Inside Boris Johnson's Relationship With His Wife Carrie

As prime minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson is constantly in the news, and so is his relationship with his wife, Carrie. After marrying Boris in 2021, Carrie Johnson became the U.K.'s equivalent of a first lady, and naturally, the public has shown an interest in their relationship from the start. In fact, the pair didn't get engaged until the year after he took office, making them the first unmarried couple to ever live at the prime minister's official Downing Street residence (via The Sun). 

Like any couple, Boris and Carrie have been through their highs and lows, but they've shown a united front through some tough times, both personally and professionally, over the years. With two young children and one of the most stressful jobs in the world, they've managed to make their relationship work. Here's a look inside the British prime minister's very high-profile marriage.

They first met while Carrie worked in politics, but Boris was married

While it's not clear exactly when Boris Johnson first met Carrie Symonds, we do know she worked on his 2012 campaign when he was running for re-election as mayor of London (via the Daily Mirror). Johnson was married at the time to his second wife, Marina Wheeler, with whom he shares four children, per The Guardian. Symonds went on to continue working in politics in various advisory roles before becoming the conservative party's head of communications, per the Daily Mirror. In 2018, she joined the team at Oceana, an environmental charity, while Johnson continued his own political career, moving up to the position of foreign secretary under Prime Minister Theresa May. 

So when did they start dating? The two were linked as early as Valentine's Day 2018, when Johnson was still married to Wheeler. He was said to have been spotted vacationing with Symonds and a group of friends at a villa in Tuscany that summer, per The Sun. In September 2018, Johnson and Wheeler announced they were divorcing after 25 years of marriage (via The Guardian). Symond's first public show of support for Johnson came when he announced his campaign to become the leader of the Tory party in 2019, with Symonds seen in the audience (via the Daily Mirror). 

Carrie faced online abuse after they were linked in 2018

It made headlines when Boris Johnson announced he and his wife of more than two decades, Marina Wheeler, would be divorcing, but part of the media craze also surrounded his rumored infidelity (via The Guardian). When Johnson was linked to Carrie Symonds, who was then 30 years old to his 54, press coverage dubbed her as the "other woman" and a party girl, and even shared a photo of her dressed as Britney Spears during her university days more than 10 years prior. 

The articles become so damaging that a group of 70 women working in or close to British politics wrote an open letter in Symonds' defense (via the Huffington Post). The signatories, who said they were "disturbed and shocked to watch the way Carrie Symonds has been treated by the media," wrote in the letter that the treatment of Symonds was another example of why many women are reluctant to work in the political field. In the letter, the women asked why it was necessary to search through years of photos and bring up snaps from her university parties in order to paint her in a certain light. Some of the signatories were colleagues or friends of Symonds, but others didn't know her and were motivated to speak out, urging the media to think twice before running such coverage. The Guardian also released an op-ed denouncing the tone of stories about Symonds and her personal life.

Police were called to the couple's home after a June 2019 domestic disturbance

By the summer of 2019, Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds were living together in Symonds' South London flat, and reports of police being called to their home hit the news that June. According to the Daily Mail, a neighbor said he called the police because he heard banging noises and shouting inside the residence that "was loud enough and angry enough that I felt frightened and concerned for the welfare of those involved." The neighbor said he tried to knock on Symonds' door several times with no answer, and decided to call the police after that. He also recorded the argument on his cell phone. In the recording, Johnson can allegedly be heard saying to stop using his laptop before a crashing sound is heard, followed by Symonds telling him to leave her flat. Police reported that the residents of the home were okay. 

Stories about the incident raised concerns about Johnson's ability to take the office of prime minister, per The Sun. Johnson then dodged questions about what happened with his girlfriend during a Tory leadership event the following day, saying that people wanted to hear his plans for the country, and not about his personal life.

Boris and Carrie became the first unmarried couple to move into the Prime Minister's residence

For hundreds of years, the British prime minister has lived at 10 Downing Street, which serves as his or her official office and residence (think the White House). But several prime ministers have occupied the larger flat next door at No. 11 Downing Street, and this includes Boris Johnson and his then-girlfriend, Carrie Symonds (via The Sun). When Johnson was named prime minister in July 2019, the couple made history as the first unmarried couple to live together at No. 11, per The Sun. According to the newspaper, it's a significantly larger apartment than No. 10 and has four bedrooms, versus No. 10's two. 

