David Petraeus’ biographer, Paula Broadwell, is presumed to have begun her affair with the CIA director as she wrote a book about his life.As his biographer, Broadwell didn’t gloss over what is by all accounts a huge factor in Petraeus’ success: his wife, Holly. “All In: The Education Of General David Petraeus” chronicles how the couple met and fell in love.
Holly’s father was the superintendent of West Point, where Petraeus went to school, and a respected military academic. Petraeus found the status of Holly’s family “intoxicating,” because it was in stark contrast to his own parents, a humble librarian and sea captain, Broadwell wrote.
She had this to say about how the couple met:
“In the fall of 1973, Holly Knowlton was a senior at Dickinson College, a beautiful, smart and witty young woman….On a visit to West Point one football weekend, a friend of the family had hoped to fix her up with a certain cadet to take her to the game. But when he was otherwise engaged, a call was placed to the cadet brigade headquarters to find a replacement…David Petraeus. Not knowing who his blind date was, he agreed to take on this potentially sensitive mission.”
The couple quickly fell in love, according to Broadwell:
“Soon, the two would find themselves commuting to each other’s colleges whenever time allowed, sometimes braving fierce New York snowstorms to spend time together. Petraeus would sneak into the superintendent’s side door to visit Holly when she made the trip back to West Point.”
Holly’s family had a huge, sprawling estate. Her father referred to Petraeus as his “military father” and his “fourth son.”
But Holly didn’t just boost Petraeus’ career with her family connections, according to Broadwell. She also played a huge role in supporting him when he was deployed.
“(Holly) is a symbol of the strength and dedication of families around the globe who wait at home for their loved ones while they’re engaged in critical work in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, she has hung tough while I’ve been deployed for over five-and-a-half-years since 9/11,” Petraeus is quoted as saying.
Holly has also reportedly moved 23 times since she married Petraeus.
Today, she’s a director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She has said that she wants to help other young couples stay out of debt, something she and her husband struggled with for years after buying a sports car, big home and Foosball table right after they married.
So far, Holly has been silent on her husband’s affair.
An ex-CIA spokesperson said that his wife is so angry over the affair that “furious would be an understatement.”
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