What We Know About Andrew Cuomo And Sandra Lee's Split

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and lifestyle personality Sandra Lee were in a committed relationship for over 14 years before they announced their split in May of 2019. Their loving union was much-admired in New York's social circles. The serious politician appeared to be balanced out by the gorgeous, statuesque blonde who made a career as the Semi-Homemade superstar on the Food Network and as the author of over 25 cookbooks.

Allegations of sexual harassment that have recently upended the governor's third term as the leader of New York State have shone a new light on their relationship. Followers of the former Food Network Star wondered if she would speak out regarding the scandal in support of her former beau. This speculation has caused a buzz around Sandra and Andrew's union. How long were they together? What type of relationship did they have? Why did they ultimately break up after more than a decade as the toast of New York City?

Let's take a deeper look into why Sandra Lee and Governor Andrew Cuomo split and why the news was so shocking.

How did they meet?

Sandra Lee and Andrew Cuomo met in 2005. Both were separated from their respective spouses. Andrew was married to Kerry Kennedy, the seventh of Robert and Ethel Kennedy's 11 children and together they had three girls: twins Cara and Mariah, and Michaela. They were married for 15 years, from 1990 through 2005 (via Vanity Fair Hive).

Sandra Lee was married to businessman Bruce Karatz from 2001 to 2005. Bruce was the former CEO of KB Home and is a philanthropist. He used his means to help New Orleans rebuilt after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (via Married Biography). 

Andrew and Sandra met at a cocktail party in the Hamptons. Although they appeared to enjoy each other's company, each were in the midst of finalizing their respective divorces, so their relationship moved slowly. It would be one year before Andrew introduced Sandra to his daughters. Shortly after that, Andrew and Sandra moved in together, settling into life in a Westchester, New York home she affectionately called "Lily Pond" (via The New York Times).

Sandra was the unofficial First Lady of New York State

The former Food Network star was present when Andrew was first sworn into office and held the bible upon which he took his oath in 2011. They spent his first night together as governor snuggling with a 2-month-old cockatoo whose fragile health required the use of a heating lamp to keep warm (via The New York Post).

Sandra stood by Andrew's side during two of his three terms, a woman without an official title, and threw herself into causes close to her heart. She worked tirelessly to help millions of New Yorkers who struggled to pay for food.

"It's not just the poor and the homeless that are suffering. It is the middle class, too," said Lee (via The New York Post). Sandra spoke about her impoverished background and how she came up with her semi-homemade recipes in her memoir Made from Scratch, published in November 2007. She wrote that she cooked and cleaned for her four siblings starting at the age of 8 after her father left and her mother became addicted to prescription pills.

They grew closer after a traumatic experience

Andrew and Sandra settled into domesticity. She preferred to stay out of the spotlight, and she happily helped to raise his three daughters as she continued to move forward in her career.

In late March 2015, the 48-year-old had just finished a shoot for People who coined her as one of their Most Beautiful for their annual issue when she got a phone call that changed her life; she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The governor was by Sandra's side when she fought a battle against the disease, as documented in the HBO Documentary Film, Rx: Early Detection, A Cancer Journey with Sandra Lee. This appearance was one of the few times the couple let the world into their personal life.

Andrew said to People, "Sandy's experience with breast cancer was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through personally. It opened my eyes, and I learned a lot." Sandra campaigned to help Andrew pass legislation in June 2016 to improve access to breast cancer screening by expanding screening hours at hospitals and clinics and removing some insurance barriers, reported the New York State Department of Health.

Why did they break up?

The couple appeared to have hit a rough patch in 2018. That same year, Sandra's image was removed from Andrew's campaign website when he sought to be re-elected (via The New York Post) as New York's governor. A Democratic Party insider said at the time that Sandra's absence as Andrew's partner on the site appeared to be "awkward." She also skipped his State of the State address in early 2019, citing a previous commitment.

After 14 years together, the couple announced their split in September 2019. He moved out of her home and back into the Governor's Mansion full-time. The news was shocking to their followers who believed that, after enduring many personal highs and lows together, their bond would be permanent.

Andrew and Sandra released a joint statement regarding the end of their relationship. "Over the recent past, we have realized that our lives have gone in different directions, and our romantic relationship has turned into a deep friendship," the couple said in a joint statement (via Twitter).

"We will always be family and are fully supportive of each other and dedicated to the girls. Our personal lives remain personal, and there will be no further comment," they concluded.

Sandra Lee sold their shared home in 2020

Sandra Lee became emotional the day she left the gorgeous home the couple shared for the last time. In a December 2020 Instagram post, she wrote, "My last moments on Lily Pond were very BitterSweet. I walked around the outside of my beautiful home —I wanted to drink in every angle and remember the beautiful moments that were spent in every place."

"I stopped at the top of the hill where I planted one of 6 tree lines of evergreen trees and 200 daffodil bulbs. I just looked at the house, I prayed the next owners would be kind to it and love it as I did," Sandra said.

Andrew and Sandra reportedly remain close, and she maintains a tight relationship with his daughters and extended family.

She has not officially commented on the allegations of sexual assault against six women in Andrew's political inner circle. On February 27, she posted a message about "healing" and shared a photo of a sunset lingering over a Malibu beach.