Teresa Heinz Biography

Teresa Heinz is a businesswoman and philanthropist from America. Check out this biography to know about her birthday, childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about her.

Quick Facts

Birthday: October 5, 1938

Nationality: American, Mozambican, Portuguese

Famous: Family Members American Women

Age: 81 Years, 81 Year Old Females

Sun Sign: Libra

Also Known As: Maria Teresa Thierstein Simões-Ferreira

Born Country: Mozambique

Born in: Maputo, Mozambique

Famous as: Wife of John Kerry


Spouse/Ex-: John Kerry (m. 1995), John Heinz (m. 1966–1991), John Kerry (m. 1995)

father: José Simões Ferreira Júnior

mother: Irene Thierstein

children: André Heinz, Christopher Heinz, H. John Heinz IV

Notable Alumni: University Of Geneva

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education: University of Geneva, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

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Teresa Heinz or Teresa Heinz Kerry is a businesswoman and philanthropist from America. She was previously married to former U.S. Senator John Heinz. After his death in 1991, she married former U.S. Secretary of State, long-time U.S. Senator, and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, John Kerry, in 1995. She was born in a multi-cultural, affluent family in the erstwhile colony of Portuguese Mozambique. In 1960, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Romance languages and literature from the University of the Witwatersrand. Three years later, she received her graduate degree from the School of Translation and Interpretation at the University of Geneva and subsequently relocated to the United States to serve as an interpreter at the United Nations. She was married to Heinz from 1966 to 1991 and had three sons with him. At present, she oversees several Heinz foundations, donating money through them to various social and environmental causes. A beneficiary of her late husband's trusts, Teresa is an extremely wealthy and powerful woman. For the most part of her voting life, Teresa had been a registered Republican. That changed in the early 2000s when she registered as a Democrat.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Born Maria Teresa Thierstein Simões-Ferreira on October 5, 1938, in the city of Lourenço Marques (later renamed Maputo) in the colony of Portuguese Mozambique (The Republic of Mozambique since 1975), Teresa was the daughter of Dr. José Simões-Ferreira and his Portuguese-British wife Irene Thierstein. Her father was an oncologist and tropical disease specialist from Portugal. Her maternal grandfather, Irene Thierstein’s father, was a descendant of a Swiss-German family residing in Malta. His wife was the half-French, half-Italian daughter of an Alexandrian shipowner who had built a professional relationship with the Russians during the Crimean War.
  • After earning a high-school diploma, she enrolled at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, to study Romance languages and literature, eventually receiving a B.A. degree from there. She then attended the School of Translation and Interpretation at the University of Geneva and obtained her graduate degree in 1963. Later, she migrated to US and started working as an interpreter at the United Nations. Besides her native Portuguese, she can also communicate in English, Spanish, French, and Italian. She was raised as a Roman Catholic.
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Marriage to John Heinz
  • Teresa met John Heinz while he was a student at Harvard University, during summer break. They continued dating while he graduated and enlisted in the United States Air Force Reserve. The couple got married on February 5, 1966, at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's gothic Heinz Chapel on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Teresa gave birth to their son, Henry John Heinz IV, on November 4, 1966. He was followed by André Thierstein Heinz on December 9, 1969, and Christopher Drake Heinz on March 20, 1973. Teresa received her US citizenship in 1971.
  • The heir to the H. J. Heinz Company, Heinz joined politics as a member of the Republican party in 1971 and was elected to the US Senate from Pennsylvania in 1976. He was killed on April 4, 1991, when the Piper Aerostar with him aboard flew right into a Sun Co. Aviation Department Bell 412 helicopter.
Marriage to John Kerry
  • Teresa and John Kerry met for the first time in 1990 at an Earth Day rally. There is no report of them meeting again before Heinz’s death. In 1992, Kerry crossed her path again at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the time, she was serving as a member of a State Department delegation appointed by then-President George H. W. Bush. Sometime in 1993, they started dating. On May 26, 1995, they tied the knot in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
  • In December 2009, Teresa informed the media that she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She also hinted that several lumpectomies had been performed on her and she was going to receive a targeted type of radiation therapy treatment called accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI). In July 2013, she was admitted to a hospital after demonstrating signs of seizure. She received treatment at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston before returning to her home and recovering there.
Philanthropic Activities
  • Heinz serves as the chairperson of the Heinz Endowments and the Heinz Family Philanthropies, through which she provides financial support to various environmental and social causes. She is also affiliated with several women's economic security programs. For her philanthropy and activism, she has been awarded honorary degrees by 12 different institutions.
  • Teresa and Kerry have a prenuptial agreement between them, and their assets are maintained separately. She has not released her full tax returns, mentioning family trusts and privacy as her issues. According to one estimate, she is worth somewhere between $750 million and $1.2 billion.
Political Affiliation
  • Teresa did not change her political allegiance immediately despite marrying one of the most prominent Democrats in the country at the time. However, when Kerry began his presidential campaign in 2004, she became a registered Democrat. She has maintained the legal name “Teresa Heinz” but considers “Teresa Heinz Kerry” to be her name for politics.

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