Jacinda Ardern, Former New Zealand Prime Minister, Is Married


She steered New Zealand through volcanic eruptions, terrorist attacks and a pandemic, won her party a record-breaking majority and, at age 37, became the world’s youngest female head of government.

Yet from her earliest appearances on the world stage, fans and watchers of Jacinda Ardern, 43, the former New Zealand prime minister who announced her resignation almost exactly a year ago, have time and again returned to the same question: whether and when she and Clarke Gayford, 47, her television presenter fiancé, would tie the knot.

On Saturday, they finally got their answer, when the couple released official wedding portraits to the news media.

The ceremony, which took place at the Craggy Range vineyard, in New Zealand’s spectacular Hawke’s Bay, follows one canceled effort and more than five years of media speculation. In January 2019, a BBC interviewer made headlines when she pressed Ms. Ardern on whether she and Mr. Gayford would marry, or whether she would consider proposing to Mr. Gayford if he did not pop the question, prompting accusations of sexism. Since then similar questions have dogged Ms. Ardern.

The couple, who have been together for a decade and who have a 5-year-old daughter, Neve Ardern-Gayford, met in 2012. They announced their engagement in May 2019 — after a student journalist spotted a sparkly ring on Ms. Ardern’s finger and asked her office about it.

But the busy couple had not managed to marry before the coronavirus pandemic struck in early 2020, when New Zealand’s particularly stringent response, led by Ms. Ardern, resulted in the country closing its borders and imposing a strict lockdown.

Then a wedding planned for January 2022 was canceled just days before it was to take place, as Ms. Ardern imposed nationwide restrictions limiting the number of people at any event to 100 to counter the effects of a wave of the Omicron variant.

“I am no different to, dare I say it, thousands of other New Zealanders who have had much more devastating impacts felt by the pandemic, the most gutting of which is the inability to be with a loved one sometimes when they are gravely ill,” she said, at a news conference announcing the restrictions at the time. “That will far, far outstrip any sadness I experience.”

Quizzed on wedding plans a few months later, Ms. Ardern said it was not at the top of her list. “It’s happening sometime,” she told a New Zealand radio show. “We haven’t set an exact date, but that is actually, more than anything, just down to us getting ourselves organized.”

When Ms. Ardern announced her resignation in January 2023, she gave few clues about her future career plans, which have involved being a trustee for Prince William’s Earthshot Prize and a fellowship at Harvard University.

But she did make one public promise to Mr. Gayford, whom she thanked for his support and his sacrifices. “To Clarke,” she said, “let’s finally get married.”



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