Pete Buttigieg’s Husband Chasten Has an Incredible Backstory
With a win for Pete, Chasten would become First Gentleman of the United States.
By Emma Dibdin Oprah Magazine
Jul 31, 2019
• Tuesday evening’s Democratic primary debate in Detroit found Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, front and center among candidates such as Marianne Williamson and Elizabeth Warren.
• During the debate, he was asked about his stance on student loans considering he’s said he and husband Chasten Buttigieg have over $130,000 in debt. Here’s what he said—plus more about Chasten.
It’s a challenge to keep track of the dozens of candidates running for president in 2020. But one undeniable standout in this crowded field is Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who over the past few months has gone from dark horse to potential frontrunner. If elected, Buttigieg would be the first openly gay president–which would make his husband, Chasten Buttigieg,
Before we get into their backstory, let’s quickly revisit what went down at Tuesday’s Democratic primary debate in Detroit. During the broadcast, he was grilled on his stance on student loans. Pete has previously mentioned that he and Chasten have over $130,000 in student loans. And his proposal is to make public college free of debt for low-income students by turning to Pell grants.
“We can have debt-free college for low and middle-income students by expanding Pell grants and compelling states to pick up more of the burden,” he said during the debate. “On the back end for those who do have a lot of debt, we can make it more affordable and we can expand a public service loan forgiveness program.”
As expected, some folks loved his proposal and others didn’t, but one person who will always have his back is Chasten. Ahead of the debate, he posted a cute photo of them together on Twitter, writing, “Round 2. You’ve got this, P. Love you.”
Pete and Chasten, who were married a year ago, have an incredibly sweet and supportive relationship which has won them–and their dogs–a devoted following of fans. And though it’s still way too early to make any solid predictions about the race, the Buttigiegs are definitely shaping up to be one of 2020’s most compelling political power couples.
Below, a few key facts to know about Chasten.
Chasten Buttigieg had a difficult coming out journey.
Chasten Glezman (his given name) grew up in a working-class family in Michigan, and told The Washington Post that he often felt like a misfit alongside his brothers, who were into playing sports and hunting. “I would be inside reading Harry Potter or singing Celine Dion at the top of my lungs while my mom and I were dusting the cabinets,” he said.
His family’s reaction to his coming out at the age of 18 was not positive. “I don’t recall my parents specifically saying I couldn’t live at home anymore, but I was made to believe I needed to leave,” he told the New York Times. Leaving home was the beginning of a tough period in which Chasten sometimes slept on friends’ couches, and sometimes slept in his car in the parking lot of his community college.
Eventually, his mother called and asked “Will you come home?” Chasten recalled to the Washington Post. “And I cried and I went home immediately.” Though his relationship with his parents improved over time–and they “proudly walked him down the aisle” when he married Pete–he remains estranged from his brothers.
“11 years ago, when I came out, I didn’t think there was a place for me in this world,” he recalled in a tweet in May, as he shared he and Pete’s Time cover story. “10 months ago we said ‘I do.’ 1 month ago we said ‘let’s do this.’”
Chasten and Pete met on a dating app.
A truly relatable modern couple! Pete and Chasten met in the summer of 2015 on Hinge, the app which seems to be rapidly eclipsing Tinder in terms of popularity. At the time, the two were living in different states, but per the Post, Chasten offered to visit Pete in South Bend. Their first meeting sounds like something right out of a romantic comedy–when Chasten got out of his car in front of Pete’s house, they both said “Howdy” at the same time. “So gross,” Chasten remarked to the Post. “But my heart fluttered.”
Their first date carried on in similar rom-com fashion. They bonded over Scotch eggs, as you do, then watched a baseball game, which featured fireworks. “Literally, there were fireworks on our first date,” Chasten told The Times. “It was kind of ridiculous, I know, but I was hooked.”
Pete proposed in an unorthodox location.
