Teresa Heinz first came to public notice as the wife of the late United States Senator from Pennsylvania, Henry John Heinz III, who was an heir to the American food processing company, Heinz. She gained more prominence after she went on to marry another famous politician, longtime U.S. senator and former Secretary of State, John Kerry.
Despite her recent marital obligations, Teresa has remained connected to the renowned H. J Heinz Company, through which she has managed to do various humanitarian work, gaining fame and building a reputation for herself. Read on to discover more facts about her.
Who is Teresa Heinz?
Teresa Heinz is a Portuguese-American businesswoman and philanthropist. She was born as Maria Teresa Thierstein Simões-Ferreira on October 5, 1938, in Lourenço Marques, what is modern-day Maputo, Mozambique. She is the daughter of a Portuguese medical doctor named José Simões-Ferreira Jr. and his wife, Irene Thierstein, a Portuguese and British national. After having spent a few years in America, Teresa acquired American citizenship in 1971 through naturalization.
Ms. Heinz is a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She studied Roman Languages and Literature, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1960. She subsequently studied at the University of Geneva’s School of Translation, graduating in 1963. Following her graduation, Teresa Heinz moved to the United States, taking up an interpreter job at the United Nations. She, however, resigned from the job after getting married.
6 Facts You Need To Know About Her
1. Teresa Heinz’s Marital Life
Teresa Heinz married Henry John Heinz III, a future U.S Senator from Pennsylvania, on the 5th of February 1966. The wedding took place at the gothic Heinz chapel located in the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With John, Teresa has three sons; Henry John Heinz IV (born in 1966), André Thierstein Heinz (born in 1969), and Christopher Drake Heinz (born in 1973).
After about twenty-five years of marriage, Teresa Heinz lost her husband in a plane crash that occurred on April 4, 1991. Several years after the sad incident, Teresa remarried. She married U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, John Kerry on the 26th of May, 1995. On marrying Kerry, Heinz became a stepmother to his two daughters; Alexandra and Vanessa Kerry, whom he had from his first marriage.
2. She Is a Heinz Food Empire Heiress
Teresa Heinz’s first husband was the heir of the globally famous American food empire, H. J Heinz. Following her husband’s death, she inherited his fortune estimated to be worth over $500 million. She also became a powerful custodian of the Heinz family wealth, being in charge of her late husband’s property, trust, and assets.
Heinz consequently became a multi-millionaire, with an estimated net worth that stands between $750 and $1.2 million as of 2018.
3. Teresa Heinz Narrowly Missed Becoming First Lady of The United States
Teresa’s present husband, John Kerry, contested for the office of the presidency in the 2004 U.S Presidential elections. He, however, lost to Republican candidate and then-incumbent president, George Bush, with only a 2.4% margin, and 35 electoral votes difference.
4. She is Multilingual
Owing to her courses of study and the line of work she was in before marriage, Heinz learned a number of languages. In addition to her native tongue of Portuguese, she speaks English, Italian, Spanish, and French fluently.
4. Heinz is a Breast Cancer Survivor
On December 23, 2009, Teresa Heinz was diagnosed with breast cancer. She, however, able to battle and beat the deadly disease after successful treatments. In addition to that health scare, she has survived a seizure, which occurred on July 7, 2013. Her recovery from the seizure required several days of treatments at different hospitals and at home.
5. She is a Philanthropist
Teresa Heinz is the chair of several Heinz philanthropies and foundations. She is particularly the chairperson of Heinz Endowments, an amalgam of the Howard Heinz and Vira I. Heinz Endowments. She also created the Heinz Awards which recognizes individuals with outstanding vision and achievements in several fields including the arts, public policy, economy, technology, environment, and so on.
Heinz also serves on the boards of several other charity/humanitarian organizations across the U.S, especially ones that advocate for better health and environmental research.
6. She has Received a Dozen Honorary Doctorates
In recognition of her numerous humanitarian works and advocacy, Teresa Heinz has received honorary doctorate degrees from numerous institutions numbering up to twelve. Some of them include Carlow University, Clark University, Kenyon College, Pine Manor College, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, among others.
In 2001, Heinz became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition, she received the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarianism Gold Medal in 2003.