Cindy McCain

Philanthropist and Businessperson
Born May 20, 1954

Cindy Lou Hensley McCain is an American businesswoman, and philanthropist, and the wife of United States Senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain of Arizona. She was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, as the daughter of wealthy beer distributor Jim Hensley. After receiving bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Southern California, she became a special education teacher.… Read More

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1954 Birth Born on May 20, 1954.


1968 14 Years Old Cindy Lou Hensley was born in Phoenix, Arizona, to James Hensley, who founded Hensley & Co., and Marguerite "Smitty" Hensley (née Johnson). She was raised as the only child of her parents' second marriages and grew up on Phoenix's North Central Avenue in affluent circumstances. (Dixie L. Burd, who is the daughter of Marguerite Smith through a prior relationship, is her half-sister, as is Kathleen Hensley Portalski, daughter of Jim Hensley and his first wife, Mary Jeanne Parks.) Cindy Hensley was named Junior Rodeo Queen of Arizona in 1968.
1972 18 Years Old She went to Central High School in Phoenix, where she was named Best Dressed as a senior and graduated in 1972. … Read More


1978 24 Years Old 1 More Event
She continued on at USC, and received a Master of Arts in special education in 1978.
1979 25 Years Old Hensley met John McCain in April 1979 at a military reception in Hawaii. … Read More
1980 26 Years Old 1 More Event
…  She married John McCain in 1980 and they had three children together, in addition to adopting another. … Read More
1982 28 Years Old Her father's business and political contacts helped John McCain to gain a foothold in Arizona politics. She campaigned with her husband door to door during his successful first bid for U.S. Congress in 1982, and was heavily involved in campaign strategy. … Read More
1983 29 Years Old Once John McCain was elected, the couple moved to Alexandria, Virginia. She spent two months in late 1983 writing handwritten notes on over 4,000 Christmas cards to be sent to constituents and others. … Read More


1984 30 Years Old She moved back to Arizona in early 1984 and gave birth to the couple's daughter, Meghan, later that year.
1986 32 Years Old 1 More Event
She subsequently gave birth to sons John Sidney IV (known as "Jack") in 1986 and James (known as "Jimmy") in 1988. … Read More
1988 - 1989 2 More Events
1992 38 Years Old In 1992, her parents staged an intervention to force her to get help; she told her husband about her problem, attended a drug treatment facility, began outpatient sessions and ended her three years of addiction.
1993 39 Years Old 1 More Event
Surgery in 1993 resolved her back pain.


1994 40 Years Old Meanwhile, in early 1994, Gosinski filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against McCain, in which he alleged she ordered him to conceal "improper acts" and "misrepresent facts in a judicial proceeding"; he told her he would settle for $250,000. … Read More
1995 41 Years Old AVMT concluded its activities in 1995 in the wake of the McCain prescription narcotics controversy. … Read More
Although wary of the media and still having no love for the political world, McCain was active in her husband's eventually unsuccessful campaign for President of the United States in 2000. … Read More
2001 47 Years Old McCain became actively involved with Operation Smile in 2001, taking parts in its medical missions to Morocco, Vietnam and India.


2005 51 Years Old 1 More Event
She was honored by the organization in 2005 and sits on its board of directors.
2007 53 Years Old She was active and visible in her husband's second presidential campaign during 2007 and 2008, despite not wanting her husband to run initially due to bad memories of their 2000 experience and worries the effect on her children, especially son Jimmy who was headed to serve in the Iraq War. … Read More
She participated in both of her husband's presidential campaigns and, in 2008, drew both positive and negative scrutiny for her appearance, demeanor, wealth, spending habits, and financial obligations. … Read More
Continuing her humanitarian aid work with a January 2009 trip to Dubai, India, and Cambodia, she said that she was relieved that the campaign was over and that, while it had been "wild and nuts" at times, it had also been "a remarkable experience to be a contender for the highest office in the land." … Read More
2010 56 Years Old During her husband's eventually successful 2010 senatorial re-election campaign, she rarely made public appearances.
2011 57 Years Old McCain appeared in March 2011 alongside Eastern Congo Initiative founder Ben Affleck to testify before a panel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on behalf of continued monetary assistance to the Democratic Republic of Congo, in an environment where the Republican-controlled House was looking to make significant cuts to foreign aid.
2012 58 Years Old She has noted the difficulty of getting attention to some of the topics she feels most strongly about; at a Futures Without Violence summit in 2012, she said, "When I talk about rape in Congo, people turn their backs and run, especially the men."
2013 59 Years Old In late 2013 and early 2014, McCain used the occasion of Super Bowl XLVIII to highlight her concerns about sex trafficking in the United States, an issue that she had begun working on in conjunction with The McCain Institute. … Read More


2015 61 Years Old 1 More Event
In April 2015, during the Sedona Forum, Cindy McCain and actress Demi Moore discussed ways to end sex trafficking. … Read More
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