What You Don't Know About Sarah Palin

You likely know Sarah Palin as the former governor of Alaska who shot to political superstardom seemingly overnight when she was named John McCain's vice presidential nominee during the 2008 presidential race. While many questioned the choice, especially as Palin herself was open about her own lack of knowledge and experience with international relations, she insisted that the job was one she could handle. After their defeat in the election, Palin went back to Alaska to continue serving as governor of the state.

Since then, Palin has weathered some extreme ups and downs (via ABC News). However, she remains optimistic. "You see a lotta silver lining here, don't you?" Palin remarked to CBS News in 2015. "You see, you know, there's clouds but, man, there's light comin' through the clouds all the time. And I have an illustration every day here in Alaska of beauty in more ways than one. I look around and I get to see the beauty of God's creation and, man, it makes me appreciate it."

While Palin is certainly a polarizing political figure, one thing is for sure: The backbone that helped her become the first female governor of Alaska has continued to serve her throughout the years. 

Sarah Palin resigned as governor of Alaska after only three years

Sarah Palin was the youngest person to serve as governor of Alaska when she was elected in 2006, but she actually only ended up serving three years of her planned four-year term. Palin had joined John McCain's ultimately unsuccessful presidential team as his nominee for vice president of the United States ahead of the 2008 election, resuming her gubernatorial post after the pair lost to President Barack Obama.

However, as The Guardian reported at the time, she announced her resignation in June 2009, which led many to believe Palin might have been planning to launch her own presidential run in 2012. Palin herself fanned the flames of speculation when she explained her resignation with a quote from American military leader Douglas MacArthur: "We are not retreating, we are advancing in another direction."

Despite the popularity Palin enjoyed in some circles while serving as a VP candidate, not everyone agreed that resigning was the right move. Former Republican strategist Ed Rollins commented, "She was a shooting star who dimmed in recent months and now she's crashed" (per The Guardian).

Sarah Palin had her own reality show on TLC

Politics isn't the only game that Sarah Palin has been interested in. Back in 2010, she starred in her very own reality series titled "Sarah Palin's Alaska." The series, which aired on TLC for one season, was set to offer up an inside look at the life of one of the most divisive political figures in recent American history. 

While speaking to ABC News, Palin made it clear that she didn't appreciate the term "reality television" being applied to her own show, despite the fact that it definitely televised the reality of her life. As she protested, "This is not Housewives of Alaska. This is about the uniqueness of Alaska, the special place it is, and showing the rest of America why we are here and what we have to offer."

Unfortunately for Palin's television ambitions, though, she was up against a lot of negative public perception when the show debuted. Political reporter Stuart Rothenberg was blunt when he told ABC News, "She doesn't do many things to demonstrate depth, seriousness and substance. She's not going that route with this TV show."

Sarah Palin was intimidated by her fifth pregnancy

In 2007, Sarah Palin announced that she and then-husband Todd Palin were expecting their fifth child together. She was 43 years old at the time, and she later recounted to ABC News that when realized she was expecting another baby, she initially experienced a brief wave of hesitation that helped her understand how women in similar circumstances feel. As she said, "For a fleeting thought, I knew what women go through when they're facing what they believe at the time are less than ideal circumstances." 

Palin didn't debate whether or not she would give birth to the baby, but she did worry that her age might make parenting more complicated. She explained, "What I did think for that split second was, Gee, now, of all times? And yeah, I'm no spring chicken."

Palin also revealed to ABC News that she and Todd didn't tell their older children about the pregnancy immediately. Their son, Trig, was born several weeks early, and Palin had still not fully given the news to the rest of the family. Ultimately, though, everyone celebrated the arrival of the youngest Palin, with his sister Willow explaining, "He's the center of our world."

Sarah Palin ran for vice president even though she lacked experience in foreign affairs

When John McCain announced that Sarah Palin would serve as his running mate in the 2008 election, many people were skeptical that Palin really had the knowledge and skillset to do the job. After all, she had only just begun a term as the governor of Alaska, and she wasn't well-known to many people outside the state. It wasn't too surprising that journalists covering the presidential race had a lot of questions for Palin, and that some of them were especially hard-hitting.

In September 2008, ABC News host and anchor Charlie Gibson interviewed Palin about her qualifications for the office of vice president. After being asked if she felt certain she had the necessary experience, Palin replied, "I do, Charlie, and on January 20, when John McCain and I are sworn in, if we are so privileged to be elected to serve this country, will be ready. I'm ready."

