The presidential candidate and the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" actress have been married since 2014
The Curb Your Enthusiasm actress has been by his side on the 2024 presidential campaign trail, but she championed him before he entered politics.
Hines told PEOPLE in 2014 that Kennedy was "a devoted dad and an all-around good guy." The couple share seven children in their blended family. Hines has a daughter, Catherine, from her first marriage to Paul Young, while Kennedy has six adult children from his two previous marriages: sons Bobby III, Conor, Finn and Aidan and daughters Kick and Kyra.
Kennedy, who is running as an independent candidate in the 2024 presidential election, is equally as enthusiastic about Hines, whom he married in August 2014. In honor of their wedding anniversary in 2020, the former environmental lawyer dedicated a since-deleted Instagram post to his wife.
"Thanks for the unimaginable happiness, for your wise and compassionate counsel, for your generous spirit, for your faithful companionship in joy and grief, for the love you’ve given our children. And for the endless laughter," he wrote.
Before his wedding to Hines, Kennedy was married twice. He married his first wife, Emily Ruth Black, in 1982, separated 10 years later and divorced in 1994. That same year, he wed his second wife, Mary Kathleen Richardson, and filed for divorce in 2010. Richardson died by suicide in 2012.
Since beginning his presidential campaign, his relationship with Hines has been in the limelight more than ever, and he considers her both his wife and an important campaign spokesperson.
Calling Hines "mesmerizing when she's on TV," Kennedy told The New York Times, "I think ultimately if I get elected, Cheryl will have played a huge role in that."
So who is Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s wife? Here's everything to know about actress Cheryl Hines and her relationship with the politician.
She worked for Rob Reiner before her big break on Curb Your Enthusiasm
Hines worked odd jobs while trying to make it in Hollywood, including as a bartender and personal assistant to actor, screenwriter and director Rob Reiner — which, in a roundabout way, led to her being cast on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
"When I auditioned for Curb, it was a one-hour special on HBO. It wasn't even meant to be a series," she said on The Back Room with Andy Ostroy podcast. "I was still working for the Reiners when I got Curb. It was really crazy because Rob came in and was like, 'Are you playing Larry David's wife?' "
Hines had minor roles in several TV shows and movies for nearly a decade before her big break on the sitcom in 1999. She told Ostroy she wouldn't have gotten the part if she had been more successful earlier in her career.
The actress previously told the Orlando Sentinel in 2012, "Until Curb, I'd done small roles, really small roles. They wanted to cast an unknown actress. It worked in my favor that I hadn't done anything. It changed my life."
Hines went on to receive two Primetime Emmy nominations for her portrayal of Cheryl David, which led to her starring in films like Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005), Cake (2005), RV (2006) and A Bad Moms Christmas (2017) as well as the TV series Suburgatory, among other high-profile projects.
Larry David introduced her to Kennedy
Hines credits her on-screen husband with introducing her to her off-screen husband. She told The New York Times that David introduced her to Kennedy in 2006 at a ski weekend fundraiser for the Waterkeeper Alliance, an environmental nonprofit that Kennedy co-founded. At the time, Hines was married to her first husband and Kennedy was married to Richardson.
The actress recalled not planning to ski until Kennedy convinced her. "I was looking at Larry like, 'What is happening?' He's like, 'Yeah,' giving an indication like, 'That's Bobby,' " she said in 2014, adding that she wasn't familiar with the Kennedy family beyond what she learned in history class.
Hines and Kennedy didn't reconnect until 2011, when Kennedy and Richardson were separated. Hines said David never actually intended to play matchmaker and that he gave her a hard time about her romance with Kennedy when it began.
"It's part of the fun of Larry," she said. "You just know no matter what you say to him, he's going to say, 'Why would you do that? Are you crazy?' "
Kennedy later told The New York Times that their friendship began "slowly at first” and quickly evolved into a romantic relationship.
They got married after three years together
Hines and Kennedy went public with their relationship in October 2011 and got engaged in May 2014. Not too long after, the couple married on Aug. 2, 2014.
Hines, who wore a Jackie Kennedy-inspired wedding gown, told The New York Times that she and Kennedy initially planned on eloping with their children as witnesses, but their respective large families — particularly their mothers — wanted a bigger wedding.
They enjoyed a "casual celebration" at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, with celebrity guests that included David, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kevin Nealon, Ed Begley Jr. and Sen. Ed Markey.
"It's fun that the two families are coming together," Hines told PEOPLE ahead of their wedding. "It's very sweet that way. I come from a big family and the Kennedys are a big family."
When asked how she felt about tying the knot with Kennedy, she added, "It feels great because you know you are going to be with the person you really like to be with for a very long time. And that's a great feeling."
