Nicole Shanahan Was Married to Sergey Brin — Meet RFK Jr.'s VP Pick

Nicole Shanahan and her ex-husband Sergey Brin got divorced in 2023 after a rumored affair between her and Elon Musk.


Mar. 27 2024, Published 10:11 a.m. ET

Nicole Shanahan with ex-husband Sergey Brin at the 2020 Breakthrough Prize.
Source: Getty Images

In the latest turn in his improbable bid for the White House, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has announced who his running mate will be. The third-party candidate recently announced that he has selected Nicole Shanahan to be his running mate.

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Shanahan works as a lawyer and philanthropist and is currently the head of the Bia-Echo Foundation, which directs money toward issues including women’s reproductive science, environmental causes, and criminal justice reform. Now that she's on Kennedy's ticket, though, many wanted to learn more about whether she had ever been married.

Nicole Shanahan speaking at an RFK Jr. rally on March 26, 2024, in Oakland, Calif.
Source: Getty Images
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Is Nicole Shanahan married?

Shanahan was married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin from 2018 to 2023. The couple have a young daughter together.

Brin filed for divorce in 2022 following rumors that Shanahan may have had an affair with Elon Musk, but those reports were never verified. Brin cited "irreconcilable differences," and the two settled their divorce via confidential arbitration, which was part of their pre-nuptial agreement.

The Wall Street Journal had previously reported that the friendship between Brin and Musk had been ruptured after Brin learned that Shanahan and Musk had had an affair in December 2021. Shanahan and Musk have both denied the affair, and Musk even tried to quash the rumors of a feud by posting a selfie with Brin, one which Musk's biographer Walter Isaacson said that Brin tried to wriggle his way out of.

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Shanahan isn't married, but she did commit to her current partner, Jacob Strumwasser, in a "love ceremony" in 2023, as reported by People. Strumwasser is an advisor at Lightning Labs. The couple met at Burning Man in 2022.

Who is Nicole Shanahan's father?

Shanahan was raised in the San Francisco Bay area, and in her official speech accepting the role as a VP candidate, she discussed her upbringing. She explained that her mother was an immigrant from China, and that her father was Irish and German-American, but was “plagued by substance abuse” who “struggled to keep a job.”

Shanahan said that, although she is now very wealthy, she felt she could still relate to Americans who were “just one misfortune away from disaster.”

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In other venues, Shanahan has said that she had a difficult upbringing and that her father, who died in 2014, suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia throughout his life.

Elsewhere in her speech, Shanahan delivered a broadly populist message that was also laced with the kinds of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories that have become a core piece of RFK Jr.'s messaging.

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“The purpose of wealth is to help those in need. That’s what it’s for,” she said. “And I want to bring that back to politics, too. That is the purpose of privilege.”

She also discussed the lack of long-term research about children who are vaccinated, and her struggles with her own daughter, who she said is autistic.

“Our children are not well, our people are not well, and our country will not be well for very much longer, if we don’t heed this desperate call for attention,” she added.

The link between vaccines and autism has been debunked thoroughly, but RFK has repeatedly staked his reputation on his belief that there is a link between the two.

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