“It didn’t go so well,” Abedin recalls. “A friend of mine came up to me and said, ‘He’d like to meet you.’ ”
But the timing wasn’t right. It was Clinton’s first summer as a New York senator and Abedin’s mind was firmly focused on her job.
“I was working. My mind wasn’t even there,” she says. “He came over, he said hello, and, honestly, that was the end of it.” Later, she agreed to join Weiner and a group of people for drinks. “Our recollection is not identical,” Abedin says. “But we both remember that I ordered tea, and then left to use the ladies’ room, and then never came back. That was our first meeting.”
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But as their paths continued to cross over the years, Abedin came to appreciate the former congressman’s many “attractive” qualities.
“One of the things that, because we became friendly, I found striking about Anthony was how smart he was, what a great debater he was. He was smart, he was passionate,” she says. “When he wanted to do something that he thought was the right thing to do, he would not give up. The kind of dedication and passion he had for helping people, I found very attractive and inspiring.”
The couple married in 2010 and settled in Washington, D.C. Their marriage was soon put to the test by Weiner’s sexting scandals in 2011 and 2013.
Abedin says she focused on her work in the early stages of the scandals: “I tried to block out all the noise and move on with my life,” she recalls. Later, Abedin, a practicing Muslim, turned to her faith and “a really supportive group of friends and colleagues.”
“That support system enabled us – enabled me – to get up and to keep doing what I thought were the right things for my family and for myself.”
Through it all, the couple, who now live in Manhattan, put their four-year-old son, Jordan, first.
“I know Anthony has said this before, but Jordan was the best thing that happened to either of us,” she says. “Our primary concern was the well-being of our son, and ensuring he had everything he needed to feel loved and cared for and to thrive.”