Who is the wife of U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry, presently in the middle of the storm brewing over Syria?
Maria Teresa Thierstein Simões Ferreira was born to Portuguese parents on October 5, 1938, in Mozambique. Her father was José Simões Ferreira Júnior (1910–1989), and her mother was Irene Thierstein (1912–1997).
In 1960, Teresa Simões Ferreira earned a Bachelor of Arts in Romance Languages and Literature from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. In 1963, she graduated from the School of Translation and Interpretation at the University of Geneva and moved to the United States to be an interpreter at the United Nations. She is fluent in English, Spanish, French, Italian, and her native Portuguese.
On February 5, 1966, she married Henry John Heinz III, an heir to the H. J. Heinz Company. In 1971, she became a naturalized citizen. The couple had three sons: H. John IV (born November 4, 1966), André (born December 12, 1969), and Christopher (born March 20, 1973). Her husband died in a plane crash on April 4, 1991.
After briefly meeting in 1990, John Kerry and Teresa met again in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, during a summit. They began dating in 1993 and were married on May 26, 1995. She remained registered as a Republican until her husband ran for President in 2004, and has kept her name as Teresa Heinz. In May of 2004 she said, “My legal name is still Teresa Heinz. Teresa Heinz Kerry is my name…for politics. Just so people don’t ask me questions about so and so is so and so’s wife or this and that. Teresa Heinz is what I’ve been all my growing-up life, adult life, more than any other name. And it’s the name of my boys, you know? So, that’s my legal name and that’s my office name, my Pittsburgh name.”
In December of 2009, she revealed that she had been treated for breast cancer, undergoing lumpectomies in October and November.
On July 7 of this year, while vacationing with her family, she was rushed in critical condition to Nantucket Cottage Hospital, where she was stabilized and then flown to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. On July 11, she was transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to continue her recovery and was released on July 17, 2013.
Teresa has made her first public appearance since then at the Senate hearing on Syria, seated a row behind her husband John Kerry, on Tuesday, September 3, 2013.