Ann Romney revealed Friday how her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis challenged her self-identity and how she and husband drew strength from the challenge.
“It was hard for Mitt,” she said in a two-part interview with Fox News. “I think it's always harder sometimes for the person watching than the person going through it. But it was hard for me too. I will tell you because we have an identity. My identity was mother, accomplished, doing many things, taking care of everybody and all the sudden I couldn't even take care of myself.”
Romney said receiving the diagnosis was like having “a rug being pulled out from underneath” but that her husband, the likely GOP presidential nominee, gave her “great strength.”
She said her husband reminded her that he loved her for who she was, not what she did, including raising their five boys, and they would still have a full life.
“Having my husband give me that perspective when I was losing that perspective and a little frightened and a little overwhelmed, it was wonderful to have him there,” she said.
Romney also said her faith and health struggles, including breast cancer, would influence her role as first lady should her husband win the presidential election.
“Every first lady brings her own personality to the White House,” she said. “It's going to have something to do with things I care about, the things I love. Having had breast cancer I'm sure I'll be involved in breast cancer awareness. Having had Multiple Sclerosis I'm sure … I'll be trying to promote research.”
Romney said she has great respect for Michelle Obama and the previously first ladies, considering the difficulty of their role.
“I think (Michelle Obama) is lovely,” she said. “As everyone can appreciate it is a very difficult position to be in. … Your husband's under enormous scrutiny all the time.”
She also praised former first lady Barbara Bush for her “outspokenness and frankness” will still being compassionate.
“You just loved her,” Romney said. She also praised former first lady Laura Bush for being so “ladylike and just wonderful.”
Romney acknowledged her role on the campaign trail has included helping her husband stay relaxed and focused, which has earned her the name the “Mitt-stabilizer.”
Romney also said her husband is a far funnier and more spontaneous person than has been portrayed.