Who Are Rachel Maddow’s Parents, and Does She Have Siblings? Meet The Anchor’s Mom, Dad, and Brother

Rachel Maddow’s parents were very Catholic, and she grew up “Very Conservative”.

Over her years on the air, Rachel Maddow has proven to be a compelling advocate for a wide variety of liberal causes. Among those who enjoy watching MSNBC, Rachel is one of the most beloved hosts, in part because she seems so willing to say exactly what she’s thinking. Although many of her fans are familiar with her work on TV, fewer know how her upbringing and her parents shaped her worldview. 

Who are Rachel Maddow’s parents?

Rachel was born to Robert and Elaine Maddow in 1973 in Castro Valley, Calif. Robert was an Air Force captain who resigned his commission the year before his daughter was born. He went on to work as a lawyer for the East Bay Municipal Utility District. Elaine worked as a school program administrator. Rachel also has an older brother named David Maddow

Rachel Maddow

Although her father’s side of the family came from Ashkenazi Jews, Rachel has said that she was raised in a Catholic household, and her mother described her upbringing as ‘very conservative.’ That conservative upbringing didn’t ultimately dictate the course of Rachel’s political career, but it did create a messy situation when it came time for her parents to discover that she was gay.

Rachel was actually outed by her college newspaper at Stanford University during her freshman year. She did an interview with the paper along with a friend about how they were the only two out gay people in the entire freshman class. She told the paper that she hadn’t come out to her parents yet, and asked that they hold the interview until she could tell them herself. 

Unfortunately, the timeline didn’t quite work out that way, and Rachel’s parents wound up finding out about their daughter’s sexuality from her college newspaper. “They would have had a hard time with me coming out anyway, but this was a particularly nasty way for them to find out,” Rachel wrote after the fact in The Daily Beast. “They’re wonderful now, and couldn’t be more supportive, but they took it poorly at first, which I don’t fault them for.”


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