Jimmy Carter’s Wife: All About Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter – Hollywood Life

Rosalynn Carter: Everything To Know About Jimmy Carter’s Wife & The Former 1st Lady

Throughout his political career, Rosalynn Carter has been by Jimmy's side. Find out everything you need to know about the former First Lady here.

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Image Credit: The Carter Center/Everett Collection

  • Rosalynn Carter was the first lady during former President Jimmy Carter’s term from 1977 until 1981.
  • Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter have been married for over 70 years.
  • Jimmy Carter announced that he would begin undergoing hospice care in a statement on Saturday, February 18.

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has been by her husband former President Jimmy Carter’s side for decades. Throughout Jimmy’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns, Rosalynn, 95, supported him, and she became a public figure and outspoken activist during her husband’s administration. She lent her voice to a number of different causes and became an outspoken advocate on a wide variety of issues.

The former president, 98, announced that he would begin to receive hospice care with his family by his side in a statement from the Carter Center on Saturday, February 18. ” After a series of short hospital stays, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter today decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention. He has the full support of his family and his medical team. The Carter family asks for privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers,” the organization said in a statement. Find out everything you need to know about Rosalynn and her marriage to Jimmy here.

Rosalynn and Jimmy have been married for over 70 years. (The Carter Center/Everett Collection)

Rosalynn & Jimmy Got Married In 1946

Born in 1927, Rosalynn Smith’s family were already friendly with the Carter family, before the future president and first lady started going out in 1945. The couple started dating while Jimmy attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, with their romance beginning when he was home during a break, per The White House archives. The couple ended up tying the knot the following year, and moving to Norfolk, Virginia where Jimmy was stationed. The same year that they got married, Rosalynn also graduated from Georgia Southwestern College, via The Carter Center. 

She Has Four Children With The Former President

The couple had four children long before Jimmy began his presidential campaign. The pair welcomed their first child Jack, 75, in 1947, a year after they got married. The pair welcomed their second son James Earl “Chip,” 72, in 1950. They had their third son Jeff, 70, in 1952, and the pair welcomed their only daughter Amy, 55, in 1967.

Jimmy and Rosalynn dance at his inaugural ball. (Everett Collection)

With all of their kids being all grown up, the former first lady is also a grandmother and great-grandmother to 22 children as of 2015. “So, we try to hold our family together and just enjoy the family life,” she told CNN at the time.

She’s Been A Strong Advocate For Mental Health

One of Rosalynn’s key focuses during her time in the public eye has been on mental health work. The first lady was a member of both the Governor’s Commission (when her husband was the governor of Georgia) and President’s Commission on Mental Health, according to the JFK Library. Her work with the commission helped pass the Mental Health Systems Act in 1979. “The mental health problems facing our country are the problems of all citizens. The people with these problems are ourselves, our families, our neighbors and our friends,” she said in a testimony to the Senate to help get the law passed.

The former fist lady continued her work, long after her husband’s time in office, and she was even honored by the American Psychological Association in 2010. In a piece commemorating her honor, she revealed that she was inspired to pursue the issue when meeting with a woman who was caring for a daughter struggling with her mental health while on the campaign trail in 1966.

She Co-Founded The Carter Center With Her Husband

The Carters pose for a photo with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. (Everett Collection)

After Jimmy Carter’s presidency came to an end, Rosalynn and her husband were partners in starting the non-profit The Carter Center. The organization works to protect human rights and help those suffering, including helping with the mental health issues that Rosalynn has shown that she’s incredibly passionate about.

The non-partisan organization has listed its mission on its website, including how it tries to help people that are struggling. “The Center believes that people can improve their own lives when provided with the necessary skills, knowledge, and access to resources,” the organization says in part. “The Center values the courage to break new ground, fill vacuums, and address the most difficult problems in the most difficult situations.”

She’s Written Five Books

Aside from her humanitarian work and her time as the first lady, Rosalynn has written five books, which cover a wide array of topics. Her first book First Lady From Plains was an autobiography, published in 1984. Her second book Everything To Gain was co-written with her husband and it focused on their relationship. Her third book was a guide for caregivers called Helping Yourself Help Others. Her final two books both focused on mental health, with the most recent one being 2010’s Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis.