Friends of Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s ex-wife Kerry Kennedy spoke of ‘instances of physical abuse’ in their marriage before they divorced in 2005, according to an author who published a book on the New York lawmaker.
Michael Shnayerson, a journalist and contributing editor with Vanity Fair, looked back on his time covering Cuomo for the publication, revealing the hushed allegation of physical abuse, as well as reports of bullying in the governor’s past.
He claims that 61-year-old Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, slept in a locked bathroom on several nights after Cuomo, 63, refused to leave the house when she told him she wanted a divorce.
‘I’ve been a human rights activist, and for women who have abusive husbands,’ Kennedy, a prominent human and women’s rights activist, allegedly told a friend, ‘and here I am enduring this abuse.’
He also claims that Cuomo tried to punish Kennedy after the divorce was announced by leaking stories to the press about how she had an affair with a ‘Republican polo player’ so that the public would blame her, and the split would not harm his political career.
Friends of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ex-wife Kerry Kennedy spoke of ‘instances of physical abuse’ in their 15-year marriage. They are pictured above in the early 90s
Kennedy and the couple’s three daughters Mariah, Cara and Michaela (pictured above left to right) have not commented on the allegations of sexual harassment made against Cuomo
Shnayerson looked back on the stories he had unearthed while writing his 2015 Cuomo biography ‘The Contender’ this week after a seventh woman came forward accusing the governor of sexual harassment.
It also came after 30 other women spoke out about the abusive treatment they had endured while working for his office.
The journalist claims that Cuomo’s alleged aggressive and toxic behavior goes back decades, first emerging as he worked as an aide and campaign manager for his father, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, while in his 20s.
Shnayerson alleges that there was also evidence of his abuse and harassment of women from his time with Kennedy, whom he married in 1990.
Journalist Michael Shnayerson uncovered further claims of Cuomo’s abuse while researching his 2015 biography ‘The Contender’ (pictured above with the book)
The couple, who have three daughters together, were seen as the merging of two of the U.S.’s great political dynasty but Cuomo never fully fit in with the Kennedy clan.
Shnayerson claimed that by 2001, as Cuomo finished his tenure at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Kennedy already wanted out of the relationship, after he failed to accomplish even the smallest parenting tasks she had set him.
Cuomo had been asked to visit their daughters’ schools and to read a book on parenting but even those tasks proved too much, the author claims.
‘Kerry was done being ridiculed and belittled,’ a person close to the couple told him. ‘Either Andrew would work on the marriage or he wouldn’t, and the two would divorce.’
Cuomo had an unsuccessful run for governor the following year and once he dropped out of the primary, Kennedy swooped in to demand a divorce.
Shnayerson reports that the couple lived separately but for six months Cuomo refused to leave the house or speak to her lawyers.
It was during this point that Kennedy would spend nights in the locked bathroom and when a source told him of the physical abuse.
In June 2002, Kennedy announced the divorce and Cuomo reacted by leaking the less than favorable rumors about her to the media, according to reports.
‘He [was] constantly sticking it to her,’ Shnayerson’s source said, ‘telling her he can’t make Christmas plans until December, so she can’t make hers. There’s a million ways for a single parent to make the other parent’s life miserable, and he played that game.’
In 1990, Gov. Cuomo married Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy (pictured)
Cuomo and Kennedy (pictured above in 1994 and 2001) tied the knot in 1990, but they finalized their divorce 15 years later in 2005, with Kennedy accusing him of not spending enough time with their family, while she allegedly had an affair with a close friend.
A spokesperson to the governor has denied the allegations laid out by Shnayerson and claimed that the ‘rumors’ around their divorce have all been proven ‘untrue’.
‘The divorce was over 15 years ago and was tabloid fodder for weeks with all sorts of untrue rumors circulating. Time has proven them all false,’ the spokesperson told DailyMail.com.
‘Andrew is a great father and his daughters will be the first to say that Kerry and Andrew have been great co-parents – and time showed those who spread the rumors were actually the problem.’
