following year, she was named successor to Jen Psaki, making her the first Black woman, the first immigrant woman, and the first openly gay woman to serve as White House press secretary.