She and her daughter went into business together
Hines shares a daughter, Catherine Rose, with her first husband, Young. In 2023, Hines and Catherine launched their eco-friendly cosmetics brand Hines + Young with products like scented candles, body creams, lip balms and scrubs. The line, which Hines said she wanted to start when Catherine began college, focuses on avoiding single-use plastics, according to Access Hollywood.
Hines + Young launched in the summer of 2023 — around the same time, several 2024 presidential campaigns, including Kennedy's, began to gain steam, and the timing wasn’t lost on Hines. She told Newsweek, "It's slightly ironic it's launching at a time that's so stressful. But that's life."
She loves poker
Hines developed a love for poker in 2003 when she was pregnant with her daughter and has since described herself as "a real poker fiend."
As for her strategy, she told Neurology Now in 2007, "I have a tendency to talk a lot at the poker table, which throws people off because they spend a lot of time trying to read me. I tend to win more than I lose, which is good!"
She's mixed her love of the card game with business: She starred in The Grand (2008) alongside Woody Harrelson, Jason Alexander, Ray Romano and Judy Greer. The actors played a real poker tournament in the improvised mockumentary film.
She's an advocate for people with cerebral palsy
Hines has been a longtime advocate for cerebral palsy research, awareness and patient financial support after her young nephew was diagnosed with the illness as a baby.
"There are so many medical expenses that aren't covered by insurance. For example, the cost of medical equipment and wheelchairs is exorbitant," she told Neurology Now. "That's why I think it's important to be a voice for people with CP. If my efforts can help even one child with CP, or one family, then I feel good about what I'm doing."
Hines has also combined her advocacy with her love of poker, entering tournaments benefiting cerebral palsy research and patient care.
She denounced Kennedy’s comparison of anti-vaccine advocacy to Anne Frank
In January 2022, Kennedy made a speech comparing his experience as a longtime anti-vaccine conspiracist to that of Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager and diarist who died in a Nazi concentration camp after her family hid in an Amsterdam attic for two years during the Holocaust.
"Even in Hitler's Germany, you could cross the Alps to Switzerland," he said at an anti-vaccine rally in Washington, D.C. "You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did. Today the mechanisms are being put in place so none of us can run and none of us can hide."
When asked about her husband's comparison, Hines wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter), "My husband's opinions are not a reflection of my own. While we love each other, we differ on many current issues." In a separate post, she called his statement "reprehensible and insensitive."
After the backlash from not only his wife but also from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and Memorial, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and many others, Kennedy offered a mea culpa on X. "I apologize for my reference to Anne Frank, especially to families that suffered the Holocaust horrors," he wrote. "My intention was to use examples of past barbarism to show the perils from new technologies of control."
Hines, who was required to get the COVID-19 vaccine to work on the sets of Curb Your Enthusiasm and I Can See Your Voice, later told Newsweek, "It was a very emotional time. I had people saying, 'What is Bobby doing? He's making it harder for everyone.' Everybody wanted to go back to normal and they thought the only way to do that was if everyone was vaccinated. I heard from people who felt like that. One-hundred percent."
Kennedy offered to fake a separation from Hines amid backlash for his comments
Kennedy told The New York Times that he prepared a press release stating that he and Hines had split merely to shield her from the backlash she'd received over his anti-vaccine views and proclamations.
"I saw how it was affecting her life and I said to her, 'We should just announce that we are separated,' so that you can have some distance from me," he said in 2023. "We wouldn't really be doing anything, we would just — I felt so desperate about protecting her at a time where my statements and my decisions were impacting her."
Hines declined his offer to do so. She explained to the outlet that she never felt negatively impacted by supporting her husband.
"I haven't lost any jobs because of my support for his candidacy," she said. "But there was a project I'm involved in where there was a pause for discussion about how his candidacy might affect what we are doing but it has been resolved."
She's influenced his presidential campaign
Despite disagreeing on some issues, Hines announced her support for Kennedy's presidential aspirations in April 2023.
"My husband, Robert Kennedy Jr., announced today he will be running for President and I support his decision," Hines said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. "He is a fearless leader who understands the needs of the American people and has devoted his life fighting for democracy."
However, she declined to talk about policy, telling Newsweek, "I'm not going to list issues because it makes my blood pressure go up too much." The actress added that she and Kennedy — the latter of whom supports a closed border with Mexico, according to ABC News — got pushback from Democrats in Hollywood for his run.
Kennedy said that while Hines does not publicly discuss issues or policy, she does influence his choices. He told Newsweek she "specifically outlawed appearances on Steve Bannon's show, which I otherwise would have done." Kennedy added: "She's critical. She has a sense of the popular pulse. She has wisdom that I and the rest of the campaign rely on. She's kind of the ultimate arbiter on every discussion."
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