Ron DeSantis calls meeting his wife, Casey, 'my life's most fortuitous moment.' Here's a timeline of their relationship.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his wife, Casey, a former newscaster, wed at Disney World in 2009.
They have three children, and Casey is in remission after a breast-cancer diagnosis in 2021.
Casey has been instrumental in DeSantis' career and rise to fame as a potential 2024 candidate.
2006: Ron DeSantis and Casey Black met on a golf course at the University of North Florida.
At the time, Casey worked as a news anchor for WJXT, Channel 4, in Jacksonville. DeSantis had graduated from Harvard Law School in 2005 and worked as a JAG (Judge Advocate General's Corps) officer in the US Navy.
"I kept looking over my shoulder because I wanted the bucket of balls that somebody had left because my swing was so terrible," Casey told First Coast News in 2018. "I needed as much practice as I could possibly get. As I'm looking over behind me, Ron is over there. He thinks I'm looking at him. I was really looking at the balls. Long story short we started to talk and that's how we met."
DeSantis recalled their meeting in his 2023 memoir, "The Courage to Be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival," calling it "my life's most fortuitous moment."
"There was no way I was leaving that driving range without asking her on a date," he wrote.
2007: DeSantis was deployed to Iraq as a lawyer for SEAL Team One a year after he and Casey started dating.
Insider's Kimberly Leonard reported that DeSantis called into WJXT to surprise Casey while he was stationed abroad in Iraq.
During a speaking engagement in Iowa in March 2023, DeSantis spoke about planning his proposal while serving in Iraq.
"I told myself as soon as I get back from Iraq I'm proposing and I'm going to ask her to marry me, and if you know my wife, that was not a very difficult judgment for me to make," he said.
September 26, 2009: Ron and Casey DeSantis wed at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Insider's Kimberly Leonard reported that the couple exchanged vows at the Grand Floridian's wedding pavilion, a chapel overlooking Cinderella Castle and the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney World. The reception was held at Epcot's Italy Isola, in a nod to the couple's Italian heritage.
Their choice of venue is ironic considering the Florida governor's recent feud with Disney over the Parental Rights in Education Act. Dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill by critics, it bans instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade. After DeSantis signed the bill into law in March, Disney, which has championed gay rights since the 1990s, said it would work toward its repeal. In response, DeSantis asked the legislature to send him a bill stripping Disney of its self-governing status starting in June 2023.
In an interview with SiriusXM Patriot radio that aired February 27, DeSantis acknowledged that their Disney World wedding ended up being "kind of ironic," according to a transcript and recording shared with Insider's Kimberly Leonard.
"We never would have thought that how many years later we would be tussling with Disney in a political office," he said. "But life can be unpredictable."
September 2011: DeSantis dedicated his book, "Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama," to his wife.
Intended as a takedown of former president Barack Obama and his policies, the book's title is a play on Obama's first memoir, "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance."
In "Dreams From Our Founding Fathers," DeSantis criticized the "expansion of government on virtually every level" during Obama's presidency, and wrote that Obama had a "palpable cockiness." It's not a memoir — the book's only personal reference is in its dedication, which reads, "To Casey," Insider's Kimberly Leonard reported.
Few hard copies remain in circulation, but online versions are available.
DeSantis' forthcoming memoir, "The Courage to Be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival," will feature more personal stories about the governor's early life, military service, and marriage to Casey.
January 2013: Casey held the Bible as DeSantis was sworn into the House of Representatives.
DeSantis was elected to represent Florida's 6th district in the US House of Representatives in 2013. He resigned in 2018 while running for governor of Florida, The Washington Post reported.
November 2016: The couple welcomed their first child, a girl named Madison.
"Casey and I are so happy to welcome our daughter Madison, who was born 7 lbs, 7 ounces and very healthy," DeSantis posted on his official Facebook page. "Mom and baby are doing great. What a blessing!"
January 2018: While seven months pregnant with their second child, Casey gave an introductory speech at the kickoff rally for DeSantis' campaign for governor of Florida.
