KEY POINTS

  • Rachel Maddow says long-time partner exposed her to COVID-19
  • Her partner, Susan Mikula, is a photographer
  • They met while Maddow was working on her doctoral dissertation

In an impassioned broadcast that has now gone viral, MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow revealed she was exposed to COVID-19 by her long-time partner, Susan Mikula. So who is Mikula?

Maddow self-quarantined on Nov. 6, but issued a heartfelt and cautionary commentary on Mikula in a video broadcast from her home on Thursday.

"Susan has been sick with COVID these past couple of weeks. And, at one point, we really thought that there was a possibility that it might kill her. And that's why I've been away," Maddow explained.

Maddow herself has tested negative for COVID-19, but added that Mikula is still recovering.

Mikula, 62, is a photographer known for using non-digital methods to capture her images. A 2015 exhibition in the William Baczek Fine Arts center in Massachusetts featured her work using Polaroids. Her first solo show was in 1988.

In a 2011 interview with The Advocate, Mikula explained why she took pictures.

“Pictures — photographs are part of how I see and how I think,” she said. “They are, I guess, my way of speaking.”

Maddow and Mikula met in 1999 when Maddow was working on her dissertation for a PhD in political science from Oxford University.

“Susan and I have been together for more than 21 years,” Maddow said in the video. “It was love at first sight.”

Maddow turned her attention later in her 8-minute segment to the pandemic, urging viewers to take the issue seriously.

“This thing is scary as hell and whatever you've been willing to do to risk getting it, don't,” she said. “Just don't do it.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 165,087 new positive cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday, with an additional 1,836 new deaths attributed to complications from the infection. That’s more than half of the casualties from al-Qaida terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. More than 250,000 deaths from COVID-19 have been record in the U.S. since Jan. 21.

maddow Television host Rachel Maddow arrives for a lunch hosted in honor of Prime Minister David Cameron at the State Department on March 14, 2012, in Washington, D.C. Photo: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images