The Kennedy family are said to have had reservations about Cuomo, yet the wedding went ahead, and the couple had three daughters together: twins Mariah and Cara in 1995, followed by Michaela who was born in 1997.
Just two months after Michaela’s birth, discussions of divorce between the pair had reportedly turned from not ‘if’ but ‘when’.
Kennedy suggested the couple seek marriage counseling, but Cuomo was said to be too consumed with work.
By the point of their divorce, the extended Kennedy family had already decided that Cuomo was never going to fit in.
Shnayerson says that the family would often crack jokes around him at his expense, but he refused to be a part of the fun.
‘Andrew refused to do anything fun,’ said one Kennedy sibling, ‘anything without a clear benefit to his career.’
The eight siblings said that after giving Cuomo a chance, they eventually wrote him off as a ‘bully’.
‘We tried to be gracious, but…it turned on his lack of humanity. That’s where I started to think, this is a bad guy. He’s just a bully,’ the sibling allegedly stated.
Leading up to their divorce, Kennedy is said to have believed Cuomo didn’t spend enough time with the family and was horrified when she heard the Rolling Stones song ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ play during a campaign event – an insensitive score selection, considering its line: ‘I shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedys?’ / When after all, it was you and me.’
Kennedy also allegedly had an affair with a close friend, Bruce Colley, according to reports from the time.
Andrew Cuomo, right, announces his candidacy for NY Governor in 2002 – his first attempt at the office in which he was not elected. The marriage was allegedly already on the rocks
Kerry Kennedy decided she could be with Cuomo no longer following his failed governor bid in 2002. The couple are pictured together in 1990, the year they got married
The divorce was finalized in 2005, but more than a decade later they were reported to be still battling in court over child support for their daughters’ education and healthcare costs, the New York Post reported.
In response, the couple issued a joint statement, denying any financial disputes, but a source told the outlet Kennedy only signed the statements because Cuomo had finally agreed to make certain payments and she hoped to shield her daughters from any drama.
Within months of legally separating from Kennedy, Cuomo began dating Food Network host Sandra Lee.
Kennedy and the couple’s three daughters have not yet commented on the allegations against Cuomo even as more and more top-seated Democrats call for him to quit.
Mariah was seen walking with her father outside of the governor’s residence on Friday night just hours after he refused to quit and branded politicians calling for him to step aside ‘dangerous’.
Cuomo is pictured outside the Governor’s Mansion in Albany with his daughter on Friday
The Governor draped a blanket around his shoulders and appeared to be in a downcast mood as he was spotted outside his residence just hours after refusing to resign on Friday
Yet on Friday night, New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand issued a joint statement stating Cuomo had lost the confidence of New Yorkers, siding with the majority of the state’s congressional delegation who had already issued statements earlier in the day.
It came after further troubling details emerged of Cuomo’s treatment of the women in his office, which led to at least one of his former aides calling a suicide hotline and multiple others taking anti-depressants and beginning therapy for the first time.
Shnayerson also revealed further information on the governor’s alleged bullying antics in previous years, including how he would give offensive nicknames to other high-powered New York lawmakers.
He reportedly called New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli ‘Chipmunk Balls’ and joked that then-attorney general Eric Schneiderman looked like he was wearing makeup when in fact, Schneiderman had a condition that forced him to use eye drops.
Cuomo’s abuse as assistant secretary at the HUD allegedly included calling older colleague ‘white heads’, ‘f–kheads’ or ‘dumb f—ks’.
‘I’ve dealt with a lot of macho guys in my family,’ one staffer told Shnayerson. ‘I can spot them a million miles away. I was just surprised that someone like that had gotten to be secretary.’
Shnayerson revealed how he himself had fallen foul of Cuomo’s power plays after he was asked by the governor to push back the publication of his biography on him.
Cuomo had allegedly told Shnayerson that if the author would hold off until the governor’s own book was published, he would grant him on the record interview time.
Yet he claims the governor ‘pulled a fast one’ and never gave the interview.