In her speech, Casey described her husband as a "man of integrity" and "someone who I've had the pleasure of watching up close, far away, in front of the cameras, behind the cameras, and at home with his daughter and soon-to-be son."
March 2018: Their son, Mason, was born.
"Casey and I are blessed to welcome our son Mason Joseph DeSantis. 8lbs, 4oz and very strong! Both baby and mom are doing great," he wrote on Twitter.
July 2018: Casey appeared in an ad highlighting Donald Trump's endorsement of her husband.
In the ad, Casey touted him as not only a candidate backed by President Donald Trump, but an "amazing dad," Insider's Cheryl Teh reported.
The video showed DeSantis encouraging his daughter, Madison, to "build the wall" by stacking toy bricks, reading "The Art of the Deal" to son Mason, and teaching Madison to read the words "Make America Great Again" from a Trump campaign sign.
"I think a lot of people looked at it, and they thought it was funny. They saw the humor," Casey said in a 2018 interview with WJXT, her former news station. "You have to understand, in context, perspective, when this ad was coming out, there was $17 million in negative attack ads coming out against Ron. False, fake terrible attack ads. So how did we respond? With humor. We had some fun, and I think a lot of people got the joke."
January 2019: Casey held the Bible (and Mason) as DeSantis was sworn in as governor of Florida.
The couple opted not to hold the traditional inaugural parade after the swearing-in ceremony. Instead, they held their son Mason's baptism at the governor's mansion with water they collected from the Sea of Galilee on a trip to Israel, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The Tampa Bay Times also reported that the cleaning crew at the governor's mansion accidentally threw out the leftover water from the baptism, which they had kept in an unlabeled water bottle.
"We're not used to having people pick up for us," DeSantis said while visiting Boca Raton a few weeks later. "I think the folks who clean didn't realize what it was."
March 2020: Their third child, a daughter named Mamie, was born.
"Ron and I are beyond blessed to welcome our new baby girl, Mamie to the world," Casey posted on Twitter. "At 7 lbs 4 oz she was the smallest of the bunch, but she is already holding her own. Madison and Mason are so excited for their new baby sister!"
October 2021: DeSantis announced that Casey had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
"As the mother of three young children, Casey is the centerpiece of our family and has made an impact on the lives of countless Floridians through her initiatives as First Lady," DeSantis said in a statement. "As she faces the most difficult test of her life, she will not only have my unwavering support but the support of our entire family, as well as the prayers and well wishes from Floridians across our state. Casey is a true fighter, and she will never, never, never give up."
March 2022: DeSantis shared a video announcing that after treatment and surgery, Casey had been declared cancer-free.
"All of you who have given thoughts and prayers to my family and my wife, thank you," he said in the video released by the Governor's Press Office. "It's lifted her spirits and made a tremendous difference. For all the women out there who are going through breast cancer right now — you can overcome this. I know it's very difficult, but my wife is proof positive, and this is the exact type of news we had hoped for. She still has more to do, but I'm confident she's going to make a full recovery."
October 2022: Casey appeared in an emotional ad for DeSantis' reelection campaign sharing how her husband cared for her and her family during cancer treatments.
The ad, which the DeSantis campaign told Insider's Kimberly Leonard was unscripted, was released on the one-year anniversary of Casey's diagnosis.
"When I was diagnosed with cancer and I was facing the battle for my life, he was the dad who took care of my children when I couldn't," she said in the ad. "He was there to pick me off of the ground when I literally could not stand. He was there to fight for me when I didn't have the strength to fight for myself."
November 2022: DeSantis called Casey "the greatest first lady in all 50 states" in his reelection victory speech.
In his victory speech, DeSantis thanked Casey for "being a great wife, giving unwavering support, being a tremendous mother to our three young children, and serving as an example for women throughout this state, especially going through the battle of cancer."
"She is remarkable," he added.
February 2023: DeSantis released his second book, "The Courage to Be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival," with a nod to Casey in the dedication.
Insider's Kimberly Leonard reported that the book's dedication reads: "To Madison, Mason, and Mamie: Remember to always listen to your mother."
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