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Franklin D. Roosevelt's relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt ended when Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. They had been married for 40 years.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Profile Photo

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Politics - President

Why Famous: 32nd President of the United States

Age: 63 (1/30/1882 - 4/12/1945)

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt's Relationships (2)

Eleanor Roosevelt Profile Photo

Eleanor Roosevelt

Politics - Other

Why Famous: First Lady of the United States - 1933 to 1945

Age: 78 (10/11/1884 - 11/7/1962)

 

Eleanor Roosevelt's Relationships (1)

Relationship Timeline

Event Start Date Length
Dating n/a --
Engaged n/a --
Married 3/17/1905 40 years
Deceased 4/12/1945 --
 Total40 years*

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Children of this Relationship

Name Born Age Gender Type
Anna Eleanor190669 yrs.*FemaleBiological
James190784 yrs.*MaleBiological
Franklin Delano, Jr.3/18/19097 mos.*MaleBiological
Elliott191080 yrs.*MaleBiological
Franklin Delano, Jr.191474 yrs.*MaleBiological
John Aspinwall191665 yrs.*MaleBiological

* Age at time of death

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Affairs

NameCheaterDateDetails
Lucy MercerFranklin D. Roosevelt1914View

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Relationship Information, Quotes, and Trivia

Where and/or how did Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt meet?

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Why did Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt break up?

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Other Relationship Information about Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt:

Roosevelt married Eleanor despite the fierce resistance of his mother. Eleanor's uncle, Theodore Roosevelt, stood in at the wedding for Eleanor's deceased father Elliott. The young couple moved into Springwood, his family's estate, where FDR's mother became a frequent house guest, much to Eleanor's chagrin. The home was owned by Roosevelt's mother until her death in 1941 and was very much her home as well. As for their personal lives, Franklin was a charismatic, handsome, and socially active man. In contrast, Eleanor was shy and disliked social life, and at first stayed at home to raise their children. Although Eleanor disliked sex, and considered it "an ordeal to be endured," they had six children, the first four in rapid succession.

In September 1918, Eleanor found letters revealing the affair in Roosevelt's luggage, when he returned from World War I. According to the Roosevelt family, Eleanor offered Franklin a divorce so that he could be with the woman he loved, but Lucy, being Catholic, could not bring herself to marry a divorced man with five children. According to FDR's biographer Jean Edward Smith it is generally accepted that Eleanor indeed offered "to give Franklin his freedom." However, they reconciled after a fashion with the informal mediation of Roosevelt's adviser Louis McHenry Howe, and FDR promised never to see Lucy again. His mother Sara also intervened, and told Franklin that if he divorced his wife, he would bring scandal upon the family, and she "would not give him another dollar." However, Franklin broke his promise. He and Lucy maintained a formal correspondence, and began seeing each other again in 1941 and perhaps earlier. Lucy was even given the code name "Mrs. Johnson" by the Secret Service. Indeed, Lucy was with FDR on the day he died. Despite this, FDR's affair was not widely known until the 1960s.

The effect of this affair upon Eleanor Roosevelt is difficult to estimate. "I have the memory of an elephant. I can forgive, but I cannot forget," she wrote to a close friend. Though Eleanor did not enjoy the sexual act, after the affair, any remaining intimacy left their relationship. Eleanor soon thereafter established a separate house in Hyde Park at Valkill, and increasingly devoted herself to various social and political causes. For the rest of their lives, the Roosevelts' marriage was more of a political partnership than an intimate relationship. The emotional break in their marriage was so severe that when FDR asked Eleanor in 1942 in light of his failing health to come back home and live with him again, she refused.

Franklin's son Elliott claimed that Franklin had a 20 year affair with his private secretary Marguerite "Missy" LeHand.

The five surviving Roosevelt children led tumultuous lives overshadowed by their famous parents. They had a total of nineteen marriages, fifteen divorces, and twenty nine children.

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Classic Quotes by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt about their relationship:

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