They very briefly met eachother for the first time when her then-husband introduced her to Kerry on the steps of the Capitol. A year after Heinz' death they met again during the Earth Summit in Brazil. After their third meeting, at a diner in Washington, yet another year later, Kerry, the decorated Vietnam hero, gave her a ride home and asked her if she'd ever seen the marker for the victims of Vietnam in the dark.
"Some people were praying, others were crying. He didn't say a word." That's the way she remembers that evening.
Kerry and her started to meet eachother more and more often while he was divorcing from his first wife, and while he was having short affairs with women like the actresses Morgan Fairchild and Cartherine Oxenberg. She describes him as 'nervous', but by 1955 they were married. "I'd have slapped him if he hadn't proposed me." she says.
One of their five stepchildren said that the joining of the two families took a bit of a struggle at first. Heinz Kerry herself admits that she 'needed a lot of attention'. It was only after Kerry became persidental candidate that she started using his name.
"For politics I'm Teresa Heinz Kerry but to be honest, I don't give a damn about it" she says. (She adds that a force term is a good way to get rid of tensions.)
A bigger problem for her husband was the fact that she was registrated on the votinglist as a republican. She wanted to marry him, but she didn't really felt like tranferring to democrat. She only did this last year and not all too enthousiasticly at that. "I'd rather be an independant, but then I couldn't vote for my husband."
Political analists have already noted that Heinz Kerry could be the Sharon Osbourne of the First Ladies.
"She's unpredictable" says Frank Lutz (an opinion poller for the republicans) "I think she'll be really controversial. The Republicans won't even have to do anything, they'll just have to wait for her to screw up."
The republicans deny that they'd attack Kerry for his wife and limit themselves to the question if it's 'appropriate' that he 'involves his wife in the day to day dynamics of the campaign'. But it is of course always possible that they're only waiting for a 'Muskie-moment'. When senator Muskie in the beginning of the seventies was a presidential candidate, and the republicans spread the news that his wife was an alcolic, he fought back with a speech in which he defended her passionately. At the end of the speech, he burst out in tears and his campaign was over.
Few people could ever imagine Kerry to show that much emotions. Still there have been moments that he's allowed people to notice that his wife made him nervous. During their first combrined interview in 2002 for the Washington Post Kerry was telling about how it had been a long time since he'd had nightmares about his experiences in Vietnam. he could barely hold in his irritation when Heinz Kerry grabbed for her head the next moment and imitated him while he had a flashback: "Down! Down! Down!" She was advised to take better care of her words. But like a former advisor admits: "In practice you can't controll her."
When a reporter asked her for example if she'd signed a weddingcontract before she married Kerry, she answered instantly. "Of course I did, doesn't everyone? When you got three children from a former marriage, could you actually go without a contract?" on the subject of Cosmetic chirgurie she once said "that she would do it if it became necessery." this after she'd already declared that she felt it was time for a new Botox cure. And then there was that time that she compared her husband with a good wine that takes time to ripen. "After that he starts tasting good and you can really enjoy him." she said, and she adds to that that John Kerry has now reached that stage.
Not really all that spectacular maybe, but the results of the presidential elections in november will be tight and the bad state of the American economy will undoubtedly be one of the key points, along with the concern over the national security.
In the past four years almost 3 million Americans lost their jobs. John Kerry can't win without the votes from the workers of the Midwest, states like Ohio, Michigan and Misouri, where need is the highest. Those workers have lost their trust in George Bush, for whome they voted in 2000.
But they have no interest (or money) for things like marriage contracts, cosmetic surgery, Botox or fine wines.
Now that the US politics is so divided, a lot of watchers predict that the campaigns will be hard as nails. Heinz Kerry will undoubtedly be taken under fire. Does this scare her? She brushes a chestnut lock out of her face and smiles.
"Scared? I lived in a dictatorship. At the end of the fifties I protested against Apartheid. What am I supposed to be scared of? I hold a mirror up for my critics so they can see their own face. They can drag me as low as they want, but they won't pull me with them."
Heinz Kerry knows very well that she has an even more powerful weapon than that mirror. According to the federal legislation she's allowed to donate at the most 2.000 dollars to her husbands campaign, but when she's personally attacked, she has full right to use her gigantic fortune to defend herself. "If someone disputes my honor or that of my family I'll fight to repair it."