In 2020, the news broke that Fox host Sean Hannity and his ex-wife, Jill Rhodes, had actually divorced a year ago after separating several years before that. Then, more news came to light: Apparently Sean has also been engaging in a years-long relationship with one of his cohosts, Ainsley Earhardt.
It’s safe to assume that many of Sean’s viewers believe strongly in the importance and “sanctity” of marriage, so the news is understandably rattling a lot of people. Of course, both Ainsley and Sean have issued pseudo-denials.
Through a Fox spokesperson, Ainsley said, “Right now I am focused on raising my daughter and I am not dating anyone. As anyone at Fox News will tell you, Sean is a wonderful person and whomever he chooses to date will be extremely fortunate.” Ainsley and her ex-husband, Kevin McKinney, divorced in 2009 after four years of marriage.
Rather than issue a denial, Sean Hannity simply issued a statement that neither confirms nor denies anything. “I do not discuss my personal life in public.”
However, a source has reportedly told People that the cohosts are basically an open secret at work. Noting that they’ve “been seeing each other very secretively for years,” the source also added, “He’s very private, because he’s very famous and he’s very controversial but it’s been an open secret that they have been seeing each other.”
Ainsley is even recording episodes for Fox at Sean’s home studio and is believed to be renting a home near his. The source said that their relationship has been going for years, which means they would have been dating while Sean was still legally married. “They’re together all the time, but in private.”
Sean Hannity’s viewers tend to be politically conservative, and they often have pretty strong opinions about what it means to be married and marriage in general. Last year, the Institute for Family Studies noted that in the United States, 62% of self-identified conservatives are married, versus 39% of self-identified liberals and 46% of moderates.
Ainsley and her ex-husband, Kevin, were college sweethearts, having met while they were both attending the University of South Carolina. She began working for Fox in 2007, and when the pair split in 2009, there were rumors that one or both of them had been unfaithful. No one ever confirmed or denied the rumors.
A few years after their divorce, Ainsley married a second time. She and Will Proctor got married in 2012 but filed for divorce in October 2018. Their divorce was finalized in 2019. They share a daughter, Hayden, the child whom Ainsley is ostensibly solely focused on.
In an interview with People, Ainsley noted that she was getting out, but wasn’t too focused on dating. She said that she had “dated a few times and I’ve met some wonderful people, but I think right now I just want to take a step back and just be with Hayden right now.”
Of course, the new rumors really throw this in a different light.
Ainsley has also shared that she’d be open to having more children if it works out. “I’ve never said this publicly, but I have frozen my eggs, so I am prepared if I decide to have more children. I had Hayden so late in my life, and I’m in my 40s, so I would be open to that 1000 percent. If I met someone who had a lot of kids, that would be great.”
Sean Hannity and Jill Rhodes have two adult children, a son named Sean, 21, and a daughter, Merri, 18. If Sean and Ainsley are indeed together, it’s possible the two would be starting all over again in terms of having children.
Sean and Jill announced their divorce last week with a joint statement that emphasized their children are their focus.
“Sean and Jill are committed to working together for the best interests of their children. Amicable agreements were entered into over four years ago between Sean and Jill. They maintain a close relationship as parents to their children. Neither will have any further comments and ask for sake of their children that their privacy be respected.”
If Sean and Ainsley have been carrying on together for “years” as indicated by the source, it’s definitely a move that flies in the face of the conservative views about marriage that Sean Hannity often dishes on his show. As a man who has callously spoken about the marriage rights of others, it’s a bit fascinating that he may have been doing a pretty bad job of being committed to his own marriage in the first place.