It’s easy to feel bad for the children of presidents. All of the negative attention that a president gets filters down to the kids. “I’ve had so much vitriol flung at me for as long as I can literally remember, people saying awful things to me even as a child,” Chelsea Clinton told The Guardian in 2018.
But Chelsea has learned how to handle the media microscope she’s been under for most of her life with grace. And if you’ve paid attention to Chelsea over the years, you’ve witnessed an absolutely staggering transformation from awkward tween to sophisticated 40-year-old wife and mother of three.
By taking a quick tour through her life, we can see each of these major changes. Here is the amazing transformation of Chelsea Clinton.
Chelsea’s Awkward Tween Phase
If we look back at Chelsea when Bill Clinton first ran for president, she looks practically unrecognizable. Like all 12 year olds, she was going through an awkward tween phase. She wore braces and hadn’t yet mastered the art of makeup. She was probably most known for her wild mane of frizzy red hair.
Still, this was no reason for the press to criticize a child so viciously. How many of us can look back at our middle school yearbook pictures without embarrassment? Chelsea had a rougher time than most, growing up in the global spotlight. But it wasn’t all bad.
Chelsea Meets Her Future Husband at 13
Despite her awkward phase (hey, we all went through it), Chelsea actually met her future husband during this time. When she was just 13 years old, she met Marc Mezvinksy at a political retreat called Renaissance Weekend in Hilton Head, South Carolina in 1993.
The two teenagers had a lot in common. Marc’s parents were also in politics. His mother was a congresswoman at the time, and his father had been a former congressman as well. Chelsea and Marc became friends, and there were rumors of a budding romance.
The world may have given Chelsea a hard time for being a regular teen, but clearly Marc saw something there that would develop years later.
Chelsea’s College Evolution
Chelsea went off to college at Stanford in 1997, where Marc was also studying. He had even given her a tour of Stanford when she was choosing colleges. And she got a stylish new short hairdo to reflect her growing sophistication. She graduated with a degree in history in 2001.
Afterward, Chelsea completed a master’s degree in public health at Columbia and even began teaching there. Finally, she ended up getting a Ph.D from Oxford in international relations. She is clearly one highly educated woman!
By the time Chelsea reached graduate school, she experimented with straightening and lightening her hair. This eventually led to the sleek hairstyle she currently sports.
Chelsea Gets Engaged
Despite those whirlwind studies, Chelsea still found time for romance. She dated writer Ian Krauss for four years, from 2001-2005. But it was not meant to be. Clearly, Marc kept coming into her life for a reason.
She began dating him after her breakup, and in 2009 Chelsea and Marc announced their engagement.
Wedding Bells Ring
Chelsea and Marc got married in August 2010. By all accounts, it was one hell of a ceremony!
Bill Clinton and Chelsea took to the floor for the first dance, and they did so to Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight.” As for Marc? She and Chelsea first danced to the Etta James song “At Last.”
The ceremony was memorable and lovely, and the two departed for a honeymoon in South Africa the next day.
Glowing in Pregnancy
Chelsea and Marc enjoyed a few years of marriage before focusing on starting a family. Chelsea even made a surprising close friend during this time: Ivanka Trump! Chelsea and Ivanka met through their husbands.
But soon enough, Chelsea and Marc were ready to have a family. And in September 2014, she gave birth to their first child, Charlotte.
Even in pregnancy, Chelsea showed a sophisticated level of fashion sense. She looked positively glowing!
Baby Makes Three (And Four, And Five)
Two years after the birth of her first child, Chelsea gave birth to Charlotte’s brother Aidan in 2016. Most recently, she gave birth to another son, Jasper, in July 2019.
If the sheer amount of kids wasn’t enough of a clue, Chelsea has spent much of her time lately focusing on her family. However, she has still found time to be a very prolific author.
Speaking at the DNC
For a long time, Chelsea did a good job of staying out of politics. After all those years of scrutiny, it seems she was happy to simply live her own life outside of the political sphere.
However, during her mother’s presidential bid, Chelsea decided to hop back in the political saddle. And the best example of this is when she spoke to the Democratic National Convention to introduce Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Watching the speech, it’s obvious that Chelsea embodies the best qualities of both her parents. Her speech is polished and poised while still coming off as very passionate and energetic. Only time will tell if she brings this gift of gab to future political concerns.
From Mother to Author
One surprising way that children have changed Chelsea’s life is how they have affected her creative output. Starting a year after the birth of her first child, she released her first children’s book, It’s Your World: Get Informed.
It seems the writing bug really got her, and she followed this with several other children’s books. All of them share one important quality: they focus on empowering children and encouraging them to make a difference in the world.
Fabulous at 40
On Feb 27, 2020, Chelsea Clinton celebrated her 40th birthday. She is proof that awkward teens can grow up to be fabulous, sophisticated, and confident. She, Marc, and their three children live in a breathtaking $10.5 million New York apartment, the perfect place to raise their family.
Like many politicians’ children, Chelsea has been plagued by questions and rumors if she will run for office for most of her life. “Someone has asked me some version of this question for literally as long as I can remember,” she told The View in 2019.
While she has not ruled out running in the future, she has made clear she is not running at the moment. She has focused on writing and raising her children.
When promoting her 2019 book The Book of Gutsy Women, co-authored with her mother, Chelsea was asked what was the gutsiest thing she’s ever done.
“My most important identity now is as my three kids’ mom,” Chelsea said. “So I’m just going to try to be gutsy every day.”