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Facebook/kathygracesmith | Getty Images
Facebook/kathygracesmith | Getty Images

Kathy Ambush and Her Ex-husband Struggled Financially When He Was a Student - Meet Clarence Thomas’ First Wife

Akhona Zungu
Aug 27, 2022
10:55 P.M.

Kathy Ambush is a woman mostly known for being Thomas Clarence's wife. However, after their divorce several years ago, Kathy moved on to create a life of her own.

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Kathy Ambush is Clarence Thomas's first wife and the mother of his one and only son. They met during their college years.

Although Kathy does her best to stay out of the limelight and keep her life private, it makes sense to be curious about such an influential US figure's life and past relationships and how they ensued. So, what do we know about Kathy Ambush?

WHO IS KATHY AMBUSH?

Kathy Ambush was born and raised on June 6, 1950, in Worcestershire, Massachusetts. She was born to Shiguo Gladys Sato, her mother, and Nelson William Ambush; they were married for 43 years.

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Her paternal grandparents were Charles Gillette and Elizabeth Emma Ambush. Kathy's paternal uncles and aunt, Benjamin, Charles, and Virginia Ambush, are all deceased.

Ambush has four biological siblings and had two step-siblings from her father's second marriage, two years after her mother died in 1984. Her father died on March 5, 2012. Her biological siblings are Stephen, Benjamin, Karen Thande, and June Ambush.

Kathy was raised alongside her siblings and who all grew up to be college graduates. She went to Marion Central Catholic High School, and after graduating, she pursued a Business Administration degree at Lincoln University, a predominantly black institution.

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Ambush has worked in many institutions. However, the time she spends in them remains unknown. According to Tuko, she occasionally volunteered to work as a Global Internet Entrepreneur.

Other institutions she has worked for include the Immigration Learning Centre Inc, she was a director at Massachusetts Advanced Studies Program in Milton Academy, and she was a Community Relations at BankBoston.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speaking at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speaking at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

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Kathy's step-siblings are Valerie Wilson and Sydney Schuyler. Kathy's father worked as a dental technician throughout his life, starting in Worcestershire.

He was also an avid civil rights activist who fought against racial segregation and discrimination. Nelson served in numerous civic organizations banded in the fight alongside him.

They include the William Monroe Trotter Club, Cambridge Community Center Forum, the Cub Scouts of the Mohegan Council, the Dunbar Club, and others. According to his obituary, he also served in many leadership positions across many churches.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, Tamara Brummer and Matthew Witten hold up an "Impeach Clarence Thomas" banner outside of the US Capitol after a demonstration in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, Tamara Brummer and Matthew Witten hold up an "Impeach Clarence Thomas" banner outside of the US Capitol after a demonstration in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

KATHY AMBUSH AND CLARENCE THOMAS' RELATIONSHIP

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Ambush and Thomas met in 1969 through their mutual friends. A week after they met, they started seeing each other. On June 5, 1971, Ambush walked down the aisle and tied the know with her ex-husband.

Their ceremony was held at All Saints Episcopal Church in Worcestershire. After marrying, they packed their bags and moved to New Haven in Connecticut, where Clarence joined Law School at Yale.

Justice Clarence Thomas sits during a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

Justice Clarence Thomas sits during a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

However, their marriage wasn't always sweet. Tuko reported that Thomas's drinking problem worsened over time, eventually poisoning his marriage. The Root also claimed that during his first marriage, he had had an affair with Lillian McEwen.

The former Senate Judiciary Committee employee claimed that she witnessed Thomas' alcohol addiction during their affair. Thomas would use the money received from his student loan to drink in bars, which landed him in severe financial instability.

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Clarence Thomas meeting with US President George HW Bush in 1999 in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

Clarence Thomas meeting with US President George HW Bush in 1999 in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

Eventually, he saw how drinking was physically and financially unsustainable, so he gave it up. Giving up drinking didn't make his financial problems go away. Thomas still had several debts to settle, including his student loans and credit cards.

Due to his inability to bounce back financially, he received numerous eviction notices. According to ABC News, Thomas moved his family to Washington to work for the newly elected Junior Senator in Missouri.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Clarence Thomas arriving at the presidential inauguration in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Clarence Thomas arriving at the presidential inauguration in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

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However, his problems within his marriage, his addiction to alcohol, and financial instability followed him there. Finally, after a decade of marriage, he separated from Ambush in 1981.

Reasons for their separation remain unstated. Their divorce was finalized three years later, in 1984; Ambush lost her mother the same year.

KATHY AMBUSH'S SON WAS RAISED BY HIS FATHER

In 1973, Kathy and Clarence welcomed their son, Jamal Adeen Thomas. During their divorce, Thomas won sole custody of his son, who was a teenager at the time. Thomas and his son are reportedly on good terms, as Jamal speaks positively about his dad.

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Jamal has a good relationship with his mother, and his parents are also on good terms, as far as what Thomas has told his son.

Contrary to his dad, Jamal entered the field of economics and business and studied at the Virginia Military Institute and Fork Union Military Academy. Currently, he is working as a Director of Supervision at John F, Van Der Hyde & Associates.

He has also held positions in other firms, such as Wells Fargo, Wachovia Securities, BB&T Scott & Stringfellow, and more. Like his mother, he is also based in Richmond, Virginia.

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Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

ABOUT CLARENCE THOMAS

Clarence Thomas was the first African American appointed to serve as a Justice in the American Supreme Court in 1991. He has served on the Supreme Court for 30 years. However, his appointment was not well received due to his conservative views, for which he was heavily critiqued.

Moreover, he almost lost this prestigious post due to a controversy when a woman named Anita Hill claimed he sexually harassed her. Thomas candidly denied these claims.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Virginia Thomas arriving for the State Dinner at The White House honoring Australian PM Morrison in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Virginia Thomas arriving for the State Dinner at The White House honoring Australian PM Morrison in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

As the Supreme Court decided for Bill Cosby in 2020, the evidence was insufficient to prove Hill's claims, so the case was closed.

Thomas remarried in 1987, tying the knot with a woman named Virginia Lamp, a lobbyist and aide to Republican Congressman Dick Armey. The newly married couple adopted and raised Thomas's grandnephew, Mark Martin, in 1997.

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