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White House Love Child? Presidents Who Faced Rumors They Had Illegitimate Children

//six presidents secret illegimate children pp
Source: Getty Images

Jun. 27 2017, Updated 3:17 p.m. ET

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//six presidents secret illegimate children pp
Source: Getty Images

Joshua Kendall's upcoming book First Dads, exposes the White House love child scandals the public never knew about!

George Washington

//six presidents secret illegimate children

George Washington

Though the first U.S. President is universally revered, there have been claims that George Washington had a relationship with one of his slaves, producing a son. West Ford, a slave owned by Washington's younger brother, John, claimed that he was a product of a "1784 liaison between the future president and a slave named Venus." Henry Wiencek, author of An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America, wrote "the possibility still remains that George Washington could have been West Ford's father."

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Thomas Jefferson

//six presidents secret illegimate children

Thomas Jefferson

Possibly the most infamous founding father, Thomas Jefferson reportedly sired six children with his slave Sally Hemmings. For many years, historians and scholars refused to acknowledge that Jefferson was the father of slave children. One author said these claims were "distinctly out of character, being virtually unthinkable in a man of Jefferson's moral standard and habitual conduct." But a 1998 DNA test "revealed the link between the sixth Hemmings child and the male Jefferson line." Jefferson freed his children from slavery in his will.

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John Tyler

//six presidents secret illegimate children

John Tyler

The 10th U.S. President reportedly fathered "numerous slave children." Kendall cites author Daryl Dance, a professor of English at the university of Richmond, who said Tyler often "boasted about having fathered a staggering total of fifty-two children with black women over the course of his life." One slave even said that his mother called him John Tyler because Tyler was his father. Tyler "fathered several other slave children with his mother, whom he also sold," the book alleges, and reportedly Tyler also used his affairs with slaves as a way to make up for financial constraints, often selling slaves "to plug up his cash flow deficits."

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Grover Cleveland

//six presidents secret illegimate children

Grover Cleveland

In addition to having a wife 28 years his junior and a sexual alter-ego known as "Big Steve," Cleveland had a "habit of drinking to excess and engaging in immoralities with women," the book claims. The president allegedly fathered a child with Maria Halpin and after Halpin refused to give up the boy, two detectives "seized her by force" and placed her in an insane asylum, where she stayed for several days, says the book. Cleveland eventually agreed to pay Halpin $500 in exchange for their child, "whom he placed in the home of a prominent local family."

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President Harding

//six presidents secret illegimate children

Warren G. Harding

Like Cleveland, Harding was known to have had a hyper sexual alter-ego. He named his "Jerry." In letters to Carrie Phillips, one of his illicit lovers, he used the same name to designate his penis! One of Harding's most notorious affairs was with Nan Britton, who chronicled her relationship with the president four years after his death. The relationship produced a child, named Elizabeth Ann Christian. "As President, Kendall wrote, "Harding did not hesitate to invite his mistress to the White House, where they made love next to the galoshes on the floor of a tiny closet near the Oval Office." Harding's illegimate daughter was conceived in the senate office building, and once he learned of Britton's pregnancy, Kendall writes, "the emotionally detached Senator immediately waxed practical." He insisted Britton get an abortion, Kendall claims, but she "couldn't bring herself to do it. The book alleges that Harding set her up in an apartment in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and though he gave Britton "wads of cash at regular intervals," he refused to meet his daughter.

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Lyndon B Johnson

//six presidents secret illegimate children

Lyndon Johnson

The affairs of Lyndon Johnson's predecessor, John F. Kennedy, are more widely discussed than those of LBJ. But Kendall writes that that a biographer once overheard Johnson boasting about his affairs. "When aides alluded to Kennedy's womanizing, Johnson would say, 'Why, I had more women by accident than he had by design,'" Kendall writes.

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