Apologies in advanced for the apparent sexist naming conventions used in this writeup. I refer to Ms. Heinz Kerry by her first name in order to avoid confusing her with John Kerry and John Heinz III, and frankly, folks, this woman has too many last names.
Born Maria Teresa Thierstein Simões-Ferreira on October 5, 1938 to Portuguese immigrant parents in Mozambique, east Africa, Teresa Heinz Kerry is a philantropist and wife of Democratic Senator and 2004 presidential candidate John Forbes Kerry.
Teresa studied at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Romance languages and literature (French, Italian, and Portuguese). As a college student, she protested against apartheid. She later graduated from the Interpreters School of the University of Geneva, a classmate of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, and began work with the United Nations in New York.
In 1966, Teresa married Massachusetts Senator John Heinz III, heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune. Senator Heinz and Teresa had three children, John Jr., André, and Christopher. Sen. Heinz, a Republican, died in a plane crash in 1991. As a result, Teresa inherited an enormous fortune, estimated at US$550 million, and became chair of The Howard Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Philanthropies.
Teresa and John Kerry met in 1990, introduced by Sen. Heinz. After her husband's death, Teresa met Kerry again in 1992, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. In 1995, they were married.
As her husband's run for the presidency continues, Teresa will be an interesting wildcard to watch. Outspoken and used to being in charge, an Elle magazine profile recently revealed a few facets of her personality atypical of Washington wives: Teresa openly spoke about using Botox, threatening her late husband with "maiming" if he were to commit adultery, and when asked about changing her last name, she responded "Politically, it's going to be Teresa Heinz Kerry, but I don't give a shit, you know?"--not the kind of docile, grandmotherly personality expected of a 65-year-old would-be First Lady.
And I guess we know how that worked out.