Nikki Haley’s family has an interesting background. She was born to Sikh parents who ran a clothing store, and both her brother and husband have served in the U.S. military.
Haley ascended from South Carolina governor to UN Ambassador. However, on October 9, 2018, it was announced that she was resigning as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Read on to learn more about Haley’s family, including her life before she held office:
1. Haley’s Parents, Ajit Singh & Raj Kaur Randhawa Lived in Punjab, IndiaHaley, who was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa, grew up in Bamberg, South Carolina with her parents Ajit Singh and Raj Kaur Randhawa, immigrants from the Amristar District in Punjab, India.
While living in India, Haley’s father had worked as a professor at Punja Agricultural University, however he opted to leave when he was offered a scholarship from the University of British Columbia. After earning his PhD in 1969, the family moved once again to South Carolina where Ajit accepted a position as a professor at Voorhees college.
When she was just 12 years old, Haley started working with her mother in the family’s clothing shop, the Exotica International Gift Shop, an early introduction to the business world that the South Carolina governor says has heavily influenced her political stance.
2. Her Brother, Mitti, Served in Operation Desert StormHaley’s brother, Mitti, is a retired member of the United States Army Chemical Corps and served in Operation Desert Storm. After he service, Mitti retired as a major from the National Guard Reserve and, most recently, works as a the National Institutional Accounts Director, in charge of several major contracts with University Hospitals across the United States.
Meanwhile, Haley’s other siblings are also finding success in their respective fields.
Her brother, Charan, works as a web designer. Haley’s sister Simran, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, is a life coach and the founder of the Believe Center.
Nikki Haley was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa to Sikh parents. According to The New York Times, she told the newspaper that she was “born and raised with the Sikh faith,” and that she married her husband in the Methodist church.
She told the Times that the couple’s children were baptized in the Methodist Church that the family attends. According to The Times, though, the Haleys had two wedding ceremonies, one that was Sikh and one at a Methodist Church in Hilton Head.
Nikki Haley told the Times she “converted to Christianity” before she married Michael. Her family ran a clothing business, and her father Ajit Randhawa is a biology professor, according to The Times.
3. Haley’s Husband, Michael, Served as an Officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard
Theoughout their marriage, the Haleys and have faced their fair share of ups-and-downs throughout their relationship, particularly when Michael was deployed to Afghanistan while Nikki was serving her first term in office.
Michael, who returned stateside in December 2013 after an 11-month deployment, worked with Afghan farmers as part of his tour with Agribusiness Development Team 3-49. He posted a statement on Facebook, discussing his excitement at coming home:
It has been a great tour, but long 11 months in Afghanistan. I am very much looking forward to coming home to my family and the great state of South Carolina! I digress and reflect on the discerning words of Forrest Gump who said ‘I think I’ll go home now.
During his tour, Michael encountered two improvised explosive devices, but added that no one was seriously hurt. He also spent three months as an administrative liaison prior to his work with locals in Afghanistan.
Michael continued to work full-time with the National Guard until 2015, but still continues to serve part-time.
4. Nikki & Michael Met While Attending ClemsonIt was a lot more than just a college romance.
Nikki and Michael Haley first met when they were attending Clemson University in South Carolina. Their paths first crossed during governor’s weekend at the University in 1989 and immediately hit it off. Although Michael eventually graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Clemson still held a special place in their relationship and the pair were even engaged in the botanical garden at the school.
Even now, more than 25 years after that first meeting, the Haleys are a Clemson family through and through. The Haley’s son, Nalin, even dressed up as former running back Andre Ellington for Halloween in 2011.
5. The Haleys Are Parents to Two Children
When she isn’t busy running South Carolina, Haley is a mother to her two children with Michael; daughter Rena, 17, and son Nalin, 14.
According to the state’s biographies on the first family, Rena is currently a senior in high school and a member of the varsity cheerleading squad. Nalin is an eighth grader and can almost consistently be found with a basketball in hand.
The two Haley children are also in charge of the family’s pets. Nalin’s responsibilities rest with two red bellied frogs, LeBron and Dwyane, while Reena takes care of her goldfish Paige.