Pundits have been buzzing for days about who presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump might pick as his vice president, but fewer people have been talking about the ladies behind the scenes. The Second Lady, as she's called, typically not only supports her husband while in office but also takes on advocacy work of her own.
So, without further ado, meet Karen Pence, the wife of Indiana governor and likely Trump veep choice Mike Pence. She's a longtime teacher, watercolor painter and founder of a business that sells towel charms.
Karen Pence, currently the first lady of Indiana, has been married to her husband since 1985. They first met at church, becoming acquaintances when the governor realized he knew her sister from school, according to a 2013 profile of Karen in the Indianapolis Star. Mike Pence got her sister's phone number from the school registrar to find out more, but got spooked and hung up when he finally called — Karen had answered the phone. He called back and they had dinner together.
Days later, "Karen's 10-year-old niece bet him $1 that he would marry her aunt. She won," the Star wrote. "And the registrar attended the wedding."
According to her bio on the Indiana state government website, Karen Pence serves as the honorary chair of the Art Therapy Initiative at Riley Children's Hospital and the official Bicentennial Ambassador by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission. She also created the Indiana First Lady’s Charitable Foundation, which is focused on children and families.
A graduate of Butler University, Karen Pence appears to be a busy woman. She founded a business, too: “That’s My Towel!” Charm, Inc., which produces small metal charms to hang on towels so there's no confusion as to whose towel belongs to whom in crowded families.
Karen Pence and her husband have one son, Michael, and two daughters, Charlotte and Audrey. She tagged along earlier this month when the governor met with Trump in New Jersey, the Washington Post reported. She supports her husband's political career, but in 2013 she was careful to warn the Star that they were "not long-term planners."
"The first couple of times we ran, I think there was a lot of ambition," Karen Pence said. "We thought we could change the world, go to Washington. The second time we felt called. . . . We just were different people. We were a lot more mature and it was a lot more of a calling."
She told WTHR that same year she realized she needed to "get over" losing her privacy as the wife to a high-profile politician. "We are going to be in the public eye and we want to make the most of it," she added.