Cristina Bayardelle is a fitness model and Crossfit athlete based in Florida. She is engaged to Madison Cawthorn, a Republican representing North Carolina’s 11th district.
At age 25, Cawthorn became the youngest member of Congress after winning the election in November 2020. According to the Washington Post, he pledged to be the “most pro-Trump member” of Congress. Cawthorn promoted Trump’s allegations about election fraud and spoke at the January 6 rally that took place before the Capitol insurrection. Cawthorn later described the mob’s actions as “sickening and infuriating,” WTVD-TV reported.
Bayardelle does not post about her own political opinions on her Instagram account, which has more than 150,000 followers. She celebrated Cawthorn’s win on November 4 with an Instagram post and wrote that “words cannot describe how proud” she felt.
Bayardelle has also not commented publicly about the sexual harassment claims leveled against Cawthorn by at least three women, which were described in detail by the Washington Post and Buzzfeed News. Cawthorn has denied the accusations.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Bayardelle Is a Fitness Model & Instructor Who Regularly Competes in CrossFit Competitions
Bayardelle is a fitness model and competitive athlete. According to her Instagram account, she partners with several companies to promote products such as Born Primitive‘s athletic apparel. She has tagged Born Primitive in several posts where she was wearing the product. Bayardelle also mentioned companies including Bear KompleX, Team Soul Training, Renaissance Periodization and Apex Rx Recovery in her bio.
Bayardelle is also a fitness instructor, according to Greatest Physiques. Her profile notes that she has been involved with CrossFit as a competitor and instructor since 2010 and that she is “known as a barbell expert.”
Bayardelle entered her first CrossFit Games competition in 2015, according to the organization’s website. Her best year on record was 2018 when she placed 526th in the United States. In the regional competition that year, she and her team placed 24th in the Atlantic region. The page adds that Bayardelle’s personal record for back squats was 285 pounds.
2. Bayardelle Is a Licensed Anesthesiologist Assistant
Bayardelle attended Florida International University, according to her Facebook profile. She did not specify when she graduated.
According to her fiance, Bayardelle spent a lot of time during coronavirus lockdowns studying for a state board exam. Cawthorn posted on Instagram on June 13, 2020, “Praying for this sweet girl right now! Cristina is currently taking her state boards for anesthesia. She has studied 4-5 hours a day ever since I have known her; that diligence is going to pay off!”
The studying did in fact pay off. Florida Department of Health records show Bayardelle is now a licensed Anesthesiologist Assistant. Her license was issued on February 22, 2021.
But it’s unclear where she intends to practice medicine. Her “address of record” on the Florida state website is a Hendersonville, North Carolina, address.
Bayardelle is also licensed in North Carolina. But her profile on the North Carolina Medical Board website indicates she lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Neither website listed hospital privileges, as of this writing.
3. Cawthorn Said He Met Bayardelle Because of a Trip to a Russian Casino
Bayardelle and Cawthorn were introduced by a mutual friend at a gym in Miami. But as Cawthorn explained in a June 2020 interview with The Daily Caller, which can be viewed in its entirety here, they would not have met had it not been for a trip he took to a Russian casino.
Cawthorn explained that he and his friends took a trip to Norway and Sweden shortly before he was supposed to undergo extensive back surgery. He said that one day during the trip, the group decided to take a boat ride to St. Petersburg, which is located on the Baltic Sea, and visit a casino there.
Cawthorn said he met an American Army Captain at the casino named Todd, who was from Miami. They exchanged contact information and kept in touch.
Cawthorn explained that more than a year later, he traveled to Miami for work. He said Todd invited him to participate in a Crossfit competition. Cawthorn agreed but when he arrived at the gym to do his pullups, there was no contest. Cawthorn said it had been a ruse to get him in the same room with Bayardelle. Cawthorn gushed that he and Bayardelle connected immediately and that it had been a “magical relationship ever since.” According to Cawthorn’s Instagram account, he proposed to Bayardelle in December 2019.
Bayardelle shared a video of the proposal on her own Instagram account. In the video, she walks down a path of rose petals to where Cawthorn is already down on bended knee. Bayardelle wrote in the caption, “Words cannot describe all the emotions I’m feeling. I get to marry my best friend that also happens to be the most amazing and inspiring human I know.”
4. Cawthorn & Bayardelle Planned to Get Married on the Anniversary of the Car Crash That Left Him Partially Paralyzed
Cawthorn inadvertently suggested he and Bayardelle had already tied the knot by referring to her as his wife in a tweet. He wrote on January 21, “Two nights ago, my wife and I prepared chili for over 100 National Guard and Capitol Police.”
It’s possible the couple could have already had a civil ceremony but it’s not probable. Bayardelle posted on Instagram on February 7 about celebrating a bachelorette weekend in Austin, Texas.
There is no record of a marriage license in Broward County, Florida, where Bayardelle is registered to vote. But marriage records in Henderson County, North Carolina, where Cawthorn is from, are not publicly available.
The couple actually planned to get married on April 3, 2021. Cawthorn shared the news in an Instagram post on October 12, 2020, writing that they set the date to coincide with the anniversary of the accident that left him partially paralyzed. Cawthorn explained that it was Bayardelle’s idea. “Rewriting the history of that day so instead of dreading it I can look forward to it and remember it with fondness instead of sorrow. I’m a lucky lucky man.” Cawthorn added that Bayadelle was “becoming a political bad-ass and it’s fun to watch.”
Cawthorn has faced scrutiny for his account of the 2014 car accident. As explained by the Washington Post, Cawthorn was riding in the passenger seat when the vehicle crashed into a construction barrier. The driver, Bradley Ledford, explained in a deposition that he pulled Cawthorn out of the vehicle as it went up in flames. The newspaper, citing records from the Florida Highway Patrol, reported that Cawthorn was unconscious and in critical condition at the scene.
But during a speech at Patrick Henry College in 2017, which can be heard here, Cawthorn claimed Ledford abandoned him in the vehicle. Cawthorn also claimed first responders pronounced him dead before he started breathing again on his own. Ledford told the Post that he and Cawthorn have since made amends and that Cawthorn “told me that he didn’t believe those things anymore.”
5. Bayardelle Is a Registered Republican But Cawthorn Has Described Her Upbringing as ‘Apolitical’
Bayardelle is not known for publicly discussing her political views, at least not on her social media platforms. It’s unclear how closely her views align with Cawthorn’s.
In a June 2020 interview with The Daily Caller, Cawthorn described Bayardelle’s upbringing as having been “apolitical.” She was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, according to her profile on Greatest Physiques.
Bayardelle is a registered member of the Republican party. Her voter registration record on the Florida Department of State website shows she joined the party in October 2009, a few weeks after she turned 16. According to USA.gov, Florida allows teens to pre-register to vote at age 16.