what happened to clarence thomas first wife
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What Happened to Clarence Thomas' First Wife?

Danielle Letenyei - Author
By

Mar. 25 2022, Published 1:24 p.m. ET

Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife, Virginia Thomas, is making headlines today for her efforts to get the results of the 2020 election overturned. She is Thomas’ second wife. What happened to his first wife?

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There isn't much information available about Thomas’ first wife, Kathy Grace Ambush. They were reportedly high school sweethearts who married in 1971. They had one child, Jamal Adeen Thomas. Thomas and Ambush separated in 1981 and divorced in 1984.

clarence thomas and second wife
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Clarence Thomas and Virginia Thomas

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Thomas’ ex-girlfriend wrote a tell-all book.

During their separated years, a new woman entered Thomas’ life. Now retired federal prosecutor Lillian McEwen wrote about her relationship with Thomas in the 2011 book, D.C. Unmasked & Undressed: A Memoir.

In her book, McEwen portrayed Thomas as a binge drinking porn addict. She claimed Thomas and her engaged in threesomes, sometimes involving his female colleagues, the New York Post reported in 2016.

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McEwen said Thomas’ personality changed when he gave up drinking, CNN reports. The two eventually ended their relationship.

Thomas was separated from his first wife when he met Anita Hill.

Thomas was separated from Ambush and dating McEwen when he started working with Anita Hill. In the now-infamous proceedings of Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court in 1991, Hill testified that Thomas allegedly sexually harassed her when he was her supervisor at the Department of Education and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

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“I have been racking my brains and eating my insides out trying to think of what I could have said or done to Anita Hill to lead her to allege that I was interested in her in more than a professional way and that I talked with her about pornographic or x-rated films,” Thomas said before he “categorically denied” the allegations.

Thomas was eventually confirmed to the Supreme Court bench in a 52–48 Senate vote.

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Thomas married Virginia in 1987.

Thomas was remarried to conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Lamp at the time of his nomination to the Supreme Court. The two married in 1987. In 2010, almost two decades after Thomas took his seat on the Supreme Court, Virginia called Hill and asked her to apologize to her husband for her allegations. The Wall Street Journal reported that Virginia said she was “extending an olive branch” to Hill “in hopes that we could ultimately get past what happened so long ago.” Hill denied the apology request.

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When CNN talk show host Larry King asked McEwen about Virginia’s call to Hill, she said, “I think that Clarence has never told his wife the truth about the kind of activity that he engaged in at that point in time when he was at EEOC and at Education. I don’t think he’s told her the truth about his preferences sexually.”

Clarence Thomas’ son is a successful actor.

Thomas has one child, Jamal Adeen Thomas. Jamal’s mother is Thomas’ first wife, Kathy Ambush. Jamal is an actor who has appeared on the television shows Law & Order Special Victims Unit, Grey’s Anatomy, and FBI: Most Wanted.

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