Ted Cruz looks like Don Draper’s homely brother and a jar of mayonnaise boringly conceived a love child that’s allergic to the sun. He has the charisma of mildew, which is presumably why The Atlantic published a sympathetic interview with his infinitely more compelling wife Heidi as Ted struggles to match the enthusiasm surrounding his opponent Beto O’Rourke. But before everyone breaks out the #FreeHeidi tweets, I used the word “compelling” because literally anything is more dynamic than Ted, plus Heidi’s interview is an awkwardly fascinating travail through Christian-fueled Stockholm Syndrome and outright complicity. You will feel for this woman, and then you’ll want to burn her gilded tower to the fucking ground. It’s pure, out-of-touch conservatism in a bottle.
So let’s start where it often goes wrong for so many women: Marrying a guy who wants to play Disney songs at your wedding. In this case, “A Whole New World,” which Ted requested to be played by CD despite the couple hiring a band “because no one can do Aladdin.” Now, a normal person would stop and realize, “Holy shit, I have met a serial killer and he will definitely shove my body into a lamp.” Not Heidi Cruz. She was captivated by Ted’s “1950s movie star” looks and his “really fun” personality - ???? - so she took the plunge into marital bliss. As for how she views those early days now? (Emphasis mine.)
“I would say to younger women: Be intentional about your decisions,” she said. “And I do appreciate that Ted started our life together with that song, because there’s some truth to it.
“He’ll be like, ‘It’s such a great life! We have so much adventure ahead! It’s like our magic-carpet ride,’” she continued. “And sometimes I’m like, ‘I hope we don’t hit the cement.’”
That is an extremely odd choice of words because here’s where things get very dark. Just a few years into her marriage to Ted and after uprooting their lives to Texas, Heidi was found by the police near a highway on-ramp where she planned to kill herself. For the record, that last part is never explicitly stated, but when the question is asked by The Atlantic, Heidi doesn’t deny that she was severely depressed over leaving her life, family, and old job behind. As for how Ted responded to finding his wife in the hospital, obviously, he offered to do everything in his power to help her. — Except leave Texas, but hey, maybe later! No, seriously. (Emphasis mine.)
“He just hugged me and said, ‘I just wanna make sure that you’re happy here, and that this is a successful chapter. We’re not always going to be here.’”
After those comforting words from a pale pile of Jell-O that she’s seen naked at least twice, Heidi went to a Catholic retreat where she was served a helping of “God has a plan.” Which sounds lovely until you wonder why that plan involved Heidi Cruz almost killing herself on a highway on-ramp. But apparently, that’s all part of being married to a Great Man of God™. Hot dog!
The counselor “sat me down, and she looked at me and she goes, ‘I can tell you have an amazing husband. And you both will have an impact on this country,’” Heidi recalled. “She said … ‘God is going to use you, not Ted—not just Ted. You’re part of this team for a reason. God’s gonna use you to do something beyond yourself. You just let God take you to Texas, you let him take you wherever. Because there’s something bigger than you now.’”
Instead of questioning why she has to be the one to suffer with suicidal depression and smile while guests just assume the Harvard diplomas in their house are Ted’s and Ted’s alone, Heidi felt like she was “fulfilling prophecy,” which prepared her for uprooting her career, again, when Ted ran for the Republican presidential nomination. She walked into that decision clear-eyed and determined not to fall into the trap of being a jilted campaign wife dragged along for the ride.
So naturally this happened:
On top of being criticized for not having the manufactured looks of a mail-order bride, The National Enquirer ran a cover accusing Ted of having five mistresses, which no one believed because we all know what he looks like. Even his own wife laughed at the idea because, c’mon, ain’t nobody fucking Ted Cruz.
“I called up Ted and I was like, ‘Have you had five affairs? Ha-ha-ha,’” she said.
But despite the barrage of shit that Trump threw at Cruz, including accusing his dad of murdering JFK because our reality is broken, one of the most jarring moments in Heidi’s interview arrives when she offers her blanket support of President Pussy-grabber because he’s stocking the courts with conservative judges. That’s all that matters to these people. Everything is permissible as long as women are forced to squeeze out babies into a capitalistic hellscape that, God-willing, might even bring back slavery. Fingers crossed.
There was some anxiety during the general election, she admitted. “What I did talk to Ted about … was if we support him and he ends up not being a conservative—not appointing conservative justices, not doing tax reform— are we part of a damaging decision in history?” But it worked out, and she doesn’t regret voting for Trump. It was Ted, she said, who insisted Trump pull only from the Federalist Society’s list when nominating Supreme Court justices. In Heidi’s view, her husband “has kept his integrity intact.” And, by extension, she has kept hers.
If that isn’t enough to drain whatever sympathy you had for Heidi, she ends the interview with a tone-deaf joke about the economic hardships of being a Goldman Sachs executive while her husband is a United States senator who sometimes misses teacher conferences. (Emphasis mine.)
“It does take some supportiveness, you know. Six to seven years in it, with me being the primary breadwinner—it’s like, ‘Uh, yeah, this is when people say thank you. I’ll now take that appreciation.’” She laughed. “Yeah, we’re seven years into this, and we’re not buying a second home anytime soon.”
Oh. Holy shit. You can’t afford a second home? Why didn’t you say so sooner? That is terrible. I mean, most Americans have less than $1,000 in savings and own zero houses. But goddammit, you can’t finance a second one? That is awful. Everybody, let’s light candles and form a circle for Heidi. I need my prayer warriors!
Header Image Source: Getty