Who Is Karine Jean-Pierre's Ex-Partner? All About Suzanne Malveaux

Karine Jean-Pierre announced her split from Suzanne Malveaux in September 2023. The exes share a daughter

Mary Kouw/CBS/Getty
Mary Kouw/CBS/Getty

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and former CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux have called it quits.

Jean-Pierre announced their separation in a Vogue article, which was published in September 2023. The couple first met at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and two years later, they adopted their daughter, Soleil.

The Biden administration spokeswoman made history in Washington D.C. in May 2021, becoming the first openly gay woman (and only the second Black woman) to ever brief the White House press. The following year, she made history once again when she was named as Jen Psaki's successor, becoming the first Black woman, the first immigrant woman and the first openly gay woman to serve as White House press secretary.

Malveaux is equally impressive: She served as a White House correspondent for CNN for more than 10 years, has interviewed five presidents and was one of the first Black women to solo-anchor a weekday show for the network. Malveaux also helped CNN win both Emmy and Peabody Awards before departing from the network in January 2023.

So who is Karine Jean-Pierre's ex-partner? Here is everything to know about Suzanne Malveuax.

She's an identical twin

Suzanne Malveaux Instagram
Suzanne Malveaux Instagram

Malveaux was born on Dec. 4, 1966, in East Lansing, Michigan — along with her identical twin sister, Suzette. The two grew up in Howard County, Maryland, with their parents (their father was a doctor, their mother a school teacher) and two brothers. "Growing up it was us taking on the world," Malveaux wrote on Instagram about her and her twin sister.

And take on the world they did: They attended Harvard University together before splitting off to launch their own successful careers. Malveaux continued her education at Columbia before beginning to work in journalism, while Suzette went on to New York University's School of Law before becoming a high-powered attorney. She worked as a civil rights attorney before becoming a law professor, teaching at the University of Alabama, Catholic University of America and the University of Colorado, according to Essence.

Though the sisters work in different fields, their careers have crossed paths over the years. Malveaux has interviewed Suzette on CNN on multiple occasions, having her provide legal commentary on topics such as Supreme Court confirmation hearings and class action lawsuits.

"We allow each other to be as great as we can be," Suzette told the Huffington Post about her sister.

"We are soulmates," Suzanne added. "We still have our disagreements from time to time. You have to. That's a part of an honest relationship."

She is a Harvard and Columbia-educated journalist

Larry Busacca/Getty
Larry Busacca/Getty

Malveaux attended Harvard University with the initial goal of studying medicine. "My two loves were science and storytelling," she told Politico. "While I started in pre-med, I pivoted quickly after I discovered the workload."

She went on to study sociology, earning top honors for her senior thesis, according to the Washington Post, and graduating summa cum laude in 1984. During her time at Harvard, however, she interned at various radio and television stations. After graduation, she traveled to Kenya and Egypt, where she produced documentaries before attending Columbia University for her master's degree in journalism.

Malveaux's on-camera news career began as a general assignment reporter for New England Cable News in Boston. She moved on to work for an NBC affiliate station in Washington D.C., where she found her big break. "The late Tim Russert plucked me from local news at Washington D.C.'s WRC to report for a new start-up called MSNBC," Malveaux recalled to Politico. From there, I covered all things politics, breaking news and White House for NBC."

She worked for CNN for 20 years

Suzanne Malveaux Instagram
Suzanne Malveaux Instagram

Malveaux was hired by CNN in May 2002 as their White House correspondent. "I'm honored to join the CNN team covering the White House, especially at this historic time," she said in a statement at the time.

She went on to spend two decades at the network, earning multiple awards and national recognition for her reporting work. In 2005, Malveaux helped CNN win a Peabody Award for the network's coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Her alma mater Columbia University recognized her for covering "one of the top 50 stories of the century" for her work on then-Senator Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Malveaux also played a key role in CNN's Emmy-winning coverage of the 2004 and 2006 elections, as well as the revolution in Egypt in 2011 — among others.

In addition to spending more than 10 years as White House correspondent for CNN, Malveaux also co-anchored CNN's Around the World, served as the primary fill-in host for The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer and was the dayside anchor of CNN Newsroom. In January 2023, she revealed she was leaving CNN after 20 years to explore "new opportunities" — including working with the family of Nelson Mandela.

"After 20 years of delivering groundbreaking stories for the audiences of CNN, I've made the heartfelt decision to put myself and my family first and to pursue my long-desired professional passions: using storytelling to promote wellness, resiliency and social justice," Malveaux wrote in a statement. "I will forever be grateful for the opportunities CNN afforded me."

She's an advocate for ALS

Malveaux has worked throughout her career to not only cover politics and current affairs, but to also help shed light on ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) — a neuromuscular disease that is fatal and has no cure, according to the Mayo Clinic. Malveaux's mother, Myrna, died from the disease in 2018.

"Someone described it to me as 'imagining yourself, sitting in a chair, and being completely duct-taped head to toe, with only your eyes left open. That's what it's like to have ALS,' " Malveaux wrote for CNN.