But the renovations Johnson and Symonds made on their apartment raised some eyebrows — and investigations (via BBC News). According to the media outlet, the prime minister receives £30,000 a year to use for things like repairs or upgrades on his residence. However, it was speculated Johnson's flat rehab cost closer to £200,000, per the BBC, and that donors had secretly helped cover some of the costs. The Financial Times reported that Symonds was in charge of the renovations, "and some say Johnson panicked when he realized how much it would cost." Her taste in wallpaper even coined the term "wallpapergate" after it was discovered Symonds ordered £840-per-roll gold wallpaper, to Johnson's dismay (via the Daily Mail). 

The couple adopted a dog named Dilyn together in fall 2019

It came as no surprise that animal rights activist Carrie Symonds would want to adopt a pet, and in September 2019 she and boyfriend Boris Johnson welcomed a new addition to their home: A puppy named Dilyn (via BBC News). The prime minister and his girlfriend adopted the Jack Russell Terrier from Friends of Animals Wales after he was abandoned by a puppy farm, per the media outlet. Dilyn, who was 15 weeks old at the time, had a problem with his jaw and couldn't be sold due to the deformity, according to BBC News. Eileen Jones, owner of Friends of Animals Wales, rescued the puppy. Symonds commended Jones in a tweet, saying, "Eileen fixed his little jaw and saved his life. She is a hero." In turn, Jones praised Symonds and Johnson for adopting versus buying a dog and said that the couple was helping to raise awareness about Lucy's Law, which aims to tackle the problem of unlicensed breeders (via BBC News).

Dilyn went from the lowest of lows to living in one of the world's most famous residences, and now the Johnson family dog lives a pampered life. According to Tatler, he's frequently photographed with the prime minister and Carrie out on campaign, and starred in his own photoshoot in their Downing Street gardens. 

They announced their engagement (and a baby) in early 2020

Although their relationship had its ups and downs in the media, Boris Johnson shared some happy personal news on February 29, 2020, when it was announced that he'd proposed to his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds (via NPR). Their spokesperson released an official engagement announcement that also included an extra surprise: They were expecting a baby. Symonds posted an update on Instagram as well, sharing, "Many of you already know but for my friends that still don't, we got engaged at the end of last year ... and we've got a baby hatching early summer."

While The Telegraph noted that Johnson would be the first prime minister in 200 years to marry while holding the office, their baby wouldn't be the first little one welcomed at Downing Street. Baby Johnson would become the third child born to a sitting prime minister, with Tony Blair and David Cameron both adding new babies to their families while in office, per the newspaper. Prior to those births, it had been 150 years since a prime minister's wife had a new baby, according to The Telegraph. 

Pregnant Carrie supported her husband while he was hospitalized with Covid-19

Shortly after Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds' engagement announcement, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the United Kingdom. Several prominent figures, like Prince Charles, became ill with the disease, and Johnson and Symonds joined the group when both were infected with Covid-19 symptoms in spring 2020. Johnson announced he'd tested positive for Covid on March 27, per NBC News. Symonds, who was pregnant with the couple's child, posted on Twitter on April 4 that she'd also been ill with Covid symptoms, although she wasn't officially tested. 

Although Symonds said in her tweet that she was recovering after resting for a week, unfortunately, Johnson's case took a turn for the worse, and he was hospitalized on April 5 (via NBC News). The prime minister was treated in an intensive care unit for three days, according to the media outlet, before being moved to a regular room. He eventually left the hospital on April 12, and spent additional time recovering at his country home, Chequers. Symonds, who said "there were times last week that were very dark indeed," turned to Twitter to give her thanks to the NHS for the care they gave her future husband, writing, "I will never, ever be able to repay you and I will never stop thanking you." 

Their first child, Wilfred, was born in April 2020

A baby joined Boris Johnson and Carrie Symond's family when she gave birth to a boy in April 2020 (via BBC News). Symonds shared in an Instagram post (via BBC News) that the baby was named Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson. The name Nicholas was chosen to honor two of the doctors who had treated Johnson during his Covid-19 hospitalization just weeks prior. Dr. Nick Price and Professor Nick Hart released a statement saying how they were "honored and humbled" by the decision to name the baby after them. Wilfred joined the couple's dog, Dilyn, at their No. 11 Downing Street home, per the media outlet. 

Boris Johnson is normally quiet about his family life, and had never even publicly admitted how many children he had, but we knew he had four grown-up kids from his second wife, along with a daughter conceived during an extramarital relationship (via the Guardian). Rumors had suggested he had even more children than this, but Johnson finally opened up about his family life in a September 2021 "Today" interview, telling host Savannah Guthrie he had six kids, including Wilfred. 

The couple had a secret wedding in May 2021

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds surprised the world in May 2021 when they announced they'd married in a secret wedding ceremony (via CNN). The couple wed in London's Westminster Cathedral, and released a photo taken in the garden of 10 Downing Street, featuring Carrie wearing a boho-style white lace gown and a white floral crown around her blond curls. Only a select group of family and friends attended, and the couple's spokesperson said they'd be having a larger wedding party in the summer of 2022. 

