Sandra Lee and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Split: See Their Relationship in Photos Through the Years
That First Year
From left: Cuomo, then New York's attorney general-elect, and Lee attended the Third Annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball at Cipriani's 42nd Street in November 2006 in New York City.
The two had first met a year earlier, at a summer party in the Hamptons.
“I remember her being — I don’t want to say infatuated, because it sounds too schoolgirlish — but she was taken with him,” Lee's friend Colleen Schmidt told the Times in 2010.
In the spirit of other first ladies — a title she may have only held unofficially, as New York's "first girlfriend" — Lee had her own causes. She is a founding member of the L.A. chapter of UNICEF and has supported efforts to end childhood hunger, among other issues.
A Political Outing
Lee and Cuomo with Bill and Hillary Clinton as they watched N.Y.C. Mayor Bill de Blasio's swearing-in in January 2014.
Though she had already been with him for several years, Lee's relationship with Cuomo made more headlines as he successfully ran for New York's governor in 2010 (he is now in his third term), even as Lee largely avoided the campaign trail.
“I do food and home and garden and leave politics to my honey — he’s wonderful at that,” she said in 2010.
Lee and Cuomo voted in New York's 2014 gubernatorial election at the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco in November 2014 in Mount Kisco.
Cuomo and Lee were seen leaving Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital in August 2015 in N.Y.C.
“Sandy’s experience with breast cancer was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through personally,” Cuomo told PEOPLE last October, “but it opened my eyes and I learned a lot.”
Relaxing in the Sun
Cuomo and Lee — and 125 graduating students — celebrated his daughter Cara's degree from Harvard University in May 2017, Lee wrote on Facebook.
As she fell in love with Cuomo, Lee also fell in love with his three daughters with Kerry Kennedy: Michaela and twins Cara and Mariah.
"Although I have never birthed children myself, I simply can't image loving any child more than I do these three," Lee wrote on Facebook in 2017. "The thought that I had a hand in helping to raise such beautiful, kind, intelligent girls is amazing. But what I appreciate the most is that Andrew, my life partner and sweetheart, always included me, making me part of the family and the co-parent of these spectacular young women."
After her split from Cuomo was announced, Lee told PEOPLE, “His daughters and I share an incredibly close bond. I will continue to be there for them as I have been for the last 14 years."
A Black Tie Affair
Cuomo and Lee with Elton John at the Elton John AIDS Foundation's 25th anniversary celebration in N.Y.C. IN November 2017.
Cuomo and Lee (at right) with his three daughters, Michaela, Mariah and Cara, at a Sundance Film Festival screening in January 2018 for Lee's documentary RX: Early Detection, a Cancer Journey with Sandra Lee. The film followed her treatment and recovery from breast cancer following her 2015 diagnosis.
Of her diagnosis, Cuomo told PEOPLE in 2015, “I wanted to protect and shield her, but the best I could do in that moment was reassure her that everything would be okay."
Of her candid and at times wrenching journey in the documentary, Lee told PEOPLE last year: “No doctor can tell you everything you need to know. The biggest thing I can do is really show people what it looks like to go through this so they walk in with open eyes — which I did not have."
On the Red Carpet
Cuomo and Lee posed together on the red carpet for RX: Early Detection at Sundance in January 2018 in Park City, Utah.
The Film Festival Circuit
Lee and Cuomo, who for years had studiously kept their relationship away from the spotlight of their careers, became more candid as Lee became a cancer detection advocate.
After Sundance, they attended a screening of RX: Early Detection at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival in April 2018 in N.Y.C.
Lee and Cuomo walking at the NYC Pride March in June 2018 in N.Y.C.
While Lee — a bestselling cookbook author, TV chef and lifestyle personality — rarely mixed her personal life with Cuomo's professional world, she made some exceptions, including greeting guests at the governor's mansion after he was elected.
Side by Side
Cuomo with Lee at an October screening of her intimate HBO documentary, RX: Early Detection.
Announcing their breakup in a joint statement on Wednesday, Cuomo and Lee said, "Over the recent past, we have realized that our lives have gone in different directions and our romantic relationship has turned into a deep friendship."
Still, Lee told PEOPLE, "Andrew will always be one of the greatest loves of my life and we will continue to be family."