Brandon Darby and Katie Pavlich are something of a conservative power couple. Brandon Darby is a conservative commentator and the director of Breitbart Texas. His wife, Kate Pavlich, was recently tapped to take over Kimberly Guilfoyle’s spot on Fox News’ The Five. Before that, Pavlich, an Arizona native, was a contributing editor for Townhall.com and an occasional Fox News contributor. She was also the author of two books. Pavlich is now 30 years old; Darby is 41.
The pair got engaged in 2016 and married in 2017. They are very private about their personal lives. Unlike many media couples, Darby and Pavlich are seldom photographed together, and not much is known about their relationship. But we do know a fair amount about Brandon Darby’s life before he married Katie.
Darby’s story reads like something straight out of Hollywood — and in fact, more than one director has made a movie about his life. By the time Darby was 32 he had been a runaway, an anarchist, a left-wing activist, and an FBI informer. Now he works for a conservative news outlet.
Here’s what you need to know about Brandon Darby.
1. Darby Was a Teenage Runaway Who Became a Left-Wing Activist
Brandon Darby grew up in Pasadena, Texas. His father was a welder who worked for an oil refinery. Darby’s parents divorced by the time he was 12, and Darby ran away from home, eventually winding up in Houston. There, he lived in and out of group homes for runaway teens; when he wasn’t in a home, he lived out on the street. People close to Darby have said he came from a troubled home, and they say he’s dropped hints that he was abused as a child. But he’s never gone farther than dropping hints, apparently. Darby is very private about his life, and he’s never given any details about his childhood to the media.
In 2002, when Darby was in his twenties, he moved to Austin and joined Austin’s slacker counter-culture. That’s where he first read Howard Zinn, and learned about the Black Panthers. He started to hang out with anarchists and take part in their movement. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Darby and a friend drove all the way to New Orleans to rescue Robert King Wilkerson, a former Black Panther who had gotten trapped in the flooded city.
2. Colombian Rebels Once Invited Darby To Start His Own Guerilla Movement — Or So He Says
Darby’s rescue efforts in New Orleans soon grew into a movement, called Common Ground, which worked to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. The group set up shop in the 9th Ward, where Darby was dismayed that the US government was doing so little to help the hurricane victims. “If I’d had an appropriate weapon, I would have attacked my government for what they were doing to people,” Darby said later. He added that he had, in fact, bought an AK-47.
In 2006, Darby traveled to Venezuela to try and raise money to help Katrina victims. He was reportedly impressed with what he saw of the country, which was still under Hugo Chavez’s leadership at the time. Then an oil executive invited him to Colombia to meet members of Colombia’s notorious armed guerilla group, the FARC.
“They said they wanted to help me start a guerrilla movement in the swamps of Louisiana,” he told “This American Life” NPR. But Darby wasn’t interested and turned FARC down. “I was like, ‘I don’t think so,’” he said.
At the time, Darby’s friends said they doubted that any of this ever happened. We have only Darby’s word that he ever met anyone from FARC.
3. Darby Became an FBI Informant Who Turned His Friends In To the Authorities In the Lead-Up to the 2008 Election
By all accounts, Darby was never perfectly comfortable being a member of the left. He criticized the other activists for eating too much tofu and not enough beef; he picked fights with them so that he could show off his own strength. He complained about how often they met to talk and debate; he called for more action and less discussion.
But none of this prepared his leftist friends for what Darby eventually did.
In 2007, Darby became an FBI informant. And, in an interview with the New York Times in 2009, Darby said that he had given his FBI handlers information that lead to the arrest of two of his friends from Austin — David McKay and Bradley Crowder– and that he planned to testify at their trial. McKay and Crowder were both arrested after a police search found that they had Molotov cocktails, which they were allegedly planning to use during the Republican National Convention in St Paul.
McKay and Crowder later said that they were never planning to throw the Molotov cocktails anywhere near people. Many on the left said that in fact, Darby had urged McKay and Crowder to use violence, only to turn them in to the FBI later. Needless to say, the activists who had known Darby said that it was “heart-breaking and utterly ground-shattering” to learn that he had, in fact, been spying on them for the FBI instead of working on their cause.
Darby released a statement at the time saying, “I strongly stand behind my choices in this matter.”
4. Andrew Breitbart Befriended Darby and Became His Mentor
After Darby admitted that he’d acted as an FBI informant, he was more or less a “wanted man” amongst his old friends. By some accounts, he started receiving death threats. He was living on a Texas farm far from other people; he said he wanted to live around animals because he felt that anyone coming to kill him would think twice about attacking a farm where animals might be hurt.
Darby needed new friends, and he found one in Andrew Breitbart, the founder of conservative Breitbart News.
Breitbart himself grew up a “liberal by default” in Los Angeles, and he apparently liked what he saw in Darby. Breitbart described Darby as a “fighter.” It didn’t take long before Darby was working for Breitbart news himself. Darby started off writing for the “Big Government” blog; he is now the director of Breitbart Texas.
Darby has said he feels extremely loyal to Breitbart because of his friendship with Andrew. In a tweet, he wrote, “Andrew was a dear friend and most of the staff are people whom I care for and admire. I don’t intend to leave my departed friend’s company.”
5. Darby Has a Daughter, But Rarely Mentions Her Publicly
There are a few mentions of Darby’s daughter in the media. In 2011, Darby told the Texas Tribune that he was seriously depressed after his activist friends turned on him. Darby said that if it wasn’t for his daughter, he might not have had the strength to carry on.
He has also tweeted that Andrew Breitbart “changed the world” for himself and for his daughter — presumably by giving him work to do, and a new cause to believe in. Darby’s twitter profile picture includes a child helping to milk a cow. But Darby has kept his private life intensely private, and there is very little information available about his child, her age, or even her name.