Karen Pence Was Married Before, and It's Surprising

Karen Pence is married to Vice President Mike Pence. But before she married Pence, she was actually married to someone else, but to who?

Jamie Lerner - Author

Oct. 15 2020, Updated 8:16 p.m. ET

Karen Pence was married before
Source: getty

Second Lady Karen Pence has a long history with husband Mike Pence. It turns out, however, that she was married before. The relationship between the Pences has drawn some attention for their evangelical practices. However, as it turns out, Karen Pence did get divorced to marry her current partner in crime.

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Karen Pence was married before she wed the vice president.

Karen Pence was married before she met Mike Pence. Her first husband, Dr. Steve Whitaker, was also her high school sweetheart. According to the Washington Post, they just grew apart since Dr. Whitaker was working long hours in hospitals at the time. 

The fact that Karen has been divorced often surprises many, considering that she is very outspoken in regards to her religion, as an evangelical Christian, which frowns upon divorce. That being said, Karen did not become an evangelical Christian until later in life, and was raised Roman Catholic. Roman Catholicism does not recognize divorce at all. Though a couple may be granted a civil divorce, their marriage continues "in the eyes of God."

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Karen Pence married to Mike Pence
Source: Getty Images

Karen grew up in Kansas, just north of Indianapolis, where she was also her high school valedictorian. It only makes sense she would marry a soon-to-be doctor with that record! Apparently the last time Karen and Dr. Whitaker ran into each other, however, was over 30 years ago. At the time, Dr. Whitaker had no idea who she was married to.

Karen wed Mike Pence in June of 1985.

The Pences’ marriage has been under media scrutiny for a few unusual characteristics. One is simply that Vice President Pence calls his wife, “mother.” Mike has also repeatedly shared that he will not be alone in a room with a woman unless she is his wife.

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Karen Pence married to Mike Pence
Source: Getty Images

Karen is one of her husband's closest advisers.

Karen happens to be Vice President Pence’s closest adviser. While Karen says that she tries not to sway her husband’s views and policies, she has reportedly sat in on interviews and has been seen closely huddling with him on Air Force Two after important visits. Publisher of Howey Politics Indiana, Brian Howey, reports, “As governor, Mike Pence had a very tight inner circle, and Karen Pence was very much a part of that … I would characterize her as the silent, omnipresent partner.”

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As second lady, Karen Pence has been outspoken in her support of the president.

After tapes of Trump saying to "grab [women] by the p**sy" became public, Karen Pence was apparently very upset. During his apologies to his staff, he asked Mike to hand the phone to Karen and since then, she has been one of his strongest defenders. 

Election Day is Nov. 3. Register to vote at vote.gov and head to your state’s board of elections for details on requesting a mail-in or absentee ballot.

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