Los Angeles, CA- On Tuesday actress Ashley Judd announced she and her husband IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti are calling it quits after 11 years. Their decision may have an impact in the political world as well as entertainment.
In a joint statement to People, the couple said, “We will always be family and continue to cherish our relationship based on the special love, integrity, and respect we have always enjoyed,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Judd, 44, became a regular fixture at her husband’s races though she knew nothing of the sport until the two met. She told USA Today she became, “as comfortable in the pits as I am barefoot in my garden.”
The couple married in 2001 in Franchitti’s native Scotland. Judd and Franchitti were introduced to each other at a wedding of a mutual friend in 1999. Her half-sister Winona Judd served as the maid of honor and Franchitti’s brother, also a race-car driver, Marino was the best man, USA Today reported.
Judd has not officially filed for divorce yet, but there does not appear to be any chance the couple will reconcile. Their joint statement did not include a reason for their split, but they don’t have any children so their divorce will likely end peacefully unlike so many celebrity marriages.
Their announcement was a surprise to race fans, who were used to seeing Judd at the races, but the split also had political ramifications.
Judd, who is a native of Kentucky and an active Democrat, has publically stated she was interested in running for a public office. Judd is very active politically and said last fall that she might run against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. Several polls showed that Judd had wide support could be a formidable challenger for Sen. McConnell.
When McConnell’s camp learned Judd might run against him they welcomed the challenge, publically stating that they were looking forward to running against her.
Kentucky is typically a red state so it can be difficult for Democrats, but the actress has name notoriety and has been running in political circles for some time. Judd recently attended the Presidential Inauguration in Washington along with an EMILY’S List meeting—the group focuses on helping Democratic women to public office, according to the National Journal.
But Judd’s January divorce filing could derail a run in 2014 since she will now have to devote her time to untangling her life with her ex, but as Judd has previously stated, she is a “fighter.” So is may not be a stretch for the actress to dissolve her marriage and launch a run for the Kentucky Senate.
Democratic women would be overjoyed if Judd ran. And McConnell would his wish to wage political war against the actress. If the Judd doesn’t run McConnell will still face serious challenges from more female conservative Democratic leaders such as Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the National Journal said.