Sophia Martelly

Sophia Saint-Rémy Martelly (born October 9, 1965) is a Haitian health activist, politician, and former First Lady of Haiti from May 14, 2011, until February 7, 2016. She is the wife of the former President of Haiti, Michel Martelly.[1][2] Martelly focused on issues related to public health, healthcare and alleviating malnutrition during her tenure as first lady.[3][4][5]

Sophia Martelly
Sophia Martelly.jpg
Martelly in 2014
First Lady of Haiti
In role
May 14, 2011 – February 7, 2016
PresidentMichel Martelly
Preceded byElisabeth Delatour Préval
Succeeded byGinette Michaud Privert
Personal details
Sophia Saint-Rémy

(1965-10-09) October 9, 1965 (age 56)
New York City, New York, U.S.
(m. 1987)


Early life and marriageEdit

Martelly was born by Sophia Saint-Rémy on October 9, 1965, in New York City in the United States.[1][2][6] Her father, Charles Edouard Saint-Rémy, was from Gonaïves, and her mother, Mona Lisa Florez, is from Port-au-Prince. The Saint-Rémy family is originally from Gonaïves, where Sophia Saint Rémy was raised.[7][8] The Saint-Remys suffered under the dictatorship of François "Papa Doc" Duvalier.[8] Sophia Martelly's grandmother was arrested and detained by Duvalier , while two of her paternal relatives were executed during the Duvalier dictatorship.[8]

Sophia Saint-Rémy and her future husband, singer and politician Michel Martelly, had been friends when they were children, but had lived separate lives as young adults.[7] Michel Martelly immigrated to the United States with his American first wife during the 1980s.[9]

In 1986, Michel Martelly divorced his first wife and returned to Haiti.[9] Sophia Saint-Rémy and Martelly, who were childhood friends, reunited in 1987, shortly after he moved back to the country.[7] However, when the couple tried to marry, both of their mothers objected based on their skin color: Sophia Martelly has lighter skin, while Michel Martelly has a darker complexion.[8] Sophia Saint-Rémy and Michel Martelly ignored their parents' protests and, instead, moved to Miami, Florida, together later in 1987.[8] The couple married in Miami in a small 1987 wedding ceremony. Michel Martelly worked in construction, while Sophia worked as a word processor.[8] The couple returned to Haiti in 1988.[8] They had four children, Olivier, Alexandre, Yani, and Michel.[7]

The Martellys' early marriage was different from Michel Martelly's onstage "Sweet Mickey" persona.[8] Michel Martelly instituted a curfew on Sophia and forbid her to chew gum as recently as the late 1990s.[8] Martelly is four years younger than her husband.[8]

The couple lived in a condo in Miami Beach, Florida, during the mid-1990s.[8]


  1. ^ a b Charles, Jacqueline (2015-04-23). "First Lady Sophia Martelly Joins Candidates for Haitian Parliament". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2016-11-22. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  2. ^ a b Charles, Jacqueline (2015-05-12). "Haiti First Lady Sophia Martelly reviewing options after candidacy rejected". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2019-01-13. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  3. ^ Charles, Jacqueline (2016-02-06). "More showman than statesman, Haiti's Martelly exits power". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2017-07-01. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  4. ^ Presutti, Carolyn (2011-11-08). "Haiti's First Lady Champions Social Causes". Voice of America. Archived from the original on 2017-06-02. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  5. ^ Britell, Alexander (2012-08-13). "Interview with Haiti First Lady Sophia Martelly". Caribbean Journal. Archived from the original on 2015-09-08. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  6. ^ Ives, Kim (2016-03-17). "Sophia Martelly a-t-elle vraiment renoncé à sa citoyenneté américaine?". Haïti Liberté. Archived from the original on 2019-03-27. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  7. ^ a b c d "State Visit of His Excellency Michel Joseph Martelly, President of the Republic of Haiti". Jamaica Information Service. 2013-11-12. Archived from the original on 2019-03-29. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ackerman, Elise (1997-05-29). "His Music Rules in Haiti". Miami New Times. Archived from the original on 2018-11-16. Retrieved 2019-03-28.
  9. ^ a b "From pop star to presidency". Shenzhen Daily. 2011-04-08. Archived from the original on 2013-07-27. Retrieved 2019-03-28.