Who is Susie Cleverly?: James Cleverly apologises for controversial joke involving wife

James Cleverly made a joke about his wife being ‘always mildly sedated’ and has since said sorry.

James Cleverly apologises for date rape joke - who is his wife Susie?
© Pool / Contributeur
James Cleverly apologises for date rape joke - who is his wife Susie?

James Cleverly has been in hot water since taking over as Home Secretary following Suella Braverman’s dramatic exit from the role. Back in December 2023, it came out that he had made some comments about his marriage that brought forth a great wave of criticism for the politician.

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The Sunday Mirror reported that he told female guests at a Downing Street event that ‘a little bit of Rohypnol in her drink every night’ was ‘not really illegal if it’s only a little bit’. It goes from bad to worse: he followed this up by saying that the secret to a long marriage is to be with ‘someone who is always mildly sedated so she can never realise there are better men out there’.

He has since apologised for the remarks, which came just hours after the government announced a crackdown on spiking drinks. There were calls for him to resign from women's rights group Fawcett Society, who called his comments about his treatment towards his wife ‘sickening’.

Although the drama surrounding his misplaced banter has since subsided, it has left many wondering: who is James Cleverly’s wife, Susie Cleverly?

Susie and James’ relationship

Susie and James met at university, where the latter was studying a degree in hospitality management. This was in 1991, and the pair went on to become a couple. Susie gave up her job in an IT training company when she and James had their first son Freddie together, and the pair later got married in 2000. They then went on to have a second child, Rupert.

When asked what his wife had made of his remarks, James replied:

Well, I've said what I've got to say about that. I have apologised. Obviously the conversations are private conversations that I have with my wife. I'm going to keep those private, if you don't mind.

Susie Cleverly’s battle against cancer

This is not the first time that people have been talking about Susie, but the last time she made so many headlines was unfortunately for a very sad reason: she was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2021.

Thankfully, she went straight to seek medical help. She posted on Instagram to explain what had happened:

Luckily I caught it early...I didn't find a lump, I found puckering of my skin, fortunately I knew this to be a sign and went straight to my Doctor.

At the time, James Cleverly has said he was forced to ‘confront’ the real possibility of losing his wife. He said he ‘couldn’t speak’ and would never have taken the role of Foreign Secretary at the time had he known he would have to work while Susie underwent chemotherapy. Despite her health struggles, James has said his wife has always been very ‘supportive’ of his career.

However, Susie has since recovered and now does a lot of work in raising awareness around breast cancer. She had helped fundraise for breast cancer research for Foreign Sisters UK, a branch of Cancer Research UK.

Now, she is thankfully cancer-free and has taken the best from this experience. She says she now ‘embraces’ everything life has to offer:

You can always be waiting for something better or something different to be around the corner, but anything can happen in the blink of an eye that changes everything. And that made me think, this is my life.

We’ll probably never know what Susie said to James, but one thing is for sure: she is a very strong woman!

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Sources used:

Daily Mail: Who is James Cleverly's wife Susie? Meet the spouse of UK's Home Secretary as he faces calls to quite after joke about date-rape drug

The Standard: James Cleverly sorry for date rape 'joke' and defends Home Office work on spiking drinks

The Guardian: James Cleverly facing calls to resign after joke about date rape drug

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