Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) finally spoke Friday about the peculiar story of his relationship with 24-year-old aspiring swimsuit model Victoria Brink.
Cohen told “CBS This Morning” that he was “totally stunned” by the results of a paternity test revealing that he was not Brink’s father, as he had thought for the last three-plus years.
Cohen’s relationship with Brink first came to light when he tweeted at her during the State of the Union address earlier this year. The age difference (Cohen is 64, and a life-long bachelor) and Brink’s modelling career led to questions, before Cohen revealed that she was his daughter.
But when a CNN-performed paternity test proved otherwise, the Congressman explained that he had never had scientific evidence of paternity, and had instead assumed Brink was the result of his affair with Houston lawyer Cynthia Sinatra because “the maths seemed right.”
Cohen said he had never felt the need for hard evidence to prove their relationship.
“I didn’t have children, I was thrilled to have a daughter, and I didn’t want in any way at all for her to think that I was questioning the relationship or trying to avoid the relationship,” he told CBS.
A spokesman for Cohen also told CNN that Brink’s mother had confirmed Cohen was the father of her daughter.
On Thursday, Cohen got into another snafu with his response to a female reporter looking for updates on the paternity testing:
Just asked Rep. Cohen about the paternity test developments and he told me: “You’re very attractive, but I’m not talking about it.”
— Caitlin Huey-Burns (@CHueyBurnsRCP) July 18, 2013
Cohen apologized and addressed his followers:
2 those who have been understanding/supportive thru this drama(NOT scandal) thank you!difficult to endure,and with press-worse!#Memphis rest
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) July 19, 2013
Though he’s not sure he and Brink will continue to have a relationship, Cohen said they had texted Thursday, and that he had enjoyed the time they spent together.
“I care about Victoria greatly. I have pictures of her in my office,” he said. “She’s a very sweet young lady. For three and a half years, I had a daughter, and it was nice to care about somebody and share.”
Watch the full “CBS This Morning” interview below:
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.