The Untold Truth Of Matt Gaetz

The following article includes allegations of sexual abuse.

You may have been hearing a lot about a certain Republican congressman from Florida, Matt Gaetz, as he's often found himself the news for some, well, not so great reasons. At the time of this writing, the lawmaker is under ongoing federal investigation in regard to some pretty serious allegations, including sex-trafficking of a minor, according to The New York Times. Gaetz has denied these claims, calling them "verifiably false" and alleging on Twitter in March 2021 that it was an attempt to "thwart" another investigation into his family being "victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear [his] name."

Naturally, an alleged scandal of this nature has people wondering if there's anything else they should know about the congressman. Before these allegations came up, he was best known to political-types as one of former President Donald Trump's staunchest — and loudest — allies, according to CNN. In addition to publicly supporting Trump's bid to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and repeating the disproven conspiracy theory that there was rampant voter fraud (via Newsweek), Gaetz also launched his own podcast, "Firebrand," in August 2021, which has billed itself as a "behind-the-scenes look into the Swamp of Washington without the spin of Fake News and Deep State influence."

Basically? It doesn't look like the controversial politician is going to be out of the spotlight anytime soon, so let's get to know him better. This is the untold truth of Matt Gaetz.

Matt Gaetz has been in politics for a long time

While he first gained national attention in the Trump era, Congressman Matt Gaetz had actually been in politics for years before The Donald took over the Oval Office. Not only that, but politics actually runs in his blood. 

Gaetz was only a couple years out of law school when he won his first election as a member of the Florida State House in 2010. He kept this spot until 2016, when he decided to run for Congress. According to an anonymous former aide, who spoke with CNN, "He really jumped on the Trump train and rode it all the way to the end." Gaetz, of course, won his seat in the House of Representatives, which is where we still find him, as of this writing.

But politics has been a part of Gaetz's story for longer than that. In fact, you could say his political career was already laid out for him by his dad, Don Gaetz, who was a well-known political "firebrand" in the state of Florida himself. Per Politico, back in the Sunshine State, Matt is referred to as "Baby Gaetz," while his father Don, a former state senator, is known as "Papa Gaetz." In fact, as the outlet notes, when Matt "was elected in the Florida House" in 2010, it "mark[ed] the first time in state history that a father and son were both in the Legislature at the same time."

His net worth is a lot bigger than you might think

With such a high-profile political family, it's not exactly a huge shocker that Matt Gaetz comes from a wealthy background. According to a Forbes estimate, Gaetz — along with mom and dad, Victoria and Don — together have a net worth of around $30 million. Um, wow. While the 2021 article also noted that Gaetz himself has reported "just $235,000 to $625,000 on his most recent Congressional disclosure form," Celebrity Net Worth estimates he's got around $700,000 to his name. Not too shabby. Meanwhile, his parents happen to be in the tippity top of the 1 percent wealthiest people in the country: Their reported net worth is a cool $29.6 million.

The source of all this familial wealth is reportedly in a bunch of stocks, a few privately-held businesses, and some cash — but mostly real estate. "In total, [Don Gatez] claims that his properties, including six coastal homes on Florida's panhandle, an apartment in New York City, lots in four states and his stake in a Pensacola office building, are worth $14.6 million based on 'realtor estimates,'" Forbes reported.

For scale, that's below billionaire Rihanna, but above basically everyone else.

This congressman grew up in The Truman Show house

Speaking of real estate — and Matt Gaetz's upbringing — one particularly fun fact about the Florida congressman is that he once lived in "The Truman Show" house when he was a kid. As in, the white-picket-fenced home they used to shoot the 1998 movie about an unwitting reality star starring Jim Carrey. Gaetz, who was 10 when his family moved into the home and would have been around 15 years old at the time of filming, casually revealed this interesting bit of trivia when he was featured in the 2020 HBO documentary, "The Swamp." But he further expanded on the experience of growing up in that famous house in a Vanity Fair profile: "I know that all the world's a stage, especially when we all have cameras with phones."

"The Truman Show" house and Gaetz family home is located in Seaside, a small, conservative beach town in Florida. With its iconic facade (plus the fact that the Gaetzes have a sign that says "The Truman Show House" outside the gate), the house has become something of a tourist destination, per 30A. We're not sure what it would be like to grow up with people constantly taking pictures of themselves outside of your home, but one writer for Decider, at least, thinks it "explains" a few things about Gaetz's personality and the common Fox News figure's "strange brand of attention-seeking ambition."

Matt Gaetz has seen his fair share of controversies

If you know anything about Matt Gaetz, you probably realize that he's not afraid of stirring controversy in politics. For example, he's spoken out against the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision, which made it illegal for states to ban same-sex marriage in 2015 — a ruling that would continue to reach record-high support across the U.S. "It's a threat to our democracy when the Supreme Court becomes an activist on these issues," Gaetz told the Panama City News Herald. "It reflects a growing trend of judicial activism."

Meanwhile, his penchant for unpopular opinions goes for both his voting record and public persona — which includes being the only person to vote against a 2017 anti-human trafficking bill, voting against the Equality Act in 2019, which guarantees equal rights to LGBTQ+ people, and voting against certifying the 2020 election results and twice against Donald Trump's impeachment (including following the Capitol insurrection). In 2021, he drew criticism after voting against a bill banning revenge porn. One law professor blasted Gaetz's years-long history of opposing the latter issue in Florida on Twitter after he "claimed to be on the 'right side'" of it. A former colleague alleged to the Orlando Sentinel, "He thought that any picture was his to use as he wanted to," while the Florida Trend referred to Gaetz's "often-condescending manner" when making arguments the state legislature.

