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Holly and David Petraeus

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Holly and David Petraeus in 2011

U.S. Gen. David Petraeus and his wife, Holly Petraeus, during an Armed Forces Farewell Tribute and Retirement Ceremony August 31, 2011 at Ft. Myer, Virginia.

Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images
Many years and twenty-three moves later, the marriage of David and Holly Petraeus was in crisis after David's admission to having an affair.
Fast Marriage Facts - David and Holly
Met: 1973.
Married: July 6, 1974.
First Marriage: Yes.

Did You Know?
Holly and David didn't know one another when he agreed to escort her to a football game.

Born:

David Howell Petraeus: November 7, 1952 in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York.

Hollister "Holly" Knowlton: Abt. 1948.

How David and Holly Met:

In the fall of 1973, when David was a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he was asked to escort Holly to a football game. At the time, Holly's father was General William Allen Knowlton, the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy.
David: "While at West Point, I not only received an education and earned a commission, I also met the woman who would become my wife. Indeed, the best decision I ever made was replying, "Sure, happy to do it," when asked if I would escort a visiting coed to a weekend football game ... After some initial trepidation -- on both sides, I might add -- we hit it off. We were married 10 months later, and Holly has been the bedrock of our family ever since."
Source: General David Petraeus. "Military Farewell Retirement Address." AmericanRhetoric.com. 8/31/2011.

Holly and Dave announced their engagement in May 1974.

Wedding Date and Information:

Holly and David were married on July 6, 1974 at West Point's Cadet Chapel.

Children:

Holly and David have two children.
  • Anne Petraeus:
  • Stephen Petraeus:

Residence:

While David and Holly live in Virginia, their official home, a small boathouse with adjacent woodland, is in Springfield, New Hampshire on Lake Kolelemook. Holly inherited the lakeside home from her family.

Occupations:

Holly: Assistant Director for the Office of Servicemember Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), former director of the Better Business Bureau's Military Line.

David: Former CIA director. He retired as a four-star general in August 2011.

President Barack Obama accepted Petraeus's resignation as director of the CIA on November 9, 2012. Petraeus admitted to an extramarital affair that was discovered during an FBI investigation concerning Paula Broadwell. She is Petraeus's biographer and a reserve Army officer. Broadwell is married and has two sons.

Fred Kaplan: "The move no doubt ends the career of the most famous, and perhaps most strategically astute, American military commander in decades ... It had long been rumored that something was going on between Petraeus and Broadwell. Her book, co-written with Vernon Loeb, is widely regarded as a valentine to the general ... In his personal life, he’s always been seen as a straight shooter, a square. Few could have imagined that his end would come as the result of a morals scandal."
Source: Fred Kaplan. "Petraeus Resigns Over Affair With Biographer." Slate.com. 11/09/2012.

Quotes About the Marriage of Holly and David Petraeus:

David: “I know that I can never fully assuage the pain that I inflicted on those closest to me and on a number of others. I can, however, try to move forward in a manner that is consistent with the values to which I subscribed before slipping my moorings and, as best as possible, to make amends to those I have hurt and let down ... life doesn’t stop with such a mistake; it can and must go on.”
Source: Michael R. Gordon. "With Speech, Petraeus Returns to Public Life, 'Keenly Aware' of Altered Reputation." NYTimes.com. 3/25/2013.

David: "I screwed up royally," Petraeus told his longtime Army pal ... in the hand-written missive. "I paid the price (appropriately) and I sought to do the right thing at the end of the day ... Team Petraeus will survive though [I] have obviously created enormous difficulty for us. Holly is, however, once again demonstrating how incredibly fortunate I was to marry her."
Source: Josh Voorhees. "Gen. Petraeus' Apology Tour Begins With a Handwritten Admission: 'I Screwed Up Royally.'" Slate.com. 11/29/2012.

David: "After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours."
Source: David H. Petraeus. "Statement to Employees from General David H. Petraeus (US Army Retired)" CIA.gov. 11/9/2012.

Paula Broadwell: "He is married to Holly Petraeus, who is a wonderful Military spouse and done so much for their children and for children of fallen soldiers, I respect her immensely."
Source: Hugo Gye, James Nye, Beth Stebner, Lydia Warren. "CIA boss David Petraeus forced to quit after FBI investigation found he was cheating on his loyal wife 'with married biographer.'" DailyMail.co.uk. 11/9/2012.

David: "Holly was recently described in an NPR [National Public Radio] profile as small, attractive, smart and a pit bull. I'm sure glad she's been on my side for 37 wonderful years. Needless to say, I'll never be able to adequately express my love and appreciation for all that she has done, but I can at least say here this morning: Thanks, Hol. I love you."
Source: General David Petraeus. "Military Farewell Retirement Address." AmericanRhetoric.com. 8/31/2011.

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