Marco Rubio’s wife, Jeanette, gives rare interview about juggling 4 kids, campaign

Her husband is running for president of the United States, and he is hawkish on foreign policy, particularly on dealing with some of the world’s most iron-fisted leaders.

But at home, Sen. Marco Rubio is – well – something of a softy.

His wife, Jeanette Rubio, is the self-styled disciplinarian, especially when it comes to the couple’s four children.

“I’m the one who makes the rules, for the most part,” she said in an interview with Florida-based Flamingo Magazine in its first issue, which hit newsstands on Thursday. “Marco plays the fun dad. I’ll say “no” to Amanda, and he’ll be whispering behind my back to her, ‘Don’t worry.’ Then, of course, I look like the bad one.”

And in another example of who wears the hard hat in the area of family history, Jeannette, who is 42, says she tries to keep the kids on a healthy diet, while her husband, who is 44, tends to allow indulgences.

“I try to balance everything,” she said. “Kids like candy, and hamburgers and hot dogs. If I’m going to purchase the items, I always try to get the best. The kids like Pop-Tarts. Marco likes Pop-Tarts. So I always try to get the organic Pop-Tarts, if possible.”

Like most parents, Jeanette spoke of the challenge of juggling different personalities among their children.

“My boys are typical boys,” she said. “They are like little puppies, running around the house. I have to tell them to stop.”

“When I think of Anthony [10], I think of a heart,” she said. “He’s such a good kid. Always smiling. Always having something good to say. And Anthony loves Dad. He calls him every single day just to say, “’Hey, Dad.’”

“The little one, Dominic [8], is more attached to me,” Jeanette said. “When he comes to our bed, he comes to my side. He never comes to Marco’s side. He knows exactly what to say because he knows it’s going to soften Mom up. For Amanda [15], Dad can do no wrong. The great thing about Amanda is now we have conversations, and there are things that I do that she wants to participate in…Daniella [13] has a mind of her own. She’s the one who knows what’s going on in Marco’s world. She’s very engaged.”

The couple met when they were just teenagers, she recalled. He was 19 and in college, she was 17 and still in high school, and they met a block away from their homes.

She is Colombian-American, Marco is Cuban-American. Jeanette Rubio, who was a Miami Dolphins cheerleader for a season, was raised in large part by a single mother; Marco had both parents, whom he often speaks about with pride in campaign rallies. His mother was a housekeeper and cashier, and his father was a bartender.

Their first date reportedly was to see "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves."

One of the most difficult parts of being the wife of someone who is campaigning for president is the time Marco must spend away on the campaign trail.

“Obviously, Marco is not able to be around some of the family activities or some of the kids’ activities at school,” she said to Flamingo Magazine. “But we work through it. We have a great support network.”

Jeanette says her first language is English and that she favors country music. Getting the kids to speak Spanish, well, is a constant challenge, she said.

Has she wondered what it’s like to live at the White House?

“I’m taking this a day at a time,” Jeanette said. “I’m just so focused on being what I can for the kids and for Marco. I think when Marco wins, that would be the best thing. I would love to be able to give that to the state.”

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