Noel and Christian Holmes are Elizabeth Holmes’ parents. Holmes was born in 1984, and has one brother named Christian. Holmes is famous for creating the multi-billion dollar company Theranos, which was believed to be on the brink of changing the world before it all came crashing down.
Holmes has since settled with the SEC for $500,000 and an agreement to not work as a director or officer of any publicly traded company for a decade. She still awaits trial for the charges of wire fraud leveled on her by the government (to which she’s pleaded not guilty).
Here’s what you need to know about Holmes’ parents and family:
1. Noel Holmes Worked as a Congressional Staffer
According to Business Insider, Noel Holmes, Elizabeth’s mother, worked as a congressional staffer prior to giving birth to Elizabeth. ABC further contextualizes Noel’s prior work as being a “policy aide,” though the network doesn’t specify which politicians Noel might have worked with.
In a Fortune profile of Holmes in 2014, Noel said to the publication that when her daughter wrote her first patent application as a young woman, “I saw her sit down at the computer, and for five to six days she barely got up.” Noel continued, “I would bring her food occasionally, and she slept maybe one or two hours a night for five nights.”
Noel also said that she and her husband fully supported Holmes’ decision to drop out of Stanford. To Fortune, she said, “What do you want for your children? You want them to do something they’re passionate about. To follow their dream. To help people. To change the world. So we said, ‘Of course. Go do this.’”
On the ABC podcast “The Dropout,” which categorizes the rise and fall of Theranos (and of Holmes), a family friend of the Holmes family said, “This was, I think, was a family that took nice things really seriously.”
The friend continued, “Her dad could be a charming guy, you know, in a kind of WASPy way. [He] was well-mannered. But the father would speak quite often about their lineage. They really took that mantle of this family history very, very seriously indeed.”
2. Christian Holmes Worked for Enron Before Working for Several Government Agencies
Christian Holmes, Elizabeth’s father, worked for Enron for a number of years before working for governmental agencies like USAID. Christian, whose full named is Christian Rasmus Holmes IV, specifically was a vice president at Enron.
Per Bloomberg, here is a full bio on Christian Holmes’ professional career:
Mr. Christian Holmes serves as Senior Vice President, Program Development at the Global Environment and Technology Foundation (GETF). Mr. Holmes has held senior executive positions in the business, government, academia and non-governmental organization sectors. Mr. Holmes was the Chief Financial Officer and third ranking executive at the US Environmental Protection Agency. He also served as Vice President for Tenneco Energy and Vice President of Enron, responsible for
Per Vanity Fair, Holmes wrote a letter to her father when she was nine years old which read in part, “What I really want out of life is to discover something new, something that mankind didn’t know was possible to do.”
3. Holmes Has One Brother Named Christian, Who Also Worked at Theranos
In Bad Blood, Carreyrou confirms that Christian Holmes, Holmes’ little brother, worked at Theranos for a time. Christian went to Duke for college, and “recruited” some of his friends from Duke to work at Theranos with him, Carreyrou maintains.
In his book, Carreyrou writes that Christian and his friends became known as the “frat pack” of Theranos: “When he first arrived, Christian didn’t have much to do, so he spent part of his days reading about sports. He hid it by cutting and pasting articles from the ESPN website into empty emails so that, from afar, it looked like he was absorbed in work-related correspondence.”
4. Holmes Cited Her Uncles’ Death From Cancer as the Motivator to Create Theranos
On a number of occasions during public speaking events while she worked as CEO of Theranos, Holmes explained how her uncle’s death from cancer served as a major form of inspiration for what she planned to create with Theranos.
During a TEDX speech in 2014, Holmes said, “I grew up spending summers and the holidays with my uncle. I remember his love of crossword puzzles and trying to teach us to play football. I remember how much he loved the beach. I remember how much I loved him. He was diagnosed one day with skin cancer, which all of a sudden was brain cancer and in his bones. He didn’t live to see his son grow up, and I never got to say goodbye.”
Carreyrou got to the bottom of the myth of Holmes’ uncle in his book, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup.Carreyrou revealed that Holmes’ uncle was Ron Dietz, the husband of her mother’s sister. Carreyrou wrote that Holmes barely knew her uncle: “To family members who knew the reality of their relationship, using his death to promote her company felt phony and exploitative.”
5. Holmes’ Great-Grandfather Was a Surgeon
According to Business Insider, Holmes’ great-grandfather, Christian Holmes, was a surgeon.