Jill Casey Black DeSantis is the wife of Florida governor Ron DeSantis. They have been married since 2010 and have three young children together. She goes by her middle name, Casey.
Before becoming the First Lady of Florida, she was a television host in Jacksonville. Black DeSantis was raised in Troy, Ohio, and moved to Florida after college.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Casey DeSantis Is Battling Breast Cancer
Casey DeSantis is battling breast cancer. Her husband announced her diagnosis on October 4, 2021, but did not share details about treatments or the cancer stage. Ron DeSantis said in an official statement:
As the mother of three young children, Casey is the centerpiece of our family and has made an impact on the lives of countless Floridians through her initiatives as First Lady. As she faces the most difficult test of her life, she will not only have my unwavering support but the support of our entire family, as well as the prayers and well wishes from Floridians across our state. Casey is a true fighter, and she will never, never, never give up.
On October 23, 2021, Casey DeSantis appeared with her husband at the Hernando County Republican Party Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner, as Fox News reported. She received a standing ovation from the crowd; Ron DeSantis shared video of that moment on Twitter.
Casey DeSantis first joked, “I hear when you get a standing ovation before you even walk in the door you should probably just leave.” She said there was much to be upset and sad about in the United States, like “the direction of our country,” families, communities, safety and health, but that she was “sure as hell not giving up.”
2. Casey DeSantis Worked as a Television Host & Reporter
Casey DeSantis’ career in journalism brought her to Florida after graduating from college in South Carolina. According to her LinkedIn account, DeSantis started working for WJXT in Jacksonville in September 2003. In her more than six years with the TV station, she worked as a morning news anchor, weekend anchor, associate producer and covered the police beat as a reporter.
In January 2010, DeSantis moved on to cover sports. She was an anchor, reporter and producer for the PGA Tour that year, according to her LinkedIn profile.
But in January 2011, DeSantis went back to local television in Jacksonville. She accepted a job at First Coast News. As she noted on LinkedIn, she won an Emmy for her work as a Television Host and was nominated as an Executive Producer.
According to a feature on the First Coast News website, DeSantis hosted a midday talk show called First Coast Living as of 2015. She also produced and moderated another talk show called The Chat, which she co-created.
3. She Met Her Husband at a Driving Range in Florida
Casey DeSantis met her husband because of a trip to a driving range at the University of North Florida. She explained to First Coast News that she and Ron started talking because someone had left an extra bucket of golf balls sitting out:
I kept looking over my shoulder because I wanted the bucket of balls that somebody had left because my swing was so terrible. I needed as much practice as I could possibly get. As I’m looking over behind me, Ron is over there. He thinks I’m looking at him. I was really looking at the balls. Long story short we started to talk and that’s how we met.
Ron DeSantis told 850 Business Magazine the initial conversation at the golf course led to a date:
I was in the Navy. I was stationed in Naval Station Mayport in Northeast Florida. She was working as a TV reporter, and we both just happened to go to hit golf balls one day. Just randomly, we were hitting next to each other on the driving range, and someone had left a half-hit bucket of balls. So we’re looking, wondering who’s going to take the extra bucket of balls. We decided to split them. We started talking and went out after that, and we started dating. We didn’t get introduced or anything. We just happened to be at the driving range at the same time.
The couple tied the knot in 2010. As Florida Politics reports, they got married two years before Ron DeSantis was elected to the House of Representatives.
They now have three children. Their oldest daughter is Madison and their son is named Mason. Young daughter Mamie was the “first baby born in the Governor’s Mansion in more than 50 years,” according to Casey DeSantis’ bio.
4. Casey DeSantis Is a 3-Time National Champion Equestrian
DeSantis was raised in Troy, Ohio, according to her First Lady of Florida bio. Troy is located in western Ohio just north of Dayton.
Her resume includes success with horses. DeSantis’ bio notes that she is a three-time National Champion equestrian. She also competed at the College of Charleston, where she was a “runner-up Division I NCAA Champion.” DeSantis earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and minored in French, First Coast News reported.
Soon after her husband became the governor in 2019, 850 Business Magazine asked DeSantis whether she would keep horses at the Governor’s Mansion. She explained she hadn’t ridden horses in a while and that her focus was on her role as First Lady:
No. I hung up those stirrups a long time ago. It was fun to do while growing up, but now I’m of the mind that when much is given, much is expected, so I go back to that role of service and doing what I can to support the people of this state. There’s some time here, and I want to maximize that. So no horses in the backyard for now.
5. Casey DeSantis Has Focused on Mental Health & Economic Opportunities as First Lady of Florida
Voter registration records are public in Florida. According to records on the Florida Department of State website, DeSantis has been a registered Republican in Florida since March 2004. Her full legal name, Jill Casey DeSantis, is listed on the record, as well as the address for the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee.
DeSantis has taken on a very active role as the First Lady of Florida, according to her bio on the state government website. After her husband was sworn in as governor in 2019, DeSantis launched the ” Hope for Healing Florida” initiative. The organization helps to provide resources for people with mental health and substance abuse issues, according to the website.
DeSantis partnered with professional athletes and sports teams in early 2021 on a project called the “Resiliency Florida” initiative. The goal was to teach young students about overcoming challenges and fighting “the stigma surrounding mental health,” according to a news release.
In September 2021, she also launched an economic initiative called “Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity, Economic Self-Sufficiency and Hope.” According to a news release, the organization is designed to bring different community groups together in order to help “good people in need” find opportunities.