However, Palin also admitted to having little experience traveling outside the United States, and further added that she had not yet met a head of state from another country. Nevertheless, Palin was firm in her response, adding, "I have not and I think if you go back in history and if you ask that question of many vice presidents, they may have the same answer that I just gave you" (via ABC News).

Sarah Palin helped her son cope with PTSD

Sarah Palin's son Track served in the military and is a veteran of the war in Iraq that lasted from 2003 to 2011. When he was arrested in 2016 on charges of domestic violence, Palin cited his time in Iraq as a major contributing factor to his PTSD, which she suggested could be what triggered the episode of domestic violence in the first place. Per USA Today, Track was charged with three offenses: "domestic violence assault, interfering with a report of domestic violence crime and possession of a firearm while intoxicated."

Palin appeared to allude to her son's arrest when she appeared on behalf of 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump in Iowa that same year, according to USA Today. She said, "When my own son is going through what he goes though coming back, I can certainly relate to other families who feel these ramifications of PTSD. ... And it makes me realize more than ever it is now or never for the sake of America's finest that we have a commander-in-chief who will respect them."

Sarah Palin was once tricked by Sacha Baron Cohen

In December 2018, comedian and performer Sacha Baron Cohen managed to fool a whole host of celebrities and politicians as he filmed "Who Is America?" for Showtime. Cohen played a character named Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., Ph.D., who was interviewing notorious people as part of a project for his supposed website Truthbrary.org. 

The interview between Palin and Cohen did not make it into "Who Is America?" but the former governor was thanked in the credits as "Special Publicity Consultant (Inadvertent)," reported The Daily Beast. Cohen later told Deadline why he didn't include the footage. As he put it, "I looked at the footage and it just wasn't funny enough. For the pieces to be good, there has to be a good comic dynamic. She was just delivering these kind of rote answers, as if she was doing a campaign speech."

Ultimately, Cohen did end up extending an invitation to Palin to attend the Golden Globes as his date when he was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV series Musical or Comedy for "Who Is America?" but it appears that she declined (per Deadline).

Sarah Palin found out her husband wanted a divorce through email

Sarah Palin and her ex-husband Todd Palin announced their intention to divorce in the fall of 2019. While Sarah didn't immediately speak openly about the sudden change, she later revealed that she and Todd had been pursuing counseling. She found out — via email — that he wanted a divorce. While speaking with James Dobson, founder of the Family Talk Christian ministry, she explained exactly what happened (via Entertainment Tonight).

It turns out that Sarah got an email from Todd's lawyer about three months before her ex-husband officially filed for divorce in September 2019. Todd's official reasons for divorce were "incompatibility of temperament," adding that "they find it impossible to live together as husband and wife" (via NBC News). The pair had been married for 31 years at the time of the filing, and Todd filed the paperwork only six days after their anniversary. 

Sarah Palin has moved on after her divorce and found new love

Sarah Palin might have been surprised when she found out her then-husband wanted to get divorced, but she eventually moved on and has even begun dating again. Having said that, it clearly took Palin some time to arrive at that place. In an April 2022 interview with the New York Post, Palin was very open and honest about how she felt about her divorce, explaining, "It was the most earth-shattering, bizarre thing I could have ever imagined and it kind of remains so."

Palin went on to admit that she wasn't very interested in dating following her divorce until she connected with former New York Ranger Ron Duguay, with whom she says she has an authentic connection that surprised her. As Palin put it, "Ron is the first person that I've ever even talked to about a lot of this personal stuff. So it's been helpful and refreshing to have Ron to talk to about not just politics ... but just about life." The two spent a lot of time in New York, with Palin sharing that Duguay took her on a tour of the city, even showing her various points of interest from his years as a Ranger.

Sarah Palin entered the race for the Alaska House of Representatives

In April 2022, Sarah Palin announced her plans to run for the Alaska state House of Representatives. Palin shared a statement on Twitter, explaining in part, "I'm in this race to win it and join the fight for freedom alongside other patriots willing to sacrifice all to save our country." Those are big words, and The Guardian was quick to point out that Palin might be up against more than she anticipated after making this decision.

The outlet noted that a gentleman who legitimately goes by the name Santa Claus is also running for the same seat. As a supporter of Bernie Sanders, Claus is running on an entirely different platform than Palin. However, he's been open to trying to get along with his opponent, explaining, "As a candidate, as a legislator, I tend to look for common ground. There are people I disagree with and people who disagree with me. But there's always common ground."

That might not be all Palin has to worry about. While speaking to Republican voters in Alaska, one person told NPR that Palin's vice presidential run will probably work against her during the House election, saying, "She's moved into a different circle. She was a vice presidential candidate. Yeah, I don't think that the people here — we don't take her very seriously."