The marriage was number three for the prime minister, who was previously wed to Allegra Mostyn-Owen for six years before his 25-year marriage with Marina Wheeler. It was also a wedding for the history books, as it had been close to 200 years since a British prime minister married while in office, according to the Daily Mirror

Carrie revealed she had a miscarriage after Wilfred was born

The newly-married prime minister and his wife had some more exciting news to share in July 2021, but it was an announcement that was also mixed with sadness. Carrie Johnson shared that she and Boris Johnson were expecting another baby, but that she'd suffered a miscarriage before the new pregnancy (via the Daily Mail). Carrie posted on Instagram that she and Boris were "hoping for our rainbow baby this Christmas," per the newspaper, sharing a photo of a blue stroller ornament. A rainbow baby is the term used for a baby born following a pregnancy loss or stillbirth, per the Daily Mail. 

The prime minister's wife also shared a post on her Instagram (via the Daily Mirror) about the work of the charity Tommy's, which supports people dealing with the loss of a baby. In her post, she said she'd found it helpful to hear others' stories about their miscarriages, and was speaking out because of Baby Loss Awareness Week. After sharing the news, Carrie was praised by several organizations dealing with baby loss for talking about her very personal experience.

Carrie has encouraged Boris to champion animal welfare causes

Carrie Johnson has long been known to champion animal welfare causes, and was even named People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' "person of the year" in 2020 (via The Scotsman). She's been said to encourage her husband, Boris Johnson, to champion animal rights as well, and The Guardian reported that the prime minister's office had to deny a rumor that she tried to get Britain's environment secretary fired for his lack of interest in animal causes. In May 2021, the British government introduced an animal sentience bill and other protections that were widely suspected to have been influenced by Carrie, per the Daily Mail. The bill formally recognizes that animals can feel pain and emotions and will ensure that this is taken into account when making government policies. The Daily Mail reported that Carrie tweeted in 2017 about the topic, saying, "The Conservatives WILL make sure animal sentience is recognised in U.K. law." 

Carrie, who serves as patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Association, per The Scotsman, has campaigned for a variety of animal-related issues over the years, such as whaling and the ban of selling coconut products made by monkeys forced to pick the fruit. She also started working in communications for the Aspinall Foundation, a wildlife charity, in 2021, per the Daily Mirror. Of course, Carrie also shares a love for dogs with her husband, doting on their pup, Dilyn

The couple faced criticism for a party held during Covid-19 restrictions

In late 2021, Boris and Carrie Johnson faced a new test in their relationship when some allegations about prior Christmas parties came to light. Sources told the Daily Mirror that several festive parties were allegedly held at 10 Downing Street in 2020 while the rest of the United Kingdom was on strict lockdown, including multiple events in the Johnsons' flat. At the time, households were banned from mixing indoors for social purposes, per the Daily Mirror. Representatives for the couple denied the parties, but days later some damaging video footage was released (via the Daily Mail).

The prime minister's former press secretary Allegra Stratton was recorded rehearsing a question and answer session during which she was asked about a Downing Street Christmas party that had occurred that Friday (via the Daily Mail). Stratton looked flustered and laughed, saying that she went home before the event, and then called it a business meeting. Others sitting in the room joked about a wine and cheese party in the video shared on the Daily Mail website. The Guardian reported that the prime minister expressed his surprise at the video and continued to deny any parties had taken place. Boris and his wife received backlash for the alleged gatherings, both from other political leaders and the public, per The Guardian, with other politicians discussing families who couldn't visit dying loved ones while the Johnsons reportedly broke rules. 

Carrie and Boris welcomed a daughter on December 9, 2021

The Johnsons welcomed another child into their family in December 2021, when Carrie gave girth to a baby girl (via BBC News). The couple announced the happy news on December 9 via their spokesperson, sharing that Carrie had given birth to a little girl and that they were both well. The baby's arrival came during the midst of the Christmas party fallout for the couple, with the Sydney Morning Herald saying her birth gave Boris "a few days to regroup — something he must do if he is to survive the fallout from the yuletide festivities scandal."

Their new baby joined big brother Wilfred, who was seen visiting the hospital with Carrie's friend and Home Office adviser Nimco Ali after the birth (via the Daily Mail). The prime minister also stopped by the hospital to visit his wife and new baby, carrying a cheerful pink gift bag featuring an elephant and balloons, per the Daily Mail. The couple returned home to Downing Street with their daughter on December 13, but as of the timing of this article, the new baby's name has not yet been announced.