Chelsea Victoria Clinton (born February 27, 1980) is the only child of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former U.S. Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She was a special correspondent for NBC News from 2011 to 2014 and now works with the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative. Since 2011, she has taken on a prominent role at the foundation and has a seat on its board.
Clinton at the 2016 Democratic National Convention
Chelsea Victoria Clinton
February 27, 1980
|Education||Stanford University (BA)|
University College, Oxford
Columbia University (MPH)
New York University
Marc Mezvinsky (m. 2010)
Hugh Ellsworth Rodham (grandfather)
Dorothy Howell Rodham (grandmother)
Hugh Edwin Rodham (uncle)
Tony Rodham (uncle)
Clinton was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, during her father's first term as governor. She attended public schools there until he was elected President and the family moved to the White House, where she began attending the private Sidwell Friends School. She received an undergraduate degree at Stanford University and later earned master's degrees from University College, Oxford and Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, and a Doctor of Philosophy in international relations from the University of Oxford in 2014. Clinton married investment banker Marc Mezvinsky in 2010. They have a daughter and a son.
Clinton has worked for NBC, McKinsey & Company, Avenue Capital Group, and New York University and serves on several boards, including those of the School of American Ballet, Clinton Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative, Common Sense Media, Weill Cornell Medical College and IAC/InterActiveCorp. In 2007 and 2008, Clinton campaigned extensively on American college campuses for her mother's unsuccessful Democratic presidential nomination bid and introduced her at both the 2008 and 2016 Democratic National Conventions.
Clinton was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on February 27, 1980. Her name was inspired by a visit to the Chelsea neighborhood of London during a Christmas 1978 vacation. Hillary said that upon hearing the 1969 Judy Collins recording of the Joni Mitchell song, "Chelsea Morning", Bill remarked, "If we ever have a daughter, her name should be Chelsea."
When Chelsea was two years old, she accompanied her parents as they campaigned throughout Arkansas for her father's gubernatorial race. She learned to read and write at a very young age. Chelsea claims that she started reading the newspaper by the age of three and also wrote a letter to President Ronald Reagan when she was only five years old. In the letter, which was photocopied and preserved by her father, she asked President Reagan not to visit a military cemetery in West Germany, where Nazi soldiers were buried. Chelsea attended Forest Park Elementary School, Booker Arts and Science Magnet Elementary School and Horace Mann Junior High School, both Little Rock public schools. She skipped the third grade.
White House years
On January 20, 1993, the day of her father's first inauguration, Chelsea moved into the White House with her parents and was given the Secret Service codename "Energy". The Clintons wanted their daughter to have a normal childhood, and they hoped to shield her from the media spotlight.
Hillary Clinton followed the advice of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on raising children in the White House, and asked the press to limit coverage of Chelsea to her participation in public events such as state visits. Margaret Truman, daughter of former president Harry S. Truman, supported the Clintons, and in March 1993 wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times about the damage that could be done if the press made Chelsea a subject of intense coverage.
Journalists debated the issue of allowing Clinton to retain her privacy. Most media outlets concluded that she should be off-limits due to her age, although Rush Limbaugh and Saturday Night Live both broadcast material mocking her appearance. During this phase of her life, her father said, "We really work hard on making sure that Chelsea doesn't let other people define her sense of her own self-worth ... It's tough when you are an adolescent ... but I think she'll be ok."
The Clintons' decision to remove Chelsea from public schooling and send her to Sidwell Friends School, a private school in Washington, D.C., drew criticism. While several children of sitting presidents have attended Sidwell, the most recent prior child, Amy Carter, had gone to D.C. public schools. In a 1993 CBS This Morning town meeting, Bill defended the choice, stating that Chelsea did not like "getting a lot of publicity" and would have "more control over her destiny" at Sidwell. Bill explained that they made their decision in an effort to protect Chelsea's privacy; they did not "reject the public schools." Sidwell's students and staff remained silent regarding Chelsea, declining to discuss her publicly. A veteran of Model United Nations, Clinton was a 1997 National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. She graduated from Sidwell Friends in 1997; her father spoke at the graduation ceremony.
Following Chelsea's high school graduation, media speculation regarding her choice of college resulted in heavy press coverage. She ultimately chose to attend Stanford University. During her father's eight years in office, there were 32 stories in The New York Times and 87 network news stories about Chelsea. Of all presidential children preceding her, she received the most television coverage.
Although her father is a Southern Baptist, Clinton was raised in her mother's Methodist faith. She attended Foundry United Methodist Church on 16th Street, NW in Washington and met with other teens on Sunday mornings to examine questions of faith, philosophy, and issues of concern to her age group. Her parents joined her at the youth group's parent-teen round tables. An adult group leader thought Clinton to be "a terrific kid" and observed that she was treated as an equal in the group. Away from church, her social activities included visits to a Planet Hollywood restaurant with friends and sleep-overs in and out of the White House. President Clinton sometimes joined her and her sleep-over friends for breakfast.
