Ann Romney Talks Raising Five Boys, Romance With Mitt & How Horses Help Her Cope With Multiple Sclerosis

Ann Romney is on a whirlwind tour as she campaigns with her husband, Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and her latest stop brought the potential next First Lady to Los Angeles this week, where she paid a visit to Access Hollywood Live.

“I love it here! It’s very exciting, I have a lot of friends here,” Mrs. Romney told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover of her LA experience on Wednesday’s Access Hollywood Live. “And [there is] a lot of beautiful weather here — we love it.”

If her schedule allows any free time, Mrs. Romney is hoping she’ll be able to spend some time enjoying the southern California sun while horseback riding.

“It’s perfect riding weather, so yeah, every once in a while if I have a free minute, I’d like to get on a horse,” she said, when asked what she’d like to do in California.

Horses have played a significant role in the Michigan native’s life. After she was diagnosed with a debilitating disease in 1998, Mrs. Romney found equestrian therapy hugely helpful in her healing.

“I’ve always loved horses… When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis I thought to myself — I hadn’t ridden for years — and I thought, ‘I need to do something that I love more than anything in life, I need to go back and ride horses again,’” she said. “And oddly enough, I was very, very sick, I was very weak — I could barely get on a horse or barely ride one trot circle around — and over the years, the horses have really helped me with my physical therapy.”

“Really? What, just the relaxing nature of them?” Billy asked.

“Yes, they’re amazing animals and they’re used for many different disciplines for helping with physical therapy,” she explained. “A lot of our wounded vets with the trauma and everything with coming back from combat, they’re using horses to help them. And kids with autism, oddly enough, get huge benefits from getting on the back of a horse.

“So there’s a lot of horse therapy that’s going on in this country right now, which I’m very grateful for because it was hugely therapeutic in my life,” she added.

If her husband is elected come November, Mrs. Romney said she hopes to continue to support horse therapy from the White House, but also to shed light on women’s health issues and children’s needs.

“People know I have multiple sclerosis and I’ve also had breast cancer, and I will make sure that there is more awareness for both of those diseases, but beyond that, I’ve worked with at-risk youth most of my adult life and I love kids,” she told Billy and Kit, when asked what her possible White House initiatives would be. “There are so many kids in this country that are getting left behind. We have to let all of them know that they’re special, they’re loved and they’re unique.”

As a mother of five boys (and with 18 grandchildren) Mrs. Romney knows a few things about raising kids.

“What was it like in your house when [your sons] were little?” Kit asked.

“Crazy. Boys are like — they’re crazy! They never stop,” she said. “They never stop playing, they never stop hitting each other, they never stop bouncing balls off the wall. I mean, they’re just active, active, active.

“I mean do you really wanna know what it was like?” she continued, with a laugh. “Just nonstop bathroom humor. I was so excited to finally know that I was going get girls in my life and when my first daughter-in-law came in I thought, ‘Finally, they’re gonna behave.!’ [But] no!”

Mrs. Romney and her husband have been married since 1969 — (she was 19, he was 21), and the Presidential candidate’s wife said their romance is still going strong.

“He’s fun loving, he’s vivacious, he loves life,” she said. “We just never want to be apart. He’s still very good. I’ll never forget some of those Valentine’s Days where he actually wrote a poem and had it etched on glass for me and with roses. He does things that are just really special. He writes me love notes all the time.”

-- Erin O’Sullivan

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