Name: Ann Lois Romney
Born: April 16, 1949
Occupation: Homemaker, First Lady of Massachusetts, Equestrian
Ann Lois Romney is the wife of former Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former First Lady of Massachusetts and mother of five sons. She is the only daughter of Edward and Lois Davies and has two brothers. Her father, who was originally from Wales, was a self-made businessman, founding and operating a marine equipment manufacturer near Troy, Michigan.
Ann met Mitt Romney in high school and they dated for four years before being married in 1969. While they were dating but Mitt was away in France doing his church required missionary work, Ann converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the faith commonly known as Mormonism. After graduating from high school in Michigan, Ann attended Brigham Young University, majoring in French. She and Mitt married while she was still in school and she did not complete her degree until several years later.
Ann devoted much of early life to raising the couple’s five children, forgoing her desire to complete a master’s degree in art history. Instead, she spent time teaching her children and others religious lessons, became an avid and excellent tennis player and worked with the League of Women Voters and her local PTA.
During her husband’s first political race, running in 1994 for Massachusetts senator, Ann was criticized for being too deferential to her husband and too much of a Stepford wife. She told interviewers that she and her husband had never had a serious argument during their marriage, prompting yet more criticism. The experience may have temporarily soured Ann on politics as she called the experience educational and said she never wanted to do it again.
Four years later, on what Mitt calls the worst day of his life, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Ann was very ill that year, feeling many of the effects of the disease. She credits corticosteroids for stopping the progression of the disease and uses a combination of Eastern and Western medicine to fight the incurable disease. She also serves as a board member for the New England chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
In an effort to further combat the disease, Ann returned to her love of horse riding and used the exercise as therapy for her disease and the related depression. She has since won wide recognition as an adult amateur dressage rider. Her use of her dressage horse as medical therapy garner criticism during her husband’s 2012 presidential campaign, but is evidence of the usefulness of alternative therapies.
By virtue of devoting herself primarily to her spouse and children, Ann has found herself more able to spend time working with various charities. Many have a religious bent, such as her advocacy of abstinence as a means to prevent teen pregnancy, but not all. She has worked with United Way, Best Friends – a charity designed to assist inner-city adolescent girls, Families First and other charities focused on children. She also co-chaired the Olympic Aid charity, providing athletics and other activities for children in war-torn regions.
During the presidential campaign, much ado was made about Ann’s reluctance to release the family tax returns. That might be because estimates put the Romneys’ net worth at least $250 million, not including their five homes, cars and the $100 million trust fund for their sons.
How much is $250 million?
By some estimates, the horses and stables that Ann is a part owner of were valued at $250,000 in 2011. One of those horses was good enough that it and Ann’s trainer were part of the 2012 Olympic team. With her estimated net worth, Ann could buy that stable 100 times.