You've probably heard of Bombshell by now: The new movie starring Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, and Nicole Kidman that tells the story of the fall of former chairman and CEO of Fox News and Fox Television Stations, Roger Ailes. He was forced out of the media company in July 2016 after numerous women at the network came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against him. (You can read a step-by-step account of his downfall here.)
During the scandal, the one person who continually stood by his side was his wife of 20 years, Elizabeth Ailes. Here, everything you need to know about Ailes and her relationship with her husband.
Roger and Elizabeth met at CNBC when she was a programming executive and he was in charge of the channel. "Ailes seemed ‘infatuated’ with the Marilyn Monroe look-alike," a former CNBC executive said in a New York Magazine article from 1997, referring to Elizabeth.
In 1998, the couple was married by then-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani at City Hall. She was 37, and he was 58 at the time. Two years later, their son Zachary was born.
She has experience in the media industry.
Much like her partner, Elizabeth has a background in media. She received a journalism degree from Southern Connecticut State University. She started at NBC News Radio after graduation and then was a booker and researcher for NBC News at Sunrise and Before Hours, according to her website.
Roger became the CEO of Fox News in 1996 and left CNBC due to a conflict between him and another executive. Before leaving, Elizabeth was promoted to Vice President of Programming at America's Talking, which is now known as MSNBC.
In 2008, the couple bought the Putnam County Courier and the Putnam Country News and Recorder newspapers. Elizabeth was named owner and publisher for both publications and was said to have "the same kind of aggressiveness that Roger Ailes used on a larger stage" when she was running them, according to Vanity Fair.
Elizabeth sold both of the newspapers in December 2016 to Editor-in-Chief Douglas Cunningham just six months after former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger.
She stood by him during the sexual harassment accusations.
During the lawsuit that sparked Roger's $40 million resignation from Fox News, Elizabeth stood by her husband.
According to New York Magazine, after Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly declined to stand by Roger during the lawsuit, Elizabeth suggested to the Fox News PR team to "release racy photos of Kelly published years ago in GQ Magazine as a way of discrediting her." It didn't end up happening since her request was turned down. "This is not about money," she reportedly said. "This is about his legacy."
It appears that Elizabeth did not know anything about her husband's behavior throughout the years. Sources say that she was "taking all of the revelations especially hard," as rumors swarmed of a possible divorce considering she was living in New York and he was residing in Florida.
The couple did, however, stay married until Roger's death in May 2018. He died of hemophilia, which is said to have been triggered by when he fell and hit his head in his Florida home days prior.
She made sure Fox News didn't report on Ailes' death first.
To ensure Fox News would not be the one to break the news of his death, Elizabeth emailed Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report writing, "I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning. Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary and a loyal friend to many. He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise, and to give back. During a career that stretched over more than five decades, his work in entertainment, in politics, and in news affected the lives of many millions. And so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life."
She keeps to herself these days.
Elizabeth has mainly stayed hidden from any kind of spotlight since 2016. She keeps to herself at her home in Palm Beach, Florida with her son Zachary. Sometimes Ailes will tweet photos of Roger or their son from an unverified account, or post on her blog. According to her website, she's now involved with non-profit organizations that primarily focus on social welfare and workforce development.
You can watch the trailer for Bombshell, below:
Bombshell premieres in theaters everywhere December 20, 2019.
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Bianca Rodriguez is the Commerce Editor/Writer at Hearst Magazines Digital Media, where she covers fashion, beauty, home, and more. She likes long walks through shopping malls, a good book, and thinks a closet without platform sneakers is a travesty.
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