The Story Behind Cheryl Hines' Marriage To Robert Kennedy Jr.

When Cheryl Hines and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. first started dating, some may have been skeptical of the compatibility of the couple. Hines is a successful actress best known for her role in "Curb Your Enthusiasm," as well as a producer and film director. Kennedy has a background in environmental law and belongs to a political dynasty, but he's perhaps most notable right now for his controversial 2024 presidential campaign in which he perpetuates conspiracy theories. Yet, those who are close to the couple see that their bond is defined by mutual interests and values, which could be among the many reasons why Hines and Kennedy eventually got married. 

Still, if you're curious about the famous couple and how their marriage has evolved, you're not alone. Since they first stepped out on the red carpet as an official couple in New York City in 2012 at the Riverkeeper's annual Fisherman's Ball, Hines and Kennedy have been a source of interest among the public and the media. Despite their differences, the couple appears to support each other in their separate interests, while always coming back together for their mutual connections.

Both Cheryl Hines and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were previously married

Before meeting and ultimately getting married, both Cheryl Hines and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had previous marriages.

Hines was married to Paul Young from 2002 to 2010. At the time, Hines had acknowledged the two were opposites, though she and Young seemed to complement each other. "My husband and I balance each other out," she told OK! magazine in February 2010. "I'm a bit more spontaneous and quick-on-the-draw. I like to make decisions quickly, and he's more methodical and thinks things through more. He's a little more right brain, and I'm more left brain, I think." However, it seems that the opposites-attraction didn't work out in the end, as Young and Hines announced their divorce later that year, but separated on amicable terms. In fact, the two are still friends and have also worked together. 

Kennedy was also previously married not once, but two times before marrying Hines. First, he married Emily Black in 1982. The pair met at law school at the University of Virginia, and they reportedly had a turbulent relationship that was marked with infidelities and struggles with substance abuse until their divorce in 1994. Kennedy married his second wife, Mary Richardson, shortly after that. In 2012, Kennedy started dating Hines, and he filed for divorce from Richardson Kennedy. According to People, Richardson Kennedy died by suicide in May 2012 while the couple was in the middle of their divorce.

Cheryl Hines met Robert F. Kennedy Jr. through her co-star

Cheryl Hines first met Robert F. Kennedy Jr. through their mutual friend, Larry David. Hines has known David since 2000, as they have co-starred together as spouses on the hit comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm." She has also joked about how she considers David her "first husband," telling Closer Weekly in 2018, "Larry David was my first husband, because when I started doing 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' I was single and had never been married before. Then I married Paul Young, and then I married Robert F. Kennedy Jr." The admiration between the two appears mutual, as David gushed about Hines in a 2007 interview with NBC News. "I don't want to embarrass her, but I can't say enough good things about her," David told the outlet. "She's unoffendable. And she has less ego than anybody I've ever worked with."

Perhaps Hines trusted David's judgment when he introduced her to Kennedy, though David reportedly never intended for the introduction to blossom into a long-term relationship. Ultimately, Hines and Kennedy met at a ski resort in Utah and have been together ever since. 

The couple announced their engagement in April 2014

About two years after Cheryl Hines started dating Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the couple officially started making wedding plans. On April 29, 2014, they publicly announced their engagement while attending Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night, an annual charity event that helps raise money for cancer research. If anyone was skeptical of the engagement, they only needed to point to previous comments Hines made about the couple's relationship. "We share the same values," she told Us Weekly that same month. "Family first. We like to have a good time and work hard."

While exact details about the engagement and proposal weren't made public, Hines made clear how the couple are equals in their relationship. Furthermore, while the Kennedy family has historically garnered a lot of attention, Hines told Us Weekly that Kennedy also supports her own endeavors. "He's so dedicated to the environment and clean water, so we take turns," she said in April 2014. "He'll come to my United Cerebral Palsy event and walk the red carpet with me. It's a good match up." 

Cheryl Hines' meeting with the Kennedy family was surprising for her

While Cheryl Hines and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. got along well with each other, it's unknown how Hines felt before officially met the rest of the extended Kennedy family. According to ABC News, there are now more than 100 members of the complicated Kennedy family tree that started with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s grandparents, Joseph Patrick Kennedy Sr. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald.