At age four, Clinton had begun taking dance classes in Arkansas, and she continued her dance training at the Washington School of Ballet for several years. In her book, It Takes a Village, Hillary wrote that Bill was disappointed when Chelsea quit softball and soccer to concentrate on ballet, but he was nonetheless supportive, regularly attending her performances. She was cast in the role of the Favorite Aunt in the 1993 Washington Ballet production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.
In early 1999, the Clintons learned of an article being planned by People that examined the First Family's relationships in the wake of scandals and the impending vote on President Clinton's impeachment. The Secret Service told the magazine that they had concerns that the story could compromise Chelsea's security. People decided to run the story anyway, and Bill and Hillary issued a statement expressing their regret and sadness. Carol Wallace, People managing editor, affirmed the magazine's sensitivity to the Clintons' concerns, but felt 19-year-old Chelsea was "an eyewitness to family drama and historical events" and thus "a valid journalistic subject". The article, entitled "Grace Under Fire", was published in February 1999 with a cover photo of Chelsea and Hillary.
During the last year of her father's presidency, Chelsea assumed some White House hostess responsibilities when her mother was campaigning for the U.S. Senate, traveling with her father on several overseas trips and attending state dinners with him.
Education and academic life
The week before she arrived on campus, her mother published an open letter in her syndicated column asking journalists to leave her daughter alone. Chelsea arrived at Stanford in a motorcade with her parents, Secret Service agents, and almost 250 journalists. For her security, bullet-proof glass was installed in her dorm windows and surveillance cameras were placed in hallways. Secret Service agents in plain clothes lived in her dorm. With the exception of an occasional tabloid story written about her, Chelsea's four years at Stanford remained out of public view.
Clinton obtained a B.A. degree in history, with highest honors, at Stanford in 2001. The topic of her 167-page senior thesis was the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, advised by Jack Rakove. At the time of Chelsea's graduation, her father issued a statement: "Hillary and I are grateful for the friendships and great learning experiences Chelsea had at Stanford, and we are very proud of her on this special day."
University of Oxford
In July 2001, former President Clinton announced that Chelsea would be pursuing a master's degree at University College of the University of Oxford later that year – the same college where he studied studied politics between 1968 and 1970 on a Rhodes Scholarship; Chelsea did not apply for a Rhodes Scholarship. Lord Butler of Brockwell, the Master of University College, said: "Her record at Stanford shows that she is a very well-qualified and able student. The college is also pleased to extend its link with the Clinton family." Upon the recommendation of British and American advisers, the university implemented security measures, and fellow students were asked not to discuss her with the press.
Every day I encounter some sort of anti-American feeling. Over the summer, I thought I would seek out non-Americans as friends, just for diversity's sake. Now I find that I want to be around Americans – people who I know are thinking about our country as much as I am.
Clinton was criticized for those remarks in the London press and by the newspaper Oxford Student, which angered the university by directly attacking her in an editorial. However, people who met Clinton at that time described her as charming, poised and unaffected, and she seemed to be adjusting successfully to life abroad. During her time at Oxford, Chelsea adopted a more sophisticated look, reportedly assisted by a family friend, Donatella Versace, whose couture shows she attended in early 2002. Geordie Greig, the editor of Tatler, ranked her number five on the magazine's 2002 "Top 10 Girls" list.
In 2003, Clinton completed an MPhil degree in international relations at Oxford. Her 132-page thesis was titled The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria: A Response to Global Threats, a Part of a Global Future, supervised by Jennifer Welsh and Ngaire Woods. Following her graduation, she returned to the United States.
In 2011, Clinton transferred back to University College, Oxford, from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University to complete her DPhil degree in International Relations. She stated this was to be under her preferred doctoral advisor, Ngaire Woods. She finished her dissertation from New York City where she resides and was awarded the degree in May 2014. Her 356-page dissertation was titled The Global Fund: An Experiment in Global Governance.
New York University
Starting in 2010, Clinton began serving as Assistant Vice-Provost for the Global Network University of New York University, working on international recruitment strategies. She is the co-founder of the Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership at NYU and serves as its co-chair. By 2010, she was also pursuing PhD coursework at NYU's Wagner School of Public Service, but later transferred back to Oxford in 2011 to complete her dissertation.
In 2012, Clinton received an award from the Temple of Understanding for her "work in advancing a new model of integrating interfaith and cross-cultural education into campus life," together with Imam Khalid Latif and Rabbi Yehuda Sarna.