During her time at CNN, Malveaux hosted a three-part series called Living with ALS, which showcased three different individuals — her mother, former NFL player Steve Gleason and Life Fitness founder Augie Nieto — all grappling with the disease. She also chronicled her mother's battle against the disease for CNN in 2013 in a series called My Mother's Journey with ALS. Malveaux later described these projects as her "proudest accomplishment," according to the Washington Post.

"CNN's platform enabled me to bring global awareness to those brave people battling ALS, including my mother Myrna Malveaux who fought to keep us whole as a family during her illness," Malveaux wrote when she announced her exit from CNN.

Malveaux and Jean-Pierre met at the 2012 Democratic National Convention

Riccardo S. Savi/Getty
Riccardo S. Savi/Getty

Malveaux and Jean-Pierre first crossed paths thanks to their careers. Both were at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina — Malveaux covering the convention for CNN and Jean-Pierre working for President Obama's re-election campaign. "We met at a donor party being held in a nightclub," Jean-Pierre recalled in her memoir Moving Forward. "I know it's a cliché, but the truth is, I spotted her across a crowded dance floor."

The two emailed a few times after their initial meeting, but didn't have their first date until two months later, in November 2012. At the time, Malveaux lived in Atlanta, covering the presidential campaign, and Jean-Pierre was based in New York. They began a long-distance relationship and eventually moved in together in Washington, D.C., in early 2014, according to Moving Forward.

"Suzanne is a beautiful woman with striking cheekbones and a dazzling smile," Jean-Pierre wrote about her former partner. "Suzanne is warm, brilliant, grounded, funny — and supportive of me."

They have a daughter named Soleil

Suzanne Malveaux Instagram
Suzanne Malveaux Instagram

Early in their relationship, Malveaux expressed her desire to be a mother. For Jean-Pierre, though, "kids were never part of my life plan," she wrote in her memoir. But her relationship with Malveaux changed that: "For the first time, I could see myself forming a family of my own with this woman."

And so, Malveaux embarked on the process of adopting a child with Jean-Pierre's "loving and emotional support." The two welcomed a daughter, whom they named Soleil, in May 2014. (Jean-Pierre formally adopted Soleil a few years later.)

"We knew we wanted something French but waited until we saw her before we decided," Jean-Pierre wrote about their daughter's name. "We instantly agreed that this radiant child should be Soleil — French for sun."

She added: "My darling Soleil is the light of my life."

Since becoming a mother, Malveaux has described Soleil as her "greatest blessing." "Every day you bring a new joy," she wrote on Twitter on Soleil's 2nd birthday in 2016. And when she stepped down from CNN in January 2023, she cited her daughter as one of the driving factors.

"I've made the heartfelt decision to put myself and my family first," Malveaux wrote in a statement. "While I've thrived on the energy from covering breaking news and politics, the rhythm of my life has shifted to the more personal. I love being a mom, and the time I have with my eight-year-old daughter is priceless."

While they are no longer romantic partners, Malveaux and Jean-Pierre are dedicated co-parents.

"Our number-one priority is [Soleil's] privacy and to make sure we create an environment that’s nurturing," the White House press secretary told Vogue in September 2023.

They have a dog named Mardi

Before welcoming their daughter, Malveaux and Jean-Pierre adopted a dog together. Malveaux surprised Jean-Pierre by bringing home a dog after attending an ALS fundraiser in Wisconsin, Jean-Pierre revealed in her memoir. The couple named the dog Mardi, short for Mardi Gras, "to reflect our French names and Suzanne's New Orleans Heritage," Jean-Pierre wrote.

Jean-Pierre describes Mardi as a "lovable creature with an insatiable need for love and an equally insatiable desire to chase tennis balls hour after hour." And while Malveaux had told Jean-Pierre Mardi was a yellow Labrador, that turned out not to be the case. Jean-Pierre believed Mardi was a golden retriever, instead — an assumption that turned out to be "dead right."

"But, of course, like most things, it's the substance and not the label that matters — even when you're talking about a seventy-five pound dog who likes to put her head on top of your feet," Jean-Pierre wrote.

Malveaux loves to dance

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

The former CNN journalist has many passions outside of the news — including running marathons, participating in triathlons and dancing. In fact, Malveaux "aspired to be a Soul Train dancer" as a kid, according to her Twitter bio.

"I love to dance!" Malveaux told Politico. "If you've ever been to one of my 'epic' parties you'd probably laugh at my version of the robot, pop-locking and breakdancing."

Malveaux attributes her love for dancing to her New Orleans roots. (Her parents and many members of her family were raised in the Creole culture of New Orleans, according to CNN.) "I think my desire to dance comes from our New Orleans tradition of doing 'the Second line,' a group dance parade that celebrates everything from birthdays to funerals," she explained to Politico.

She added: "I haven't broken anything yet, so I'll keep dancing."

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