On Aug. 10, 2021, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he was resigning amid a sexual harassment scandal and that he would officially leave office in two weeks. It was also announced that Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul would be sworn in at that time to replace him.
Soon, Hochul’s name went viral on social media for more than just the feat of becoming New York’s first female governor. A false rumor began to circulate claiming that she was U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s stepsister:
There is no truth to this rumor. Pelosi and Hochul are not stepsisters.
Pelosi didn’t have any sisters (or stepsisters). She was the youngest child and had five older brothers. Her parents, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr. and Annunciata “Nancy” D’Alesandro, were married in 1928 and remained married until Thomas’ death in 1987. In other words, Pelosi couldn’t have a stepsister because she never had stepparents.
A 2011 New York Times profile of Hochul noted that the future New York governor grew up as one of six children to parents Jack and Patricia Courtney. When Patricia passed away in 2014, her obituary noted that she was survived by husband Jack. In other words, Hochul doesn’t have any stepsisters because she doesn’t have any stepparents.
This is not the first time that a false rumor has been circulated in an attempt to create a familial relationship where there was none. For example, Rep. Adam Schiff’s sister is not married to George Soros’ son, Chelsea Clinton is not married to Soros’ nephew, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is not Soros’ niece.