Indeed, according to NBC News, Gaetz and his controversial positions aren't very popular among his peers: "Despite his high profile among the conservative grassroots, Gaetz has few friends on Capitol Hill."

He's also been embroiled in various ethics scandals

Matt Gaetz has caught quite a bit of heat regarding various alleged ethics violations probes and scandals. In 2019, for example, he landed himself in hot water after a since-deleted tweet directed at Michael Cohen was viewed as a threat ahead of Donald Trump's former lawyer's congressional testimony against the then-POTUS. "Do you wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she'll remain faithful when you're in prison. She's about to learn a lot," Gaetz wrote, per CBS News, but later apologized amid an investigation for alleged "witness intimidation or tampering."

The following year, Politico reported that Gaetz had allegedly "spent nearly $200,000 in taxpayer funds renting an office from a longtime friend, adviser, campaign donor and legal client" named Collier Merrill, which is against House rules. Per Politico, the congressman has been accused of multiple other spending violations, including "improperly sen[ding] tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to a limited liability company linked to a speech-writing consultant who was ousted from the Trump administration." Gaetz denied breaking House rules following both reports.

Also in 2020, Gaetz's former Florida State House colleague, Chris Latvala, publicly accused him on Twitter of having "created a game where members of the FL House got 'points' for sleeping with aides, interns, lobbyists and married legislators." Gaetz denied this, but tweeted back in response, "Just because I own you on twitter, don't confuse me for your daddy when it comes to abusing power for sex."

Matt Gaetz and his secret 'son'

Matt Gaetz baffled everyone in the summer of 2020 when he suddenly referenced his non-white son during a heated congressional debate about race and police reform with democrat Cedric Richmond. Gaetz had never mentioned having a son before, and People confirmed that his office had stated that the politician didn't have children. So, what exactly did the Florida rep. mean?

Gaetz soon revealed on Twitter that he was referring to his ex-girlfriend's then-19-year-old brother, Nestor Galban, who'd immigrated from Cuba six years prior. Though he never adopted the boy, Gaetz told People, "Our relationship as a family is defined by our love for each other, not by any paperwork." He continued to say that Nestor "is my son in every conceivable way, and I can't imagine loving him any more if he was my own flesh and blood." Gaetz further explained the situation in a bit more detail on his podcast, "Firebrand" (via The U.S. Sun), noting that Nestor's biological mother died suddenly when he was 12 years old, and he then moved from Cuba to the United States to live with his sister, Gaetz's girlfriend at the time. Nestor then lived with Gaetz for four years, before moving in with his biological father. "I sort of feel like a single step-parent at times," Gaetz said.

For his part, Nestor told People, "Matt is not my biological father, but he raised me as his own son when I came from Cuba after my mother's death."

Meet Ginger Luckey, Matt Gaetz's wife

While Matt Gaetz may have a lot of political enemies, he also has at least one cheerleader on his side — namely, his wife, Ginger Luckey. The couple got engaged in late December 2020, according to the New York Post, after dating for less than a year. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Luckey revealed that when Gaetz did pop the question, she'd been expecting it for a while. "It was actually, 'Duh,'" she said of her response. "It didn't come as a surprise." The duo eloped in an intimate ceremony held on Catalina Island in August 2021, per Vanity Fair.

It's not all rainbows and kittens for Gaetz and his new in-laws, however. Ginger's sister, Roxanne Luckey, called the politician "weird and creepy" and a "literal pedophile" in a series of TikTok videos that July, admitting she "wasn't surprised" by the sex trafficking allegations against him. Claiming that Gaetz tried to set her up with a much older man when she was only 19, Roxanne also accused him of "gaslighting" her when she confronted him about this, adding, "As someone who has personally experienced [a] ton of creepy old politician men hitting on me when I was underage, and experiencing sexual assault at that age by people of power, it's just very disheartening, and I have zero tolerance for people like him."

For her part, Ginger claimed to the Daily Beast that Roxanne's allegations against her man were untrue, alleging that her sister "had a history of 'destructive behavior.'"

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Matt Gaetz also wants to #FreeBritney

People in the United States may be deeply polarized about most issues, but there is one thing pretty much everyone can agree on — the #FreeBritney movement. This, evidently, includes Matt Gaetz. For context, the pop princess' father, Jamie Spears, was named her conservator back in 2008 and was granted control over her finances, as well as aspects of her personal and professional life, according to the Los Angeles Times. Fast forward to June 2021, per Variety, when Britney made serious allegations of conservatorship abuse against her dad and told a judge, "I just want my life back."

For his part, Gaetz joined progressive lawmakers like Senator Elizabeth Warren in calling for new legislation that would protect people like Spears from conservatorship abuse. He also jumped all the way into the #FreeBritney movement. At a July rally, the politician referred to Spears' father as a "d**k," and said that "at nearly 40 years old," Britney was capable of "mak[ing] her own decisions" (via Variety). "She's been abused by the media. She's been abused by her grifter father. And she has been abused by the American justice system," Gaetz added. "And so we need to come together and create a federal cause of action — a federal change in the law that will free Britney and the millions of Americans [also under conservatorships]." 

No matter how you feel about Matt Gaetz, it's hard to argue with that. Luckily, Spears nabbed a major win that August, when her father agreed to step down as her conservator.