As the family has been a powerhouse in both politics and society in general for the last century, it would be understandable if Hines might have felt nervous or intimidated. Yet, what happened was admittedly surprising for her. "When I met them, they were all very genuine and gracious," she previously told People (as reported by ABC News) in 2014. "I was surprised. I didn't know what to expect or who they are. They're the most generous people I've ever met."

Also, while the Kennedys certainly have fame and fortune, Hines herself has made comments that suggest she wants to maintain her down-to-earth personality. In a 2022 interview with the University of Central Florida (UCF), the college she attended in the 1990s, Hines described how she had to support herself through work. "Growing up, I didn't want to be the girl with no money because I wanted to be this sophisticated girl that grew up in Manhattan," Hines told UCF's Nicholson Student Media. "But that's not who I am ... I am a person who grew up in Central Florida that didn't have anything, and that's what makes me interesting."

Cheryl Hines and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. got married in August 2014

Cheryl Hines and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were married in August 2014 in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts at the famed "Kennedy Compound." In fact, according to People, Hines and Kennedy exchanged vows outdoors on a property previously owned by John F. Kennedy Jr. The wedding also took place in the middle of the annual summer Kennedy family reunion. Other famous figures were also in attendance, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Larry David. 

Yet despite being in the presence of celebrities, politicians, and a high-profile family, Hines and Kennedy kept their wedding on the casual side. Not only did their dog, Che, walk Hines down the aisle, but the couple also served local seafood at the reception, according to The Daily Mail. The couple appeared truly happy together, but this hasn't stopped critics who have questioned their relationship. While some people might say that Hines doesn't have much in common with her husband, she has pushed back on this. "It's nice because we both understand — I hate to use the word fame, but just being a recognizable person," she previously told Closer Weekly. "If one person is recognizable and the other isn't, it can be a tough balance, but it's nice that we're recognized for different things." 

Both Cheryl Hines and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have children from previous marriages

It's no secret that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. comes from a big family. However, Kennedy and Cheryl Hines admittedly have a large family of their own after their marriage. Hines has a daughter, Catherine Rose Young, with ex-husband Paul Young. Catherine was born in 2004, and is also an actor. The two appear to be close, with Hines making it a point to help encourage her daughter to find her own personality. "My main concern is that she's true to herself and isn't influenced by other kids," Hines told People in 2011. "I want her to make decisions that are right for her."

While Hines has one biological child, Kennedy has six adult children of his own. These include two children from his previous marriage with Emily Black, Robert F. Kennedy III and Kathleen Alexandra "Kick" Kennedy Jr. He also had four children with the late Mary Richardson Kennedy: Conor Richardson Kennedy, Kyra LeMoyne Kennedy, William Finbar "Finn" Kennedy, and Aidan Caohman Vieques Kennedy. 

Cheryl Hines has reportedly adapted to a more active, environmentally-sensitive lifestyle

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a former environmental lawyer and outspoken environmentalist. As such, his wife Cheryl has talked about how she's adjusted. She previously told People, as reported by E!Online, "I've changed out all the lightbulbs. It sounds ridiculous, but I turn off my air conditioner and heater."

It's also important to note that despite his environmentalist beliefs, Kennedy himself has come under scrutiny for his climate change views. While these aren't downright denials of global warming, his views are perceived to be at odds with his environmental background. He has argued that climate change is an issue perpetuated to make rich activists, such as Bill Gates, even wealthier, according to a 2023 interview with UnHerd, partly due to emerging technologies. "It tends to be that the people who are pushing them also have IP rights — in other words, patent rights in a lot of those technologies," he said. "There is definitely an optic of self-interest."

While it's not clear whether Hines shares these views with her husband, she has participated in her own conservation and environmental activist efforts. Recently, she posted for World Environment Day 2023 on Instagram, writing, " ... I've been so lucky to visit and reminds me how important it is to take care of our planet. Less single use plastics, volunteer in your community, and choose sustainable options." In the meantime, the couple reportedly stays active outdoors together. 

Cheryl Hines publicly disagreed with her husband's anti-vaccine beliefs

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s views on vaccines have long been controversial. ABC News reported that Kennedy claimed, "I have never been anti-vaxx. I have never told the public to avoid vaccination." Yet the publication also noted that the opposite has been true, as Kennedy previously made other comments that were clearly anti-vaxx, with perhaps the most straightforward one in a podcast, where he said, "There's no vaccine that is safe and effective." The controversies over his stances on vaccines came to a head when Kennedy outrageously claimed at an anti-vaccine rally in January 2022 that COVID-19 vaccination requirements were similar to Nazism, according to CNN.

