President Joe Biden's new press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre once tried to commit suicide after she failed the exams to become a doctor while her "revolting" mom refused to accept her as gay. The revelations come as Jean-Pierre, 44, was chosen as the first black woman and openly lesbian person to serve as White House press secretary.
Jean-Pierre's choice as the White House press secretary has already raised quite a few eyebrows, with many questioning if her appointment was ethical or a political move by Biden to win over the support of the LGBTQ community. She takes over from Jen Psaki on May 13 after serving as her deputy.
Jean-Pierre is the first black woman and openly lesbian person to serve as White House press secretary. The Haitian-origin Jean-Pierre lives in Washington DC and has a seven-year-old daughter, Soleil with partner Suzanne Malveaux, a CNN national journalist.
Malveaux and Jean-Pierre met in 2012 at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, and since have been living in. However, Jean-Pierre has a troubled past which she herself has admitted.
He had previously recounted in her book the difficulties she faced within her family after coming out as gay. She even tried to kill herself once after failing the exams to become a doctor.
According to Jean-Pierre, her sister Edwine discovered her unconscious and saved her after she attempted suicide. In her book, she claimed that she planned to commit suicide while listening to Mary J. Blige's song 'Everlasting Love' and was awoken by Edwine after she tried to die by carbon monoxide poisoning.
"To this day, no one in my family has ever talked to me about my suicide attempt," she wrote.
"The fact that I actually tried to take my own life is so shameful and agonizing to me that I have never had the nerve to broach the subject with Edwine,"
Jean-Pierre also said that she still feels "terrible about what I put Edwine through."
She claims in her 2019 book that this, combined with her sexuality struggles, drove her to fall into depression and try suicide.
However, that's where her troubles ended.
Unacceptable for Mom
The new press secretary said that she has had a difficult time making her conservative family accept that she is gay and the problems are not yet over. Last year she tweeted that she came out to her mother as gay when she was 16.
The revelation was a shock for her mother. 'The revolted look on her face sent me running back into the proverbial closet and slamming the door shut. After that, my sexuality became a family secret and it would stay that way for years," she wrote.
Since then Jean-Pierre has dated many women but those relationships were kept a secret from her family, till she finally settled down with Malveaux 10 years back.
"Just as American society has evolved over the course of the past couple of decades to embrace the LGBTQ community (never forgetting we still have work to do), my family has evolved to embrace my membership in it," she wrote.
Over the years, Jean-Pierre said, her mother has changed a lot and accepted her way of life. 'I'm proud to be an out Black Queer woman and I have been for quite some time. I'm happy to say, my Mother is now proud of ALL of who I am; she loves my partner and she loves being a doting grandmother to the daughter we are raising," she wrote.
"My journey toward feeling accepted by myself and loved ones wasn't an easy one, but it was worthwhile. No matter where you are in your journey, I see you, we see you and we celebrate you - Happy Pride!" she wrote.
Jean-Pierre was raised in Queens, New York, where her family relocated when she was five years old. Her parents were both Haitians: her father worked as a taxi driver and her mother as a nurse.
She attended the New York Institute of Technology on Long Island to study pre-med, but she failed her tests when he felt like an "idiot" and tried to kill herself.
However, she is happy today and so is her sister. They both remain close, as evidenced by Instagram photos of them together, including their personal trainer brother Christopher. Edwine and Christopher are both reside in New York.
After that, Jean-Pierre worked as a volunteer firefighter before enrolling in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. Jean-Pierre has stated that she was never interested in politics at first, since she associated it with corruption in her parents' homeland, but was mentored by David Dinkins, the first black mayor of New York City from 1990 to 1993.