The Truth About Gavin Newsom's Marriage

Gavin Newsom's had his fair share of detractors over the years. However, when he ran for governor in 2018, he was pegged as the one to watch. Newsom had been Governor Jerry Brown's lieutenant for two terms, so he already knew the terrain, per KPCC.org.

"California was built on dreams and perseverance, and the bolder path is still our way forward," Brown said during his final State of the State address (via CA.gov). Luckily, Newsom's always chosen the bolder path. During his tenure as Mayor of San Francisco, he was a staunch supporter of LGBTQ rights and same-sex marriage. As per the Los Angeles Times, when Newsom began issuing licenses permitting gay couples to wed in 2004, he was said to have committed "political suicide." But he's stuck fast, time and time again – even when facing a recall election.

Newsom fought tirelessly against the passage of Prop 8, which sought to ban same-sex marriage in California. Despite it initially passing, the Supreme Court ultimately overturned the amendment after determining it unconstitutional, per The Washington Post. Given his history, the politician clearly takes matrimony, regardless of the couples' sexuality, very seriously. When Newsom was sworn in as the 40th Governor of California on January 7, 2019, his wife was front and center. So what about his own wedded bliss? Dust off your very best dress, or button up your tux — we're going to the chapel, and we're going to find out the truth about Gavin Newsom's marriage.

Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel hit it off

When Gavin Newsom met Jennifer Siebel, the sparks immediately flew. According to San Francisco Chronicle, a mutual friend played matchmaker, setting them up on a blind date in 2006. Even though Newsom was fresh off a divorce from his first wife, it was pretty much love at first sight.

Siebel was an actor who'd appeared in "Mad Men," "Numb3rs," and a slew of movies. Newsom was an up-and-coming democratic powerhouse — having become mayor of San Francisco in 1994. He was also a self-made millionaire "with an upscale chain of wine stores, wineries, restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, and retail shops," as noted in the Los Angeles Times. Despite his high profile, Siebel told The San Francisco Chronicle that she didn't know much about Newsom when they first met, aside from him being "a politician with aspirations."

However, they hit it off instantly. "We had so much in common; we were blown away — from our love for Africa to our interests in political issues to art and the wine business and college sports," she said in the Chronicle. "I actually think they were made for one another," elite event planner Stanlee Gatti mused. "You know the kind of thing where people finish each other's sentences? They do. Yet they're respectful of each other. They're pretty in sync with the way they feel about some things."

Their families hold different political views

Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel make for the perfect political pairing — glamorous, supportive, and seemingly always on the same wavelength. But, although they now share the same values and ideals, it hasn't always been that way. The couple's childhoods and upbringing were poles apart, despite some initial similarities.

Newsom's father, William Newsom, was a state appeals court judge and administrator of the Getty trust. As per the Los Angeles Times, William was a staunch Democrat who had grown up with the Gettys, courtesy of his close friendship with high school classmate Gordon Getty. William married Tessa Menzies in 1966, and they had two children, Gavin and Hilary. However, according to Elle, the siblings' lives changed dramatically following their parents' split when Gavin was still a toddler. Tessa was now a single mom raising her kids alone, in a small apartment. Due to William's reluctance to financially support his former family, she had to work multiple jobs while studying for her realtor's license.

Meanwhile, as noted in Marin, Siebel grew up in the tony Bay Area suburb of Ross. She attended prep school and studied at Stanford. Her father earned a fortune as an investment manager. Per the AP, he was a devout Republican and ardent believer in "Reaganomics" — as were all of the family. Siegel eventually formed her own political ideology, however. And, in 2008 she switched from being a registered Republican to a member of the American Independent Party, per SFGate.

The ex factor

When Gavin Newsom walked down the aisle with Jennifer Siebel, it wasn't his first time at the wedding rodeo. The politician was previously married to Kimberly Guilfoyle — yes, as in that Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.'s latest squeeze. Newsom and Guilfoyle said "I do" in 2001, in what SFGate called, "A royal wedding. Social event of the year." Guilfoyle was an assistant D.A. and Newsom was a city supervisor, so they made for a high profile pairing. "Forget 'Kennedyesque.' I think we need a new word — Newsomly," the outlet wrote.

Guilfoyle quit her prosecutor role to join her husband's campaign team as he ran for mayor. She moved from the courtroom to the camera following his win, starting as an on-air legal analyst, before landing a gig with Fox News. However, San Francisco's new "First Lady" soon moved to New York in order to further her career, and by 2006 the couple was divorced. Newsom was suddenly the hottest bachelor in town, and he made the most of it, dating actor Sofia Milos for a spell, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Meanwhile, Siebel lived it up in Los Angeles as she built her acting career. Back in her Hollywood days, Siebel hooked up with "Dr. Swoony" — AKA George Clooney. The actors saw each for a brief period in 2002 — so brief that Clooney admitted they dated but told Esquire, "We went out for a minute."

