“I need to find a way of kind of moving forward with my life, having this baby,” Katie Hill, 34, said.
The pregnancy announcement and photo shoot is her first appearance in the public eye since her resignation.
Katie Hill left office less than a year after being sworn in, when it was revealed that she carried on an affair with a staffer — an affair made all the more memorable by the release of nude photos, in which the California Democrat was seen smoking a bong.
Now, Hill told Vanity Fair, she is looking forward to beginning a new chapter of her life.
“You still have to have that hope that things are gonna work out,” she said. “And I think I’m choosing to read it as a positive sign that I got pregnant when I wasn’t supposed to be able to and that this can be kind of that next chapter of my life. Right now, all I want is a healthy baby […] Other things would be icing on the cake.”
Tough Times for Katie Hill
The scandal and ensuing fallout that led to her resignation were only the beginning of a hard couple of years for the former congresswoman.
In January 2020, some three months after her intimate photos were a national news story, Hill’s brother died of a drug overdose. Later that year, she finalized a messy divorce with ex-husband Kenneth Heslep, who she has accused of disseminating the nude photos.
A series of civil suits Katie Hill filed against two media outlets that published the photos, Daily Mail and RedState, and three individuals, including Heslep, ended in defeat.
Courts ruled that the parties had not violated state and federal laws against “revenge porn” — the non-consensual sharing of nude images — and that their actions were protected under the first amendment.
Hill was ordered to pay the legal fees of the parties she sued, to the tune of $400,000, and the former congresswoman told Vanity Fair she is considering filing for bankruptcy.
But it hasn’t all been bad, Hill said.
Her relationship with the baby’s father Alex Thomas, who she called her “rock,” has kept her going through public humiliation, she said.
Hill met Thomas in Washington when she was still serving in Congress, while he was working as a reporter for Playboy.
The relationship, which began just after Hill separated from her ex-husband and which she told Vanity Fair she originally considered a “rebound,” also drew public scrutiny.
Hill reflected at length on the circumstances of her departure from office and the end of her once-promising political career.
“I know I have my own responsibility…. I don’t ever want to take away from that,” she mused. “I also felt like there was a fundamental injustice here that happened and could only happen to a woman.”
Hill also said she feared that the public scandal surrounding her nude photos would set a bad precedent for women in public life.
“I was the first very big public case of a public official who had this happen and especially weaponized politically,” she said. “And I think that for me, it was like, Oh, my God, there are so many people who this could happen to. It’s going to stop women, especially young women, from running for office.”
Katie Hill did not say when she expects the baby to arrive, though the pregnancy shoot suggests she’s rather far along.
The child will be her first.