Who Is House Speaker Mike Johnson's 'Son,' Michael?

If the Halloween 2023 episode of "Saturday Night Live" was the first time you heard about House Speaker Mike Johnson's "adult Black son also named Michael," you weren't alone. Not much was known about the lower-level politician when he was elected as the speaker of the House after Congress' frantic search for Rep. Kevin McCarthy's replacement, and as the "SNL" skit jokes, that includes the Louisiana rep's foster child. 

And as it turns out, that's on purpose. "When Speaker Johnson first ran for Congress in 2016, he and his wife, Kelly, spoke to their son Michael — who they took in as newlyweds when Michael was 14 years old," Johnson's communications director Corinne Day said in a statement to Newsweek. "At the time of the Speaker's election to Congress, Michael was an adult with a family of his own. He asked not to be involved in their new public life."

Thus, the Johnsons' oldest child has been kept out of family portraits, the politician's bio, and the public eye in general since his parent entered politics.

The Johnsons reportedly have a close relationship with their foster son

House Speaker Mike Johnson and his wife, Kelly Johnson, were 27 and 26 years old, respectively, when they welcomed a then-14-year-old Michael Johnson into their home. The Louisiana representative calls Michael his son and does not clarify when someone refers to him as "adopted," though communications director Corinne Day explained that the Johnsons never formally adopted Michael. She declined to comment on whether Michael actively used "Johnson" as his last name, per The New York Times.

Despite being excluded from Rep. Johnson's family portraits and biographies, Day's statement to Newsweek painted a picture of a positive relationship between the foster parent and child. While describing Michael's wishes to be left out of the politician's public-facing life, Day said, "The Speaker has respected that sentiment throughout his career and maintains a close relationship with Michael to this day."

In an interview on PBS' "Amanpour and Company," Johnson compared his relationship with his son to the 2009 film "The Blind Side." Per the politician, Michael has said, "Were it not for our intervention in his life, that he would certainly have joined a gang, gotten on drugs, wound up in prison or dead on the street somewhere."

Mike Johnson's discreet foster son has a family of his own

Though we know far more about House Speaker Mike Johnson's four biological kids with his wife Kelly than his foster son, the politician revealed some details of Michael's life while on "Amanpour and Company." "Michael is doing great. He lives in California. Four children of his own."

For the most part, Michael Johnson's existence has been relegated to online speculation, "SNL" goofs, and brief mentions in Johnson's interviews and testimony, particularly regarding systemic racism. The conservative politician included Michael in his testimony to the House against reparations for slavery in 2019, stating, "I have walked with him through discrimination that he has had to endure over the years and the hurdles he sometimes faced." Johnson said he and Michael both opposed reparations, citing "an important tradition of self-reliance," via Business Insider.

Otherwise, Johnson's familial narrative focuses on his two daughters, Hannah and Abigail, and two sons, Jack and Will, whom he had with his wife Kelly after tying the knot in a covenant marriage in 1999 — the same year they took in their elusive "adopted" child, Michael.