In 2003, Clinton joined the consulting firm McKinsey & Company in New York City, and she went to work for Avenue Capital Group in late 2006. She served as co-chair for a fund-raising week for the Clinton Foundation, and subsequently became Vice Chair for the foundation. She serves on the board of the School of American Ballet and on IAC's board of directors.
In November 2011, NBC announced that they had hired Clinton as a special correspondent. One of her roles was reporting feature stories about "Making a Difference" for NBC Nightly News and Rock Center with Brian Williams. It was a three-month contract and allowed her to concurrently continue working for the Clinton Foundation and pursue her education. Clinton's first appearance was on the December 12, 2011, episode of Rock Center. Although she received some negative critical reviews for her work, Clinton's contract with NBC was renewed in February 2012. Rock Center ended in May 2013, and she left the network in August 2014. Clinton reportedly earned an annual salary of $600,000 for her work at NBC.
In September 2015, Clinton wrote her first book, It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired and Get Going!, published by Philomel Books. The 400-page book is aimed at middle school students (ages 10 to 14) and introduces them to a range of social issues, encouraging them to take action to make the world a better place. The Today Show gave Clinton a full segment in which to discuss the book with her former colleagues at NBC. The book received mixed reviews from critics, who lauded Clinton for her effort but "lament[ed] its didactic tone".
Hillary Clinton 2008 presidential campaign
In December 2007, Clinton began campaigning in Iowa in support of her mother's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. She appeared across the country, largely on college campuses. By early April 2008, she had spoken at 100 colleges on behalf of her mother's candidacy.
While campaigning, Clinton answered audience questions but did not give interviews or respond to press questions, including one from a nine-year-old Scholastic News reporter asking whether her father would be a good "first man". She replied, "I'm sorry, I don't talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately. Even though I think you're cute." Philippe Reines, her mother's press secretary, intervened when the press attempted to approach Chelsea directly.
When MSNBC reporter David Shuster characterized Clinton's participation in her mother's campaign as "sort of being pimped out", the Clinton campaign objected. Shuster subsequently apologized on-air and was suspended for two weeks.
The first time she was asked about her mother's handling of the Lewinsky scandal at a campaign stop Clinton responded, "I do not think that is any of your business." As she became a more experienced campaigner, she refined her responses and deflected questions on the issue with comments such as, "If that's what you want to vote on, that's what you should vote on. But I think there are other people [who are] going to vote on things like healthcare and economics."
Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign
During the 2016 presidential election campaign, Clinton made remarks about cannabis drug interactions in support of candidate Hillary Clinton's policies. The remarks included a comment made on September 24, 2016 at Youngstown State University, when she said "We also have anecdotal evidence now from Colorado where some of the people who were taking marijuana for those purposes, the coroner believes, after they died, there was drug interactions with other things they were taking." The comment was walked back by her campaign, and was regarded in many media as inaccurate and/or fictitious. The Raw Story charged Clinton with "trying to mislead" about risks and stated "public sharing of flimsy 'anecdotal' evidence of marijuana-related deaths, based on some coroners' say-sos and 'beliefs,' was irresponsible". Live Science said they "could not find any scientific or news reports of people who have died as a result of marijuana interacting with another drug". and Snopes reported that it was "virtually impossible to determine what purported incidents she was citing" and "we were unable to corroborate [the] claim".
Since 2011, Clinton has taken a prominent role at the family's Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, and has had a seat on its board. As part of her work, she gives paid speeches to raise money with her fees going directly to the foundation, whose goals relate to improving global health, creating opportunities for women, and promoting economic growth. A spokesperson for the foundation told The New York Times in 2014 that her speeches "are on behalf of the Clinton Foundation, and 100 percent of the fees are remitted directly to the foundation".
On July 31, 2010, Clinton and investment banker Marc Mezvinsky were married in an interfaith ceremony in Rhinebeck, New York; she is Methodist and he is Jewish. Mezvinsky's parents are former members of Congress, Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky and Edward Mezvinsky, who were raised in the Conservative Jewish tradition. The senior Clintons and Mezvinskys were friends in the 1990s and their children met on a Renaissance Weekend retreat in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. They first were reported to be a couple in 2005, and became engaged over Thanksgiving weekend in 2009.
Following their wedding, the couple lived in New York City's Gramercy Park neighborhood for three years  and later purchased a condominium in the NoMad district of Manhattan for $10.5 million. Their first child, a daughter, was born in September 2014, and their son was born in June 2016. Shortly after Aidan was born, the family moved to the nearby Flatiron District. In January 2019, she announced her pregnancy with her third child, due that summer.
In popular culture
Clinton is portrayed in the film Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, where Butt-Head flirts with her; she responds by tossing him out of a window. In Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, a Disney Channel Original Movie set in the year 2049, Clinton is the President of the United States. This joke was also made in an episode of Clarissa Explains It All.
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