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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke August 11, 2021

No, Kathy Hochul and Nancy Pelosi aren’t stepsisters

If Your Time is short

  • They aren’t related. 

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is poised to become governor after Andrew Cuomo announced on Aug. 10 that he would be resigning amid sexual harassment allegations, which he has denied. 

And so, in the bizarre tradition of people on the internet wrongly claiming that certain powerful Democrats are related to each other, we add another false claim to the history books: that Hochul is the stepsister of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

"Newsworthy," one Facebook post said of a photo of Hochul and Pelosi that Hochul posted on her Facebook page in March 2020. "On the left you have the first female Governor (Lieutenant) of New York, Kathy Hochul. Soon to be Governor after Cuomo leaves! The crazy woman on the right is her stepsister. Its all starting to make sense!!!"

"Now we get Nancy Pelosi’s stepsister?" someone else said on Instagram. "We’re doomed."  

These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Featured Fact-check

Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, told PolitiFact that there’s no relation between the speaker and Hochul — by blood or marriage. 

Nancy Pelosi is the daughter of Thomas D’Alesandro Jr. and Anunciata "Nancy" D’Alesandro. They were married until Thomas D’Alesandro died in 1987. Nancy D'Alesandro died in 1995

There is no mention of Nancy D'Alesandro remarrying in a story about her death that ran in the Baltimore Sun. Neither is there a mention in an obituary that ran in the Tampa Bay Times that said Nancy D'Alesandro " was married for 59 years to Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., former congressman, Baltimore mayor and member of the Maryland House of Delegates."

Hochul’s mother, Pat Courtney, died in 2014. Her father is Jack Courtney.

We rate the claim that Hochul and Pelosi are stepsisters False.


Our Sources

Facebook post, Aug. 10, 2021

Instagram post, Aug. 10, 2021

The New York Times, Kathy Hochul, Cuomo’s No. 2, prepares to step into the limelight, updated Aug. 10, 2021

Kathy Hochul Facebook post, March 26, 2020

Interview with Drew Hammill, Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Aug. 11, 2021

The New York Times, T. D’Alesandro Jr., a Baltimore mayor, dies, Aug. 28, 1987

The Baltimore Sun, Nancy D’Alesandro dies headed political family, April 5, 1995

Tampa Bay Times, Nancy D’Alesandro obituary, April 7, 1995

The New York Times, Her inheritance: An eagerness to serve, May 29, 2011

The Buffalo News, Patricia Ann Courtney, active in community, mother of former congresswoman, March 25, 2014

BBC News, Kathy Hochul: New York’s next governor influenced by Irish roots, Aug. 11, 2021

The Baltimore Sun, The D’Alesandros: a Baltimore political powerhouse that gave us two mayors and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Oct. 20, 2019

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No, Kathy Hochul and Nancy Pelosi aren’t stepsisters

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