Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has accomplished a lot in her 29 years — upending the system, becoming the youngest congresswoman in U.S. history, starring in her own viral dance video. A lot. But there’s one feat her mother would like to see the political star tackle sooner rather than later: marriage.
“I hope they get married soon,” said Blanca Ocasio-Cortez in a wide-ranging interview this week with the Daily Mail. She went on to describe her daughter’s boyfriend, 29-year-old Riley Roberts, as “the most loving, supporting person I’ve seen.”
To which even hard-core AOC fans would be forgiven for asking: Wait, she has a boyfriend?
Try “partner,” her preferred nomenclature. Ocasio-Cortez has made no secret about her relationship with Roberts, whom she met “in true nerdy fashion” at an academic talk while attending Boston University, according to a Vogue profile. The pair have been dating for nearly four years, and the Arizona-born Roberts, a web consultant who gathered signatures for Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign and worked on her early website, has been a constant fixture throughout AOC’s meteoric rise. Thing is, most folks outside of the inner circle had no idea who he was.
A tall, bearded redhead, Roberts is impossible to miss in snapshots of the congresswoman’s high-profile events, including one of him beaming from ear to ear at her swearing-in. But Ocasio-Cortez, who has been frequently targeted for criticism by right-wing activists on Twitter, is understandably private about sharing the details of her personal relationship with her more than 3 million Twitter followers.
The congresswoman did, however, come to Roberts’s defense last month when online rumors suggested that he was on her congressional payroll because Roberts had been given a “mail.house.gov” email address. Ocasio-Cortez explained that the email address allowed Roberts to access her official calendar.
“Congressional spouses get Gcal access all the time. Next time check your facts before you tweet nonsense,” she tweeted.
The congresswoman also called out the Daily Mail in January for offering money to Roberts’s family in exchange for stories about her. It was an example, she tweeted, of women in leadership facing more scrutiny than their male counterparts.
For his part, Roberts has largely remained out of the spotlight, with no discernible social media presence of his own. But his mother may have echoed Ocasio-Cortez’s own in a recent New York Post interview. When she was asked about the potential for wedding bells, Constance Roberts replied coyly, “Everything grandmothers want to have.”