Ainsley Earhardt is a co-host of Fox & Friends, which is currently the highest rated morning news show on cable. She joined the network in 2007 after working as a local reporter in South Carolina and Texas.
She was the first television anchor to interview President Donald Trump following the conviction of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Michael Cohen’s guilty plea in August 2018. She asked the president whether he knew about the payments Cohen made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. You can see more of that here.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Ainsley Earhardt Got Her Start in Journalism as a Local Reporter in Columbia, South Carolina
Ainsley Earhardt was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina on September 20, 1976. But she spent the majority of her childhood in Columbia. That’s also where her career took off.
In a 2017 interview with Business Insider, Earhardt shared that it was a dream of hers to one day work in New York City. The initial plan was to get a job up north so that she could work on getting rid of her southern accent. She feared her accent would make her appear less credible. But Earhardt says a mentor of hers at college encouraged her to stick closer to home to gain experience as a reporter.
Earhardt studied journalism at the University of South Carolina, where she was also a member of the Beta Epsilon sorority. She began her professional career while still a student.
Earhardt’s first job was at CBS affiliate WLTX-TV in Columbia. She was awarded as the “Best Personality of the Year” in Columbia Metropolitan Magazine. She served as a morning and noon anchor from 2000 until 2004.
Earhardt moved on to a larger market in 2005, when she was offered a job at KENS-TV in San Antonio. She remained on morning shows at this CBS affiliate. After about a year and a half in Texas, Earhardt caught the attention of Fox News. She achieved her dream of moving to New York City when the conservative network offered her a job as a reporter.
2. Earhardt Was Regulary Featured on Hannity in a Segment Called ‘Ainsley Across America’
Ainsley Earhardt started her new job at Fox News as a reporter in 2007. According to her official bio, she has covered a wide range of national and international stories for the network. Some of those stories include the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, the 2013 arrest of kidnapper Ariel Castro in Cleveland, and a devastating 8.0-magnitude earthquake that struck China in 2008.
Earhardt built up a fan base as a regular contributor to Sean Hannity’s program. She was given her own segment called Ainsley Across America, which she has said required a lot of travel every week. Those stories allowed Earhardt to connect with the audience and show her personality. One of those examples was an interview with the Golden Knights, the U.S. Army’s elite parachute team at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Earhardt even put on a suit and jumped out of the plane with them.
In 2013, Earhardt was promoted to a regular weekday shift. She anchored Fox & Friends First at 5 a.m. She remained in that position until 2016, before being promoted again to Fox & Friends following Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s departure.
3. Ainsley Earhardt Defended Roger Ailes as a ‘Father Figure’ Amid the Accusations of Sexual Harassment
Ainsley Earhardt was an outspoken defender of embattled Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. Ailes was accused of sexual harassment by several women at the network, including former anchor Gretchen Carlson, who filed a lawsuit against him in 2016.
Earhardt spoke in defense of Ailes in an interview with People in July of 2016. She told the magazine that Ailes had a “really good heart.” She stressed that Ailes “has had my best interest in mind and he has my family’s best interest in mind. He is a family man and he is a father figure, and I will always be grateful to him for giving me a promotion when a lot of people wouldn’t have.”
She added that Ailes never once told her what type of clothing to wear or how to act on-air. Earhardt expressed her love for Fox News and that she would be “proud of my daughter if she worked at Fox News.” Ailes passed away on May 8, 2017.
Earhart was also hesitant to criticize Bill O’Reilly and Eric Bolling, who were both accused of sexual harassment. In the Business Insider interview referenced earlier in this article, Earhardt said her former colleagues had “paid the ultimate price” for their “sins.” She indicated that she had been sorry to see her colleagues be let go from the network.
4. Earhardt Has Been Married Twice and Has One Daughter Named Hayden
Ainsley Earhardt got married in 2005 to her college sweetheart, Kevin McKinney. The ceremony took place in her hometown of Columbia, South Carolina. The couple lived in San Antonio before moving to New York City in 2007. They divorced in 2009. Neither of them commented publicly about the reasons for the split, but there was speculation that McKinney may have been unfaithful.
Earhardt found love again three years later. She married Will Proctor in 2012 in his hometown of Winter Park, Florida. Proctor is a former Clemson University quarterback. Earhardt is seven years his senior. In November of 2015, they welcomed daughter Hayden.
Earhardt told Women’s Health in 2017 that she previously questioned whether she would have a chance to become a mother. She told the publication she did not make it a priority until her mid-thirties. And at that point, she was still focused heavily on her career and working a very hectic schedule.
After months of trying, she and her husband Will Proctor finally got pregnant for the first time. But that pregnancy sadly ended in a miscarriage. Earhardt described how her faith got her through that moment. “I remember telling her that I had prayed for a healthy baby and God knew best. He took my child home to heaven where I knew he or she would be happy and positively perfect. One day we will meet again.” After having surgery to remove the baby, she learned the child was a girl.
Earhardt and Proctor did not give up their dream of being parents. And in November of 2015, they welcomed Hayden DuBose Proctor. Earhardt told Women’s Health, “My Hayden is a blessing and I never would have known her if I had not gone through those difficult days.”
Following the birth of her daughter, Earhardt was inspired to write two children’s books. Take Heart, My Child: A Mother’s Dream was published in 2016. Through Your Eyes: My Child’s Gift to Me followed in 2017. Both books became New York Times best-sellers.
On October 10, 2018, it was reported that Earhardt and Proctor’s marriage was coming to an end. He filed for divorce amid allegations of infidelity. Proctor has denied rumors that he cheated on Earhardt.
5. The Light Within Me Focuses on Earhardt’s Faith and Became Her Third Best-Selling Book
Ainsley Earhardt released her third book in April of 2018, The Light Within Me. It is a memoir focusing heavily on her Christian faith and how she says it has helped her get through personal and professional struggles. Earhardt explained in an interview with the Charlotte Observer why she felt compelled to share her journey. “I was a little apprehensive about it, though, because at first I thought, “I don’t want to be so self-serving, that here I am at 41 years old, and I have this long, great story to tell, so here I am writing a memoir.” At the same time, if someone asks me to share my faith, I can’t say no to that. I feel like that’s God asking me to do something for him, and so I don’t want to turn that down.”
Earhardt wrote an editorial for the website “Moneyish” in April of 2018 to promote her book. She wrote that she believes there is a place for faith in the workplace. “Having faith allows me to try to be the best person I can be. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m walking down the halls of Fox, where I am a morning news anchor, reading scripture and playing Christian music — you can sow seeds of positivity and not gossip and be kind, and that goes so much further than pushing a Bible on someone. There are ways to let your light shine without shoving it down people’s throats.”