Huma Abedin is an American political staffer who is popular for being a close aide to American politician and diplomat Hillary Clinton. After serving as Deputy Chief of Staff to Clinton when she was U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, Abedin became the Vice Chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for President of the United States. Her personal life came under public scrutiny in 2011 due to her husband and former congressman Anthony Weiner’s Sexting Scandal.
Huma Mahmood Abedin was born on 28 July 1975 (age 47 years; as of 2022) in Kalamazoo, Michigan, US. When Huma was 2, her parents moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where they were offered jobs at the university. Growing up in Jeddah, she did her schooling at a British girls’ school. She spent her childhood travelling around the world. In an interview, she talked about the same and said,
I learned so much about the world by traveling. One of the greatest gifts my parents gave us were going on trips every summer when they were not working. We traveled through Europe, Asia and the Middle East. If my parents were attending a conference somewhere, they would take us along.”
She attended George Washington University in Washington DC, where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts. She applied to be a White House intern while still at college and secured a permanent position even before she graduated.
Height (approx.): 5′ 5″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Abedin is the daughter of an Indian-born father, Sayed Zainul Abedin, and a Pakistani mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin, whose family moved from India to Pakistan after the partition in 1947. Abedin’s parents emigrated to the US separately on academic scholarships before meeting and starting their family in Michigan. Both of them were interested in Islamic affairs and received their PhDs from the University of Pennsylvania, US. In 1993, when Abedin was 17, her father died from progressive renal failure. Following Sayed Zainul Abedin’s death, Saleha became the president of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs in Britain, which was established by Sayed in 1978. Saleha Mahmood Abedin later became the vice president of Dar Al-Hekma University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Her brother, Hassan Abedin, held the position of development officer Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. Her sister, Heba Abedin, is a fashion stylist in New York.
Husband & Children
On 10 July 2010, Huma Abedin got married to the former American politician Anthony Weiner at the fairytale-like Oheka Castle in Long Island, New York, in a garden ceremony.
Together, they have a son, Jordan Zain Weiner (born in 2011).
Anthony Weiner’s Sexting Scandal
On 27 May 2011, Huma Abedin’s husband, Anthony Weiner, used his public Twitter account to send a link to a woman who was following him on Twitter. The link contained a sexually explicit photograph of himself. After the second sexting scandal in July 2013, the New York Post reported that Weiner had sexted another woman in August 2016 following which Huma Abedin announced her intention to separate from Weiner. The scandalous behaviour had been a subject of years of tabloid mockery and humiliation since Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011. The revelations also destroyed his 2013 mayoral campaign. The online indiscretions included an image of Weiner’s crotch as he laid next to his 4-year-old son. While announcing the separation, she said,
After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband. Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life. During this difficult time, I ask for respect for our privacy.”
In 2017, Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in prison for transferring obscene material to a teenage girl.
In August 2001, at a Democratic National Committee retreat on Martha’s Vineyard, Anthony Weiner first asked Huma Abedin if she wanted to go out for drinks. Over the next six years, they kept running into each other at regular intervals at political events. The relationship turned romantic in 2008, during Clinton’s presidential campaign. In her book, she revealed that growing up in a conservative Muslim family, she was expected to lose her virginity only to her husband. Therefore, Anthony Weiner, who, ironically, was later described as a sex addict in the media, didn’t even kiss Huma until a year into their relationship. During their long-term relationship, Weiner gave up alcohol and pork and fasted during Ramadan alongside her Muslim girlfriend. He proposed to her in 2009. In her book, Abedin revealed that she had barely dated anyone before Weiner, and he was her “first and only.” In her book, she wrote,
It was a real journey for me to get to a place where I could allow myself to marry someone outside my faith. But he was my first love, and my greatest soulmate …”
In July 2022, Page Six reported that Oscar-winning American actor Bradley Cooper and Huma Abedin had been dating secretly for months. Reportedly, they were introduced by Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who is close with both of them.
She is a devout Muslim, meanwhile, her ex-husband, Anthony Weiner, was an American Jew.
In 1996, she first joined The White House during the Presidency of Bill Clinton during which she was assigned to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s office. For several years, she served as Clinton’s personal aide in the shadows. However, in 2000, she officially took over as Clinton’s aide and personal advisor during Clinton’s 2000 U.S. Senate campaign in New York. The successful campaign led Abedin to work in the Senate as Senior Advisor to Senator Hillary Clinton.
From 1996 to 2008, she was an assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. Abedin became travelling Chief of Staff for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. In 2009, Abedin was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff to Clinton in the United States Department of State. After returning from maternity leave in June 2012, she left her position as Deputy Chief of Staff and became a special government employee, i.e., a consultant. Hillary Clinton created an arrangement for her longtime aide and confidante Huma Abedin to work for private clients as a consultant while simultaneously serving as an adviser in the department. While continuing her work at the State Department, in the latter half of 2012, Abedin worked for Teneo, a strategic consulting firm. At the same time, Abedin served as a consultant at the Clinton Foundation. After leaving her post at the State Department in 2013, Abedin served as director of the transition team that helped Hillary Clinton return to her private life. Abedin served as vice-chairperson for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for president while continuing to serve as a personal assistant to Clinton.
