As a former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton hasn’t been out of the headlines since the early ’90s. But here are 20 little-known facts about Donald Trump’s arch-nemesis, and potentially the first ever female U.S. President, that you might find surprising.
20. She exchanged vows with Bill in his living room
When the Clintons were joined together in holy matrimony, it wasn’t exactly the grandiose affair you might expect from two future presidential candidates. In fact, it was all incredibly low-key, with the nuptials taking place in the living room of Bill’s Fayetteville brick cottage back in 1975. And it seems that the bride didn’t go in for the big white wedding at all: even her wedding gown was a last-minute purchase picked up on the eve of the event that cost just $53.
19. Bill Clinton proposed twice before she said yes
And Hillary made Bill sweat a little before agreeing to walk down that makeshift living room aisle, too. Indeed, in a piece for US Weekly in 2016, she admitted that she only accepted the future president’s marriage proposal on the third time of asking. Perhaps the politician is just as ice-cool in her private life, then, as she is in her public one.
18. It was a while before she was “Mrs. Clinton”
And while she may have finally said yes to Bill, Hillary initially decided against becoming Mrs. Clinton during their honeymoon phase. She only gave up her maiden name of Rodham, moreover, in 1980 – and even then it was all for politics. When Bill lost his seat in the 1980 Arkansas re-election, Hillary finally adopted his surname to silence those who had cast doubt on the state of their marriage.
17. She once turned down Vogue
Clinton recently appeared on the pages of Vogue in a shoot snapped by celebrated photographer Mario Testino, but the politician hasn’t always been as keen to appear in the fashion bible. According to its editor Anna Wintour, in fact, the Democrat had previously given the magazine a wide berth in 2008. What’s more, in her editor’s letter for the February 2008 edition of Vogue, the formidable chief wrote that Clinton had declined to appear on the cover of her magazine “for fear of looking too feminine.”
16. Her student commencement speech made history
Back in 1969 Clinton hadn’t yet cultivated the strong Southern accent and commanding voice she’s known for today. But the young woman was still as assured as ever, and when she became Wellesley College’s first ever student commencement speaker she made quite the impact. In fact, when Clinton delivered her speech on student disillusionment over the Vietnam War, it commanded national attention and earned her a mention in Life magazine.
15. She helped to get Nixon ousted from office
Yep, Clinton played a significant part in American political history long before she entered the White House. As a lawyer in the early 1970s, she was a member of the Watergate scandal’s impeachment inquiry team – the force that ultimately pushed President Richard Nixon out of office.
14. She’s a Grammy Award winner
Celine Dion may have won Album of the Year at the 1997 Grammys, but the most hotly contested award on the night was surely Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Album. Surprisingly, this went to none other than Hillary Clinton for the audio version of her book, It Takes A Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us.
13. She’s a hot sauce addict
There’s no avoiding it: it seems as if 2016 is the year of hot sauce. Just two months after Beyoncé name-checked the condiment in her single, “Formation,” Clinton went ahead and told New York radio station Power 105.1 that she packs an emergency bottle with her everywhere she goes. According to the former First Lady, the spicy condiment boosts the immune system and is a handbag must-have.
12. She can hold her liquor just as well as John McCain
Clinton isn’t exactly renowned for letting her hair down, but the former First Lady claims that she once participated in a drinking contest with another one-time Presidential candidate, 2008 Republican nominee John McCain. And the result? The unlikely party animal later revealed in a video interview, “We sat there drinking vodka until us both, I think, agreed to withdraw.”
11. She holds an unwanted White House record
Clinton has achieved many firsts throughout her career and she’s no doubt hugely proud of most of them, but there’s probably one that she’d rather forget. Following the White House FBI file scandal that occurred during Bill’s administration, the Clintons became the first – and so far only – Presidential couple to have their fingerprints taken by the FBI.
10. It’s been two decades since she’s got behind the wheel of a car
In 2014 Hillary was asked to speak at the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention, despite the fact that she hasn’t got behind the wheel of a car since 1996. Clinton admitted, “I have to confess: One of the regrets I have about public life is that I can’t drive anymore. My husband thinks that’s a blessing, but he’s the one who should talk.”
9. She once met Martin Luther King Jr.
At the age of 14 Clinton was still just a schoolgirl and an unknown in the world of politics, but she had already crossed paths with one of America’s most renowned political figures. The young teen had gone to an event to hear Martin Luther King Jr. speak, and actually ending up shaking hands with the famous civil rights activist. And when he was assassinated years later, Clinton recalls being completely devastated.
8. She once gutted fish for living
Clinton hasn’t always lived the champagne lifestyle. Indeed, in between her spells at Wellesley and Yale, she paid the bills by sliming salmon at an Alaskan fish factory. It seems that the future First Lady just wasn’t cut out for a life gutting fish, however, as she was sacked within a week for asking too many questions. But all was not lost, as Clinton later told David Letterman, “[It was the] best preparation for being in Washington that you can imagine.”
7. At one point she was both Senator and First Lady
Clinton’s joint status as Senator and First Lady didn’t last much longer than her salmon-sliming days. Bill Clinton exited the White House on Jan 20, 2001, just 20 days after his wife was sworn in as New York’s first female Senator.
6. She served on the board of a frozen yogurt company
Clinton was a very busy woman in the ’90s, serving on the board of not one but three very different companies: retail giant Wal-Mart, concrete company LaFarge and frozen yogurt firm TCBY Enterprises. But she was forced to resign from all three positions in 1992, in order to devote all her time and energy to Bill’s big push for the White House.
5. She’s shared a keyboard with Bono
We all know about Bill Clinton’s fondness for the sax, but Hillary isn’t averse to occasionally showing off her musical skills either. And so when she found herself in the company of Bono at a public ceremony for Nelson Mandela in 2013, she jumped at the U2 frontman’s offer to join him on the piano for an impromptu jam.
4. She named her only girl after a Joni Mitchell song
And her musical ties don’t end there, either. After giving birth to her only daughter in 1980, Clinton decided to name the little girl after a track from Joni Mitchell’s 1969 sophomore album Clouds. And so Chelsea Clinton has the song “Chelsea Morning” to thank for her famous moniker today.
3. Her first jury case was a bit of a “rat’s ass”
Clinton’s early legal career didn’t exactly get off to a glamorous start. Her first trial before a jury involved defending a company against claims that a rat’s rear end had been found in one of their canned products. And while the young lawyer won the case, that didn’t stop Bill from teasing her about her “rat’s ass” experience for years to come.
2. She had her pick of both Yale and Harvard
Hillary was accepted into two of America’s most prestigious law schools: Yale and Harvard. But following a sexist comment by a Harvard professor, who said that the university “didn’t need any more women,” her decision to attend Yale was a no-brainer.
1. She used to be a Republican
It turns out that Clinton and Trump haven’t always been at opposite ends of the political spectrum. In fact, as both of her parents were Republicans, Hillary leaned very much towards the right during her early years, before adopting a more liberal approach while studying at Wellesley.