Ann Romney, whose maiden name was Davies, was born and raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Romney did not grow up in a religious family–in fact it was quite the opposite. Her father, according to Ann’s brother, was an atheist who “considered people who were religious to be weak in the knees.” Before he would marry Ann’s mother, he insisted she give up organized religion.
But Ann wasn’t like her father, even from a young age. She would drag the reluctant patriarch to Protestant churches, throughout her childhood, trying to find her way on her own spiritual journey. But it was when she met Mitt Romney when she was 16, and started learning about the Mormon church, that she really felt as if she had found her place. She was eventually baptized by Mitt’s father while the future presidential candidate was in France on his Mormon mission.
Not surprisingly, Ann’s Mormon faith is now an essential part of her identity. Citing the church’s “family values” as one of the reasons she was so attracted to it, she said it was what got her through the process of raising five boys into men, and what enabled her to get through her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
As one of the world’s most prominent Mormons during her husband’s unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2012, she may have had to spend a good amount of time defending and explaining her faith, but maybe after her work in portraying the religion as mainstream, the next person won’t have to.
Ann Romney might have started a political career before her husband–she ran for town meeting representative in 1977 and won –but it doesn’t seem like she was all that interested in affecting policy, had she made it to the White House with her husband. She is clearly a Republican, and I think it’s safe to assume she shares a lot of his political views, but as she put it:
The good news is, I’m not running for office, and I don’t have to say what I feel!
With all the talk of what the Democrats dubbed the Republicans’ War on Women in 2012, Ann Romney was in an odd position to defend her husband’s position on women’s rights. As a stay-at-home mother in a fairly traditional role, she said that she received a lot of criticism as a young mom from feminists. But she says she was “pretty resolute, pretty confident in what I was doing.” During her husband’s 2012 campaign she said,
Women are going to have a choice. I mean, it’s clear. If you really want to make a choice and if those choices are about reproductive rights, that’s your choice. If they’re about economic issues and making a better future for your children [then vote for Romney].
Needless to say, she is pro-life. She refused to answer questions during the campaign about her views on birth control and gay marriage, although one could assume that she is at least not a fan of the latter, and instead focused on her position that the Republicans were better equipped to rescue the economy.
Ann Romney was apparently devastated when her husband failed to be elected to the presidency, but maybe this will just be another knock on the road that her faith in God will help her barrel through.