Betty Ford, the widow of late President Gerald Ford and a co-founder of an eponymous addiction center in California, has died at the age of 93, the director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum has announced.
In public, Betty Ford was one of the most visible and outspoken first ladies in history. In private, she triumphed over serious personal adversity.
She was married to Gerald Ford for 58 years. Shortly after becoming president in 1974, Ford said, “I am indebted to no man and to only one woman, my dear wife.”
She was born Elizabeth Bloomer in 1918 in Chicago and grew up in Michigan.
From a young age, she had a passion for dancing. She studied dance under Martha Graham in New York, working as a fashion model to finance her studies. She joined Graham’s auxiliary troupe and eventually performed with the company at Carnegie Hall.