On May 20, 2021, Wyoming state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, who is one of the Republican candidates seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in the House of Representatives in 2022, posted a Facebook Live video addressing the fact that when he was 18 years old he had impregnated and later married a minor:
In the emotional video, titled, "Senator Bouchard takes on the fake news media!," Bouchard said, "Bottom line is a story, when I was young, two teenagers, girl gets pregnant, you've heard those stories before. She was a little younger than me. So it's like the 'Romeo and Juliet' story," Bouchard said in the video, at one point stepping away to compose himself.
The comparison to the Shakespeare tragedy set in the 16th century drew fire, namely from people pointing out that because the girl was 14 it amounted to rape.
Bouchard said the marriage ended in a bitter divorce, that his son from that union has "almost become my estranged son," and his ex-wife committed suicide.
Although he lashed out against the "establishment swamp" for researching his family history, Bouchard told the Casper Star-Tribune newspaper he doesn't believe Cheney's campaign was the source of it. Cheney's campaign also told the paper it was not involved in the research.
Bouchard spoke to the Casper Star-Tribune after posting the video, at which time he revealed that he was 18 years old and the girl was 14. They married one year later in Florida. Bouchard also told the paper that his ex-wife committed suicide when she was 20 years old.
The newspaper reported the two were living in Florida at the time, where the age of consent is 18. But they were able to marry because Florida law then allowed people to marry at any age if there was a pregnancy and a judge approved the marriage.
Bouchard is one of the Republicans challenging Cheney in upcoming primaries. Cheney has been the target of GOP ire for refusing to repeat false claims promoted by former U.S. President Donald Trump and his supporters that the 2020 presidential election was beset by massive-scale voter fraud.
Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump for his role inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol with false election-fraud claims, was ousted from her post as one of the top Republicans in the House in early May 2021.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health, suicide or substance use crisis or emotional distress, reach out 24/7 to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) by dialing or texting 988 or using chat services at suicidepreventionlifeline.org to connect to a trained crisis counselor.