John Oliver — a comedian by craft — has made quite the name for himself as the host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. However, just as impressive is his wife Kate Norley’s accolades. Norley is an Iraqi War veteran, who now works as a veteran rights advocate for Vets for Freedom. She and Oliver dated for two years prior to tying the knot in October 2011.
Oliver — who hails from Birmingham, England — describes his wife as “very American with a capital A,” reported Bustle.
Here’s what you need to know about Norley:
1. She Served in Iraq as an Army Medic & Mental Health Specialist
After attending boarding school at Episcopal High School in Arlington, Virginia, Norley enlisted in the military. She decided to join after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She was with the 1st Cavalry Division of Fort Hood, Texas upon arrival. Norley was a combat medic in Fallujah and a mental health specialist in Ramadi. She provided counsel to soldiers returning back to combat. Despite the danger in Iraq, Norley told Washingtonian on June 1, 2008 that she wanted to remain there until completing her mission.
“If they told me tomorrow I could go home … I wouldn’t be satisfied I’m finished with what I set out to do.”
While there, Norley encouraged young women to help Iraq with its rebuilding efforts. The site reported that Norley — who did 16 months overseas — met with eight University of Baghdad students after US forces captured Saddam Hussein. Washingtonian reported that the college students asked her, “What it is like to be free? To have a president who doesn’t rape and pillage? What can we do”
Norley’s stance on being an American has changed the way Oliver perceives the country, as he told The Globe on September 3, 2015.
“I’m a little more defensive of how America is perceived overseas. America takes a lot of [expletive], much of it well earned, from the rest of the world. And yet when something terrible goes down, people are waiting for Americans to fall out of the sky and help them.”
2. She Has a Boy Named Hudson With Oliver
On November 13, 2015, US Weekly reported that Norley gave birth to a boy named Hudson. It was her and Oliver’s first child.
An HBO representative told E! News that “Everybody is happy and healthy.”
Oliver dished to Vanity Fair in February 2015 that he wanted his children to “speak like him.”
He also spoke to the Daily News about family life with Norley, who’s clearly dealt with worse than what he’d sometimes like to complain about.
I can’t come home and say I had a really tough day at work today and see her roll her eyes and go, ‘Really?’ And she would be like, ‘I can’t imagine how difficult it was for you. You clown!’ Rightly, I have no place to whine about anything. That’s the problem with living with someone who has fought a war. You lose the moral high ground.
3. She Is a Veteran Rights Advocate
Norley serves as a veterans rights advocate for Vets for Freedom (Twitter account shown above), an organization founded in 2006 by the country’s Iraqi and Afghan war veterans. The advocacy group’s purpose is victory in the War on Terrorism. Vets for Freedom supports political candidates that remain consistent with their respective objective.
Oliver commended his wife to MartinsburghCollege.edu for her volunteer efforts and continued support of the military.
“When you’ve married someone who’s been at war, there is nothing you can do that compares to that level of selflessness and bravery.”
4. She Re-Learned to Read & Write Again After Being Hit By a Car
At 16-years-old, Norley was riding her bicycle to a soccer game when she was stuck “by an out of control driver,” reported MartinsburghCollege.edu. The accident left her with a severe head injury that required her to re-learn how to read and write again.
On February 7, Bustle reported that Norley credits her mother — whom she describes as altruistic — for motivating her to serve others.
5. She Met Oliver While He Was Covering the 2008 Republican National Convention
Norley met Oliver while she was working at a veterans campaign in St. Paul, Minnesota. Oliver was there for The Daily Show. She and other veterans kept Oliver — who had limitations due to his immigration status — correspondents, and the camera crew hidden from security. He ran the risk of being deported if he were incarcerated. After the event, Norley and Oliver exchanged emails and the rest is history.