Immediately after the comments, Hines posted a statement about his rally remarks on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, to voice her disagreement. In comments that have since been removed, Hines wrote, as reported by Variety, "My husband's opinions are not a reflection of my own. While we love each other, we differ on many current issues ... The atrocities that millions endured during the Holocaust should never be compared to anyone or anything. His opinions are not a reflection of my own." Kennedy apologized, but the damage had been done. Hines' views also appear to be in line with her new extended family, as the majority of the Kennedys seem to disagree with his controversial beliefs. 

Cheryl Hines supported Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s 2024 presidential bid

Yet, while Cheryl Hines has made it clear that she does not agree with all of her husband's beliefs, she's also appeared to take a different stance when it comes to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s 2024 presidential bid. When Kennedy made the announcement he was running for president back in April 2023, Hines released a statement which read in part, according to People, "My husband, Robert Kennedy Jr. announced today he will be running for President and I support his decision. He is a fearless leader who understands the needs of the American people and has devoted his life fighting for democracy."

In fact, Hines is also admittedly one of her husband's few family members who supports him for president. Kennedy's own sister, Kerry Kennedy, summed up her family's beliefs in a statement (reported by Slate), "I love my brother Bobby, but I do not share or endorse his opinions on many issues, including the COVID pandemic, vaccinations, and the role of social media platforms in policing false information." Not only are Kennedy's personal beliefs at odds with the rest of the Kennedy family, but he's also running as a Democrat in opposition to the Kennedy-supported President Joe Biden. As CNN reported, three members of the Kennedy family even worked for the Biden administration. Yet while Kennedy continues to ruffle feathers within his family and the country at large, Hines has pledged support of her husband's presidential aspirations.

Cheryl Hines worries how her husband's presidential campaign may affect their family

Despite Cheryl Hines' broad support for her husband's 2024 presidential campaign, one can't help but wonder how Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s controversial statements could impact her and their family. Hines, for her part, has made it a point to differentiate herself from her husband when needed, though she still worries. "I just want to make sure that my family — me, Bobby, our seven children — come out intact," she told Newsweek in July 2023. "That we'll still be the same people when it's all said and done. That we'll still be grounded — but wiser."

These are certainly valid concerns for anyone involved with a presidential campaign, as the long hours, travel commitments, and media scrutiny can wear down even the strongest of people. What will be interesting is how Kennedy's campaign will unfold, and whether any future controversies could further impact the family's reputation. For example, as ABC News reported, there's a rumor that Kennedy could leave the Democratic primary and run as a third-party candidate instead. This move would ultimately take votes away from the incumbent, President Joe Biden, and likely anger Democrats.

However, the situation isn't all bad, according to Hines. In the same Newsweek interview, she said, "Online, there's always hate coming at me because of Bobby's stance on vaccines. But now, also, because he's running for president, I'm overwhelmed by the positive comments. That's a shift for me." 

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. offered to separate from Cheryl Hines while he runs for president

While presidential campaigns are known to cause both media and public scrutiny, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s 2024 presidential campaign has admittedly garnered more controversy and backlash than your average run for public office. As such, Kennedy made a surprising offer to his wife, Cheryl Hines in the summer of 2023. The offer was to temporarily separate. This wasn't because Kennedy actually wanted a marital separation, but rather it was an attempt to protect his wife and her own public image. The idea came about after the fallout over Kennedy's comments about COVID-19 vaccines in early 2022 when he made outrageous comparisons between public health officials' attempts to encourage vaccinations and that of the Holocaust. 

Ultimately, the idea of a marital separation never came to fruition. However, the fact that Kennedy offered up such an idea shows that he realizes the controversy he's causing, and how his 2024 presidential campaign could negatively affect his wife. In reference to the controversial COVID-19 vaccine comments, Hines' stance seemed to soften a bit later in 2023. "I see both sides of the vaccine situation," Hines told The New York Times in June. "There's one side that feels scared if they don't get the vaccine, and there's the side that feels scared if they do get the vaccine, because they're not sure if the vaccine is safe. And I understand that."