First term congresswoman has denied allegations of an extramarital affair.
Minnesota U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, long dogged by questions about her personal life, filed for divorce Friday from her second husband, Ahmed Hirsi, according to court documents filed in Hennepin County District Court.
The divorce papers, filed on her 37th birthday, cite an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship” with Hirsi, a man with whom she has been romantically involved since she was 19. The divorce was filed more than a month after a woman in Washington, D.C., accused her of having an affair with her husband.
Omar and Hirsi, a former Minneapolis City Council aide, have three children together, although they did not legally wed until 2018. She is seeking joint legal custody of the children, ages 16, 13 and 7.
Her attorney, Jaime Driggs, said in a statement Monday that “Just like any other family navigating this kind of transition, Ilhan wishes to have their privacy respected for themselves and their children and will not be commenting any further.”
The statement also says that their marriage has “been the object of speculation and innuendo from political opponents and the media,” and “taken a significant toll” on the family.
The court filings indicate that she signed the divorce petition while in the west African nation of Burkina Faso, where she was on an unannounced trip.
Hirsi was not immediately available for comment Monday.
In August, a Washington, D.C., physician alleged in divorce filings that her husband, national political consultant Tim Mynett, left her after becoming romantically involved with Omar, a client of his fundraising business. Omar denied an affair with Mynett.
This is Omar’s second split from Hirsi. They applied for a marriage license in 2002 when Omar was 19, though they were never legally married until last year, before she made history as the first Somali-American, and one of the first two Muslim women, to serve in Congress.
After they had two children together, she married another man, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi. She later returned to Hirsi and had a third child with him.
The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board fined Omar earlier this year for using campaign funds to pay a tax lawyer hired to amend joint tax returns she had filed with Hirsi at a time when she was still legally married to Elmi.
This again raised questions about her marriage to Elmi and whether it was sincere or some effort to help Elmi’s immigration status, or even whether Elmi is her brother. She has denied Elmi is her brother but declined to answer any questions about the circumstances of her marriage to him.
Omar is a Minneapolis resident and first term Democrat from the Fifth Congressional District who has rocketed to international fame as an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and Israel’s influence on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
The divorce revelation came a week ahead of Trump’s planned campaign rally Thursday in the heart of her Minneapolis district. Omar and other three other Democratic congresswomen, all women of color, have been feuding for months with Trump, who has sought to make her the face of the Democratic Party.
Although her marriages have proved controversial, divorce is not uncommon in Congress. Several other Minnesota politicians have seen their marriages end while in office in recent decades, including U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, former U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison and the late former Senator Rod Grams.