Scandal didn't scare off Jennifer Siebel

When news broke of Gavin Newsom's affair with a former staffer, Ruby Rippey Gibney, the wife of his deputy chief of staff, Alex Tourk, Jennifer Siebel stuck by his side — even though they'd only been dating for a few months. The affair, which occurred during Newsom's breakup with Kimberly Guilfoyle, spelled the end of Rippey Gibney's marriage, but she did not place blame on her former boss. "Yes, I was a subordinate, but I was also a free-thinking, 33-yr old adult married woman & mother." she wrote on Facebook (via Los Angeles Times).

"Sometimes people make mistakes in their lives, and you then work hard never to make them again because you learn from them," Newsom later told The Sacramento Bee about the affair. "I've never made them again, and I've learned from it, and it led ultimately to falling in love with Jen."

Siebel continued to stand by her man after he opened up about his alcohol use. Rumors about Newsom's drinking had been floating around for some time, and he publicly addressed them after news of the affair broke. "I have come to the conclusion that I will be a better person without alcohol in my life," he said in a statement (via The Sacramento Bee), announcing he'd be getting help for his "problems with [drinking]." Newsom shot down media reports that he'd entered rehab, though. "There was no treatment, no nothing related to any of that stuff," he told the Bee. "I stopped because I thought it was a good thing to stop."

Did Jennifer Sieblel put protection before principles?

Jennifer Siebel is a proud feminist and staunch supporter of the #MeToo movement. "[The media is] communicating to us that a woman's value is limited and that her value lies in her youth, her beauty and her sexuality," Siebel once told Feminism.com. "You and I know that's not true."

However, when it comes to defending her man, Siebel seemingly puts protection before principles. As Gavin Newsom's sex scandal raged on, she broke the cardinal rule of the sisterhood by placing all of the blame firmly on Ruby Rippey Gibney. "If people did research into the scandal ... the woman is the culprit," Siebel said in The San Francisco Chronicle. "Alex Tourk is a nice man and it saddens me that his wife did that to him."

Not surprisingly, the comments resulted in a media backlash. "Oh, poor victimized Gavin, helplessly seduced by a woman suffering from a potentially-deadly substance abuse problem and whose paychecks he signed!" SFist wrote. "And sweet, sweet (and exhausted-toned) Jennifer, so exhaustedly willing to forgive her publicity magnet because, you know, other women: they're the competition." Siebel later apologized for her comments. "I am deeply sorry that I have made some public statements in the past few days that have hurt Alex and Ruby Tourk and everyone else involved in this issue," she told The San Francisco Chronicle. "This is a very painful situation for everyone involved, and in my case, it led to an expression of frustration that I profoundly regret."

Gavin Newsom put a ring on it

After having weathered a sex scandal storm during the start of their relationship, Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel decided to take it to the next level in December 2007. Newsom popped the question during the holidays, after 14 months of dating. As per The San Francisco Chronicle, the couple was vacationing in Hawaii when he asked for Siebel's hand in marriage. In a nod to old-fashioned family values, Newsom asked Siebel's father for his permission before proposing.

According to WalkUpLawOffice's blog, Newsom reportedly took his sister along when he picked out a Tiffany sparkler on December 23. A source told the attorneys it was "about 3 carats and cost a bit over $100,000." The jewelers and Newsom's camp kept schtum about the details, but a Tiffany rep confirmed a ring that size would cost between $61,500 and $133,000.

As soon as news of the engagement broke, it immediately sparkled, er, sparked controversy — because in the world of politicking, everything is a potential controversy. SFist reports that a potential scandal brewed over Siebel's ring following speculation that it was a "blood diamond." However, the so-called political "scandal" was so not scandalous that it wouldn't have even deemed a mention on "House of Cards," let alone an entire episode. A report by Global Witness (via CommonDreams.org) found that Tiffanys has a "policy and system of warranties to ensure that they did not sell conflict diamonds."

Jennifer Siebel and Gavin Newsom's 'magical' wedding

Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel married in July 2008. As SFgate reported at the time, they wed at her father's ranch in Stevensville, Montana, in front of 230 guests. Siebel arrived in style, astride a black stallion, clad in Vera Wang and glittering diamonds, as the Missoula symphony orchestra played the "Out of Africa" film score.

VIPs jetted in on one of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin's private planes — while lower profile attendees flew commercial, presumably. The wedding was officiated by clairaudient medium Carol Simone and the couple's sisters were bridesmaids. Newsom's nieces were flower girls, and Siebel's godson was the ring bearer. The blushing bride slipped into another Vera Wang gown while guests were escorted to the reception in horse-drawn carriages. Keeping it real, "steak, salmon, rice, potatoes, [and vegetables]" were dished-up "family-style." The newlyweds danced to "Fallen," which was featured in Richard Gere and Julia Roberts' millionaire falls in love with a sex worker flick, "Pretty Woman."

"I want it to be everything for her that she ever dreamed of," Newsom told The San Francisco Sentinel (via Access Hollywood). "That's why it is Montana. It's her dream, right there on the river ... I want it to be magical." What wasn't magical, however, was the controversy following their big day. According to NBC Bay Area, Newsom was subjected to an investigation for "running up a $15k tab on the city's dime" by using government transportation and police escorts to whisk him to the wedding.

Their kids' names honor family members

Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel's family roots run deep — and continue to grow through the generations. According to The Washington Times, Siebel was the second of five daughters, and her older sister, Stacy, was killed when she was 8. Siebel has a close relationship with her parents, who are "proud of her political work" despite being diehard Republicans.

Gavin's mom passed away in 2002. In a moving tweet, he credited Tessa Menzies for teaching him "everything I know about grit, hard work, and determination." His dad, William Newsom, died in 2018, a month before Gavin was sworn in as Governor, per the AP.

The couple's love for their family is reflected in the names of three of their four kids. As Siebel told North Bay Woman, daughter Montana Tessa's first name draws from "our favorite place," and the middle name is a nod to Gavin's mother. Brooklynn Stacia is a mix of Siebel's middle name and her younger sister's name, plus a tribute to her late older sister. When Dutch William was born in 2016, The Mercury News reported his name was a reference to his paternal grandfather: William resided in Dutch Flat, California. For some reason, Hunter, their first son, doesn't seem to have a name that's linked to any family ties. Rather, Siebel told North Bay Woman it just happened to be her "favorite name for a boy."  Hunter does have Siebel included in his name, though, before Newsom — the same as his mom and three siblings.

Was this a conflict of interests?

Jennifer Siebel's The Representation Project sparked a political firestorm for Gavin Newsom in 2018. The trouble started after it emerged that several corporations active in and/or lobbying California had donated to the non-profit. According to The Sacramento Bee, the contributions totaled $800,000. They were used to pay Siebel's $290,000 salary, in addition to helping "finance her documentary films and promote feminism."

As the outlet noted, the non-profit "isn't required to disclose its donors" but does list any that gave "more than $5,000" — however they don't reveal the actual amounts. Among the companies was Pacific Gas & Electric, which was granted "champion donor" status after giving $25,000. The energy giant has admitted to playing a role in the wildfires that ravaged California. The Comcast Corporation and AT&T Broadband, which they acquired in 2002, were also listed as donors, having contributed $10,000 each. They were lobbying Newsom's administration to amend California's strict regulation laws. In addition, Kaiser Permanente, who successfully negotiated a $35 million business deal with the state, had made a donation.

The companies were accused of "gaining influence," but the California Governor denied any conflict of interests. "[Jennifer's] done, I think, three or four documentaries that have had a profound impact in terms of the debate around gender equality masculinity, and I hope she continues to do that for decades to come," Newsom told The Sacramento Bee. "I don't want my professional work to get in the way of her extraordinary contributions broadly to society, particularly women and girls."

Gavin Newsom's got friends in high places

Jennifer Siebel is passionate about injustice, gender bias, and financial inequality. She's made three documentaries: "Misrepresentation," "The Mask you Live In," and "The Great American Lie." According to The San Francisco Chronicle, the latter "makes a strong case that the system, as it is currently structured, puts the American dream out of reach for anyone born poor, except for the extremely gifted or extremely lucky."

Gavin Newsom is publicly supportive of his wife's views. However, he has no problem with putting those concerns aside when furthering his political ambitions. "If centrist liberalism were a person, that person would be Gavin Newsom," Jacobin Magazine writes. "He talks a big game about equality and justice, but his actions as governor of California tell a different story."

Despite being raised by a single mom in a modest apartment after his parents divorced, Gavin maintained a strong relationship with his father. William Newsom was close friends with Gordon Getty and administrator of the Getty trust, according to CalMatters.org. William's position as a state appeals court judge also enabled him to form bonds with other family dynasties — and Gavin relied on those friendships to launch his political career. According to the Los Angeles Times, eight of San Francisco's most elite families have been Gavin's most prominent financial contributors over the decades. The Wall Street Journal reports that the California Governor raised $70 million to help defeat the recall threat thanks to his uber-rich connections.

Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel work well together

In addition to raising their four children, Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel also work closely together. The filmmaker was by his side when he met with the President of El Salvador in April 2019. Unlike many other politicians' wives, Siebel didn't just smile and make small talk. According to the AP, she quizzed the president about his country's human rights abuses against women — in fluent Spanish no less. "There's no timidity with Jen when it comes to things she cares about and causes she holds dear," Newsom explained.

As per The AP, since he became state governor, Siebel has encouraged her husband to decrease wage disparities and improve family leave provisions. And, it appears her hard work paid off. In May 2019, Newsom announced his "parents' agenda." The legislation expanded paid family leave — for each parent equally — and increased tax credits to benefit low-income families. Newsom also decreased taxes on tampons and diapers as part of the new state budget.

"America will thrive and excel when we have more equality," Siebel told The San Francisco Chronicle. "That's really what I'm championing out of the First Partner's Office, through my work to promote general equality and focus on women of color, and through my work in uplifting women and children and families and making sure kids have the best start in life. The couple also collaborate on camera: Newsom has appeared in all three of his wife's documentaries.

MeToo and ThemTwo

Both Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel purport to be staunch supporters of the #MeToo movement. In 2019, Newsom signed "landmark legislation drafted in response to the #MeToo movement focused on sexual harassment prevention and accountability, and creating a safe workplace for all Californians, especially women who experience sexual harassment at disproportionate rates," a CAGov press release announced. "Millions of women around the world have risen up to say me too, and demand an end to sexual harassment and violence in the workplace," Siebel said.

However, they've both come under fire for alleged shady dealings involving Harvey Weinstein — the convicted sexual predator and rapist that sparked the #MeToo social movement. Newsom's commitment was called into question when The Washington Free Beacon reported that he'd apparently been given a $300 bottle of wine by David Boies, one of Weinstein's attorneys. The gift was accepted by Newsom a month after it was reported that Boies had been hired by the disgraced movie mogul to dig up dirt on his accusers and victims.

Siebel's ethics were put under the spotlight after Rose McGowan alleged in an interview with Dave Rubin that she'd attempted to broker a deal in return for the outspoken actor's silence. Rubin tweeted a clip of the interview and revealed McGowan told him, "Jennifer called her on behalf of Harvey Weinstein's lawyer six months before the Weinstein scandal broke to make the story go away."

Jennifer Siebel and Gavin Newsom have each other's back

Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel are more than just spouses and parents — they're also each other's biggest supporters. In an interview with The Sacramento Bee, the California Governor praised "the incredible work [Jennifer's] done on issues of gender equality, pay equity, how we're raising our boys, and now a growing commitment to income inequality."

"We're just very aligned ... and we educate each other," Siebel told The Bee in a separate interview. "He's like my best researcher, and he's learned so much from my films, and I've learned so much from his work." The documentary maker and activist also regularly takes to Twitter to laud Newsom. "The man I married is courageous and principled. He is never bound by polls or political expediency, but by what is right. I am so proud to stand with @GavinNewsom in life and in the race — Gavin for Governor!!!" She tweeted during the run-up to state elections.

Siebel also fiercely defends her husband if he's attacked. As per Yahoo! News, when criticism grew over Newsom canceling his trip to the COP26 conference for "family reasons," Siebel hit back — hard. "It's funny how certain folks can't handle truth. When someone cancels something, maybe they're just in the office working; maybe in their free time they're at home with their family, at their kids' sports matches, or dining out with their wife. Please stop hating and get a life," she wrote in a since-deleted tweet (via Sophia Bolag).

Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel are partners first

Jennifer Siebel tore up the political rule book when Gavin Newsom became Governor of California. Historically, governors' wives have always been referred to as the first lady. But that didn't sit well with Siebel, who chose the title of "first partner" instead. "Being First Partner is about inclusion, breaking down stereotypes, and valuing the partnerships that allow any of us to succeed. Grateful for this opportunity to continue advocating for a more equitable future," she tweeted following Newsom's victory.

The filmmaker told the Los Angeles Times that the title didn't mean she viewed herself as a political equal. "But, I see that we complement and support each other, and I'm obviously a thought partner of his — and the main thought partner," she explained. During the campaign, Siebel had equated gender roles to "straitjackets," as per Buffalo News. "You lose something in the process of performing masculinity or performing femininity — which is being a 'lady,'" she said.

Siebel vowed that if Newsom won, she'd utilize her new power in productive ways, including advocating mental health issues and dealing with sexual harassment-related matters, according to The Mercury News. Meanwhile, even though she fully supports her husband in any way she can, Siebel remains committed to continuing her own career and advocacy work. She's also made it clear that she's never going to be a trophy wife. "I've already played that in Hollywood," the former actor quipped.