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Olena Zelenska may view herself as a “non-public person,” but as the wife of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, she has risen as his most steadfast supporter amid the Russian invasion.Ukraine’s first lady, a screenwriter and former classmate of Zelenskyy, is considered to be one of the country’s most influential women.The 44-year-old, whose maiden name is Kiyashko, was born on Feb. 5, 1978, in Kryvyi Rih. She studied architecture at Kryvyi Rih National University before she set her sights on writing. It was there where she met Zelenskyy, an aspiring comedian and law student. It’s been reported the pair were previously schoolmates and shared mutual friends, but they didn’t become acquainted until their university years.
Olena Zelenska was originally a writer before she became Ukraine’s first lady.
(Gints Ivuskans / AFP)Zelenska went on to become a writer for a comedy troupe that led to Zelenskyy’s rise to fame in “Servant of the People.” The Ukrainian comedy series, which rocketed in the 2010s, starred Zelenskyy as a lovable high school teacher who becomes president after being fed up with corrupt politicians. He was hailed as one of Ukraine’s top entertainers.A LOOK AT UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY’S ACTING CAREER BEFORE HE ENTERED POLITICSZelenska and Zelenskyy reportedly dated for eight years before they tied the knot on Sept. 6, 2003. A year later they welcomed a daughter named Aleksandra, now 17. The couple also share a 9-year-old son named Kiril.”I prefer staying backstage,” Zelenska told Vogue Ukraine in 2019. “My husband is always on the forefront, while I feel more comfortable in the shade. I am not the life of the party, I do not like to tell jokes. It’s not in my character. But I found reasons for myself in favor of publicity. One of them is the opportunity to attract people’s attention to important social issues. At the same time, this does not concern the publicity of my children: I have not posted their photos on social networks before, and now I will not either.”
Volodymyr Zelenskyi and Olena Zelenska dated for eight years before they tied the knot in 2003.
(Volodymyr Tarasov / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)According to the outlet, Zelenska learned that her husband was running for president on Jan. 1, 2019, from “social networks.” When she asked Zelenskyy why he didn’t say anything to her before going public, his response was “I forgot.””I was not too happy when I realized that those were the plans. I realized how everything would change, and what difficulties we would have to face,” Zelenska admitted. “… My husband knows how to surprise. But, if seriously, we had been discussing this issue for a long time, and I said that I would always support him.”CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTERZelenska allegedly “aggressively opposed” her husband’s initial plans to pursue politics knowing that she and her family would be in the spotlight. But despite her initial reluctance, her goal was to support her spouse, no matter his decision. She frequently appeared by Zelenskyy’s side during photo ops and speeches.
Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, carries her ballot to the voting booth in parliamentary elections on July 21, 2019, in Kiev, Ukraine.
(Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)In 2019, Zelenskyy came to office in a landslide democratic election, defeating a billionaire businessman. He promised to break the power of corrupt oligarchs who haphazardly controlled Ukraine since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. That year, she appeared on the cover of Vogue Ukraine.Zelenska told Vogue that despite being in the public eye, the couple has always been determined to protect their children’s privacy. Zelenska also stressed she was determined to support her husband as a first lady.”I grew up in Kryvyi Rih, I have been living in this country all my life, and I understand how many problems we have got,” she said. “But if I’m going to grab onto everything, it won’t work, so our team decided to focus on specific tasks: children’s health, equal opportunities for all Ukrainians and cultural diplomacy.”CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meet Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife, Olena, during an audience at Buckingham Palace on Oct. 7, 2020, in London, England.
(Jonathan Brady/WPA Pool/Getty Images)One of Zelenska’s primary causes is women’s rights. In 2019, she initiated Ukraine’s accession to the G7 international initiative on gender equality, the Biarritz Partnership. In addition, she promoted Ukrainian Women’s Congress. Her work has also involved reforming the school nutrition system and raising awareness of the Ukrainian language. Through her personal style, Zelenska has also chosen to promote Ukrainian designers, especially during her travels.”The president’s spouse has the opportunity to communicate with those who are close to power,” she told Vogue. “Doors of officials do not close before the first lady. I’m not a politician, and I do not have the right to interfere in the president’s work, but to become an intermediary between people and officials, so that the latter will hear the first, I can and I am really willing to.”In addition to her duties as the first lady of Ukraine, Zelenska remains a screenwriter for Kvartal 95 Studio, a production company founded by her husband, People magazine reported.
Olena Zelenska appeared on the cover of Vogue Ukraine.
(Vogue Ukraine)In 2020, Zelenska tested positive for coronavirus. Her husband and children tested negative. She stayed closely connected to the public on social media and said she “felt good” while receiving treatment and isolating herself from her family “in order not to put them in danger.”ZELENSKYY’S ‘DANCING WITH THE STARS’ UKRAINE CLIP FROM 2006 GOES VIRALAmid this year’s Russian invasion, Zelenska and her children have reportedly remained in Ukraine at an undisclosed location. Zelenskyy, who has chosen to stay in the country, noted that “the enemy marked me as target no.1, my family as target no.2″ before turning down an opportunity to be evacuated from Kyiv, the Ukraine capital.Like Zelenskyy, Zelenska has stood her ground.
First lady Olena Zelenska is believed to be in Ukraine at an undisclosed location with her children.
(Pavlo_Bagmut/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)”I will not have panic and tears,” she wrote on Instagram. “I will be calm and confident. My children are looking at me. I will be next to them. And next to my husband. And with you.”The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Who is Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s wife, Olena Zelenska, Ukraine’s first lady?
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