Nothing says romance quite like Chicago’s O’Hare Airport! But there’s a story behind Pete’s decision to propose at O’Hare–according to the couple’s Time profile, it was in that airport that Chasten first saw Pete’s dating profile on Hinge.
The couple were married at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. James in South Bend in June of 2018. And if their New York Times wedding announcement is anything to go by, the wedding was incredible:
Tacos from the Rico Suave food truck; sliders from South Bend’s the Beard & the Boss (even the pork was local, provided by Gunthorp Farms, a fourth-generation Indiana operation); beer from South Bend Brew Works; an assortment of regional cheeses from Oh Mamma’s deli; salads from Cafe Navarre; lattes and coffee from Zen Cafe, housed inside LangLab; artisanal chocolates from local Violet Sky chocolatier; specially created ice cream from the Outside Scoop, flavored with honey harvested from community gardens or whiskey from an Indiana distillery.
Yes hi, hello, is there a way for us to go back in time and crash this wedding, please?
Chasten Buttigieg is a dog lover.
One of the many, many, many things we miss about the Obama era is the semi-regular updates from their adorable dogs Sunny and Bo. But there’s a new pair of prospective First Dogs on the horizon, and their names are Truman and Buddy Buttigieg. The couple adopted Truman, a beagle-Labrador mix, in 2017. Buddy, a one-eyed beagle-pug mix, joined their household last year.
Truman and Buddy have a sizable social media following of their own–their Twitter account currently has a following of more than 75k–which is no surprise, because every single update is a joy.
He’s a ray of sunshine on social media.
If you generally find Twitter to be a bottomless pit of despair and rage that leaves you feeling much worse every time you log on, a) you’re not wrong, and b) you need to follow Chasten ASAP. His social feeds are relentlessly positive, even when he’s touching on serious subject matter, and his Twitter generally features a mix of fun updates, premium dog content, and mindfulness tips.
Here’s your plan for the next 2 minutes:
1. Swipe out of Twitter
2. Look out window (bonus pts for going outside)
3. Focus on one beautiful thing
4. Take in every detail (What are it’s features? Color? What’s it doing? How does it make your heart feel?)
5. Mindfulness complete
R. Eric Thomas really summed it up over at Elle when he wrote: “Quite literally, if the relentlessly upbeat potential first spouse ever took a social media break I think I would spiral into a pit of despair that only a glint of light from Michelle Obama’s Balenciaga boots could pull me out of.”
You owe it to yourself to make Chasten’s updates a staple of your social media diet.
He’s incredibly supportive of his husband.
Chasten used to be a junior high school teacher at Montessori Academy in Mishawaka, Indiana, having earned his master’s in education at the nearby DePaul University. But after Pete announced he was running for president, Chasten left his job to support him full-time, and now alternates between joining Pete on the road and taking care of things at home.
But though he’s incredibly supportive now, Chasten has admitted that he wasn’t sure how to react when Pete first announced his plans. “I laughed,” he told the Post. “I was like, ‘No, no, no—are you serious? Okay, what are we thinking here? I love you. I believe in you. You’re amazing. Do you think this would work?’”
More recently, Chasten opened up on Twitter about how he’s dealing with the regular separations from Pete. “Sometimes when he’s on the road and I’m missing him,” Chasten wrote in one tweet, “I just take a deep breath and watch this to remind myself what we’re here for.”
One year ago I married the love of my life. I’m so thankful I found you, Chasten, and can’t wait to spend the rest of our life together.
The couple just celebrated their first wedding anniversary.
“One year ago I married the love of my life,” Pete wrote in an emotional June 16 Twitter update, as he marked his one-year wedding anniversary with Chasten. “I’m so thankful I found you, Chasten, and can’t wait to spend the rest of our life together.”
7:20 AM – Jun 16, 2019
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Meanwhile, Chasten posted some adorable couple pictures, and revealed that he was en route “to find this cute guy on the trail. Can’t believe it’s been one year.”
We know it’s used all the time but, these two really are relationship goals.