Kiss from an unnamed US senator
In her biographical book, Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds, she claimed that was sexually assaulted by a US senator. She wrote that she had buried her memory of the incident until allegations against supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh triggered her memory in 2018. Abedin did not name the senator or his party or give any clues as to his identity. Abedin wrote that when she pushed the senator away he seemed surprised and apologized saying that he had misread her intentions. When interviewer, Norah O’Donnell, asked:
Are you suggesting that senator assaulted you?”
But in my own personal opinion, no, did I feel like he was assaulting me in that moment? I didn’t, it didn’t feel that way. It felt like I needed to extricate myself from the situation. And he also spent a lot of time apologising and making sure I was OK and we were actually able to rebalance our relationship.”
Possible Terrorist Infiltration
Abedin was in the spotlight when five Republican members of Congress, including former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, wrote a letter in June 2012, saying Abedin should be investigated for possible terrorist “infiltration” of the state department. The letter read,
Abedin has three family members – her late father, her mother and her brother – connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organisations.”
Alleging that Abedin had immediate family connections to foreign extremist organizations the Congressmen questioned why Abedin had not been disqualified for a security clearance. Senator John McCain dismissed the allegations and gave a speech to the Senate defending her and said,
Huma represents what is best about America … I am proud to call her my friend.”
More Republicans, including Lindsey Graham and the then-House Speaker John Boehner, spoke up for her, and the scandal faded.
Employment records and emails
In October 2015, Judicial Watch appealed federal court in Washington, D.C., requesting details of the arrangement under which Abedin was designated a special government employee, allowing her to also perform outside consulting work while on the federal payroll. Thereafter, emails by Abedin became a Hillary Clinton Email Controversy, according to which Clinton had used personal email accounts on a non-government, privately maintained server exclusively instead of email accounts maintained on federal government servers to conduct official business during her tenure as secretary of state. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by Judicial Watch led to the release of 2,800 e-mails from Huma Abedin that were found on the laptop computer of Anthony Weiner, Abedin’s estranged husband. Some officials within the intelligence community have stated that potentially classified information was contained in e-mails from Abedin relating to the 2012 Benghazi attack and its aftermath.
She earned approximately $135,000 from the State Department in 2012.
- Inspired by Christiane Amanpour, Huma wanted to be a journalist since childhood. Hence, when Abedin made her way as an intern to the White House in 1996, she hoped to be placed in the press office. However, she was assigned to First Lady Hillary Clinton’s office.
- She gained immense popularity for maintaining an improbable level of chic during Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign due to her elegant wardrobe, penchant for designer handbags, and purchasing of an apartment in an upscale Washington DC neighbourhood. Abedin first came across her husband’s infidelity when she found a flirty email from a stranger on Weiner’s phone not long before their wedding. However, she readily accepted his explanation and excuses.
- She is often referred to as Clinton’s surrogate daughter, Clinton’s body woman, and Clinton’s second shadow by various media houses.
- On her wedding day, Abedin wore her Pakistani grandmother’s heirloom necklace and a custom-designed ravishing east-west fusion gown using a burnt gold palette by Oscar de la Renta.
- In 2021, she authored the book Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds.
- A devout Muslim, Huma Abedin does not drink alcohol.
- In 2010, Time magazine listed Huma Abedin in its “40 under-40s” list, describing her as Hillary’s second shadow. Her style statement led her to feature as a model on the cover pages of numerous notable magazines. Abedin was also a featured model for US Vogue in 2007.
- In 2013, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, raised questions about Abedin’s work as a State Department employee, concerning the fact that she held four jobs which included working as a part-time aide to Clinton at the State Department, Clinton’s personal assistant, and consultant at Teneo Holdings and Clinton Foundation. In July 2015, Grassley released information showcasing that the State Department’s inspector general had discovered that Abedin had violated the rules governing vacation and sick leave during her tenure on the payroll as a Federal employee in the department as she was overpaid by almost $10,000 for unused leave time when she left the government. Her lawyer, Miguel Rodriguez, contested the findings, stating that Abedin was working while she was on maternity leave and thus had earned the extra pay.
- She can fluently speak English, Urdu, and Arabic.
- In 2016, she appeared in the American fly-on-the-wall political documentary film ‘Weiner,’ which centred around Anthony Weiner’s campaign for Mayor of New York City during the 2013 mayoral election.
- In July 2022, Indian actress Freida Pinto announced she would be developing and starring in a TV series based upon Abedin’s memoir, Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds (2021). It was also announced that Abedin will be an executive producer of the show along with Emily Verellen.
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