Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks co-founder who was arrested in London on April 11, 2019, is very secretive about his first significant relationship, which dates to his teens, and has at least one son.
Assange moved frequently with his mother as a child, and he didn’t meet his dad until his 20s.
Assange is accused in a U.S. indictment of helping Chelsea Manning break a password to obtain classified U.S. documents.
That has some people wondering more about Julian Assange’s family, including his ex-girlfriend and son. He was born Julian Paul Hawkins.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Julian Assange & His Mother Moved 37 Times When He Was a Child
Julian Assange was born on July 3, 1971, in Townsville, Australia.
According to Biography.com, Assange’s childhood was not a very stable one because his mother Christine and his stepfather, Brett Assange, traveled frequently to “put on theatrical productions.”
Brett Assange described Julian as a “sharp kid who always fought for the underdog,” the site said.
Biography.com reported that Brett and Christine broke up. Assange and his mother moved about 37 times, and Assange “was frequently homeschooled.” Brett Assange had adopted Julian Assange at age 1.
2. Julian Assange Was in a Relationship at Age 18 But It Didn’t Last
Assange was married once before to ex wife Teresa Assange, according to some reports. According to AJC, he was 18-years-old when he married, but the marriage didn’t last.
Daily Mail calls the relationship an “unofficial marriage,” however.
Assange has been very secretive about his past over the years, only once referring to this relationship by writing that he dated “an intelligent but introverted 16-year-old.” It’s believed she now has a new name, according to Daily Mail.
She was 17 when they met, according to Daily Mail.
However, there are reports that Assange has distanced from his family. UK Telegraph reports Christine Assange told Australian media that her son “distanced himself from the family for their own safety due to his growing notoriety.”
3. Assange Has a Son Named Daniel Assange
Julian Assange had a son. It’s believed that son is in his 20s and works as a software designer. Some reports say the son’s mother is Assange’s ex-girlfriend from Australia. However, Sydney Morning Herald reported that Daniel “was born to a 17-year-old mother, who has never been identified.”
Daily Mail alleged that Daniel Assange, Assange’s son, lives in Melbourne. UK Telegraph reported in 2010 that Daniel Assange had used a pseudonym on Twitter to ask that his dad be treated fairly.
“Let us do our best to ensure my father is treated fairly and apolitically,” Daniel Assange said on Twitter. “I’m hoping this isn’t just an intermediary step towards his extradition to the US.”
The blog Crikey, to which Daniel Assange once gave an interview, says he was the subject of a “bitter custody battle between his parents.” Their contact diminished when Julian left Australia, Crikey reported, quoting Daniel as saying, “It was just a general decline of relations. I was getting into my late teenage years, and single father and teenage son don’t mix particularly well in one house.”
Daniel spoke about his dad to the blog, saying, “His actions as a personal individual and his actions in a grand political sense are completely disconnected things, and they should be considered in that sense.”
4. Assange’s Mother Gave Him His Love of Computers & His Father Was a Vietnam War Protester
Assange credits his mother with inspiring a love of computers.
He was a teenager and his mother gave him a Commodore 64 computer, reports AJC, his first. According to Daily Mail, around that time, he, his mother and stepbrother were living in “a tiny cement bungalow in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, east of Melbourne.” Assange became increasingly fascinated with computers.
Assange’s father was named John Shipton, per CNN.
The Australian has a lengthy story about Shipton that reports he was part of a WikiLeaks Party that wanted to see Julian Assange elected to the Senate in Australia. Shipton described himself to the news site as a “doddery old goat.” He didn’t meet Julian until Julian was in his 20s, according to the site, but they look alike and share some of the same interests.
Shipton once told El Pais of finally meeting Julian: “It was extraordinary. Certain of his thought-processes made it seem like I was staring into a mirror. I could barely believe it.”
The Australian site reports that Julian’s mother said she met Shipton, who later worked as a builder, at a Vietnam War protest but married Brett Assange when she was eight weeks pregnant. “I had a brief relationship with John which ended amicably shortly after I became pregnant,” says Christine Assange to The Australian. “But there was no animosity between us, and from time to time I would call him. When I got married in Sydney about two years later, John offered the use of his car for the wedding, and I did take Julian to see him around that time.”
5. A Friend Claimed in a Tell-All Book That Assange Has Four ‘Love Children’
The exact number of Assange’s children and their identities are not known. However, a friend wrote in a tell-all book the claim that Assange has fathered four “love children” over the years.
The friend, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, claimed, according to Daily Mail, “Often I sat in large groups and listened to Julian boast about how many children he had fathered in various parts of the world.”
He also said, Daily Mail reported: “He seemed to enjoy the idea of lots and lots of Julians, one on every continent. Whether he took care of any of these alleged children, or whether they existed at all, was another question.”