She had her whole future mapped out when she met Ted Cruz, starting with her dream job in Washington. This is the story of what came after.
A whole new world—that is what Ted Cruz wanted to give her.
It was the spring of 2001, and Heidi Nelson was planning her nuptials to the man she’d met just over a year earlier. On Christmas break from Harvard Business School, she’d encountered the cocky and cerebral Cruz in Austin, Texas, where they were both working on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign. He was “super-smart” and “really fun” and looked like a “1950s movie star.” “It was love at first sight,” she told me.
They filled those three weeks with movies and dinners and drives. Then he took her to the airport, where she’d get on a plane back to Boston. Call me every day when your day is done, she instructed him. And he did call her, every day that spring, at about 3 or 4 a.m. Later that summer, Ted gave her a strand of pearls. Probably fake, she still thinks, but they were from Bergdorf Goodman. And this was special: She’d mentioned once that she liked to go to Bergdorf’s, to look at the china and other delicate things behind glass, and he’d listened.