Many will be surprised just as I was to discover that the Labour Leader and prime ministererial candidate Jeremy Corbin is married.
Not only is the Labour Leader a happily married man. He is surprisingly married to a stunning Mexican lawyer who unlike her husband, doen not enjoy the limelight and public appearances.
To say that Laura Alvarez, 48, flies under the radar, is an understatement. Jeremy Corbyn’s wife choses to stay out of the spotlight and arguably has the lowest public profile of any political spouse in recent times.
So what do we know about her? In the run up to the general election, we present a guide.
The couple met in 1999, after Alvarez flew over from her native Mexico to help in the search for her abducted niece. Her older sister Marcela’s estranged husband had fled the UK four years earlier with their daughter, after a custody battle.
Corbyn, 68, was introduced to the family by Labour politician Tony Benn in a pub in London’s Finsbury Park, and offered to help with the case.
Marcela told the Mail on Sunday that she then introduced him to her sister: “Without his assistance I would never have been reunited with Jasmin. Because of our case he met my sister and they fell in love.
“I was the one who introduced them. I said, ‘Jeremy, this is my sister’ and ‘Laura meet Jeremy.’ Was it love at first sight? I don’t know. I think that their love grew slowly.”
Alvarez initially returned home to her banking job, but they maintained a long-distance relationship and married in Mexico in 2013.
The Labour leader was previously married to Professor Jane Chapman in 1974, for five years, and Chilean Claudia Bracchitta in 1987, with whom he has three children.
In a rare interview last year, with Vice News, Alvarez admitted that her husband was “not very good at housework but he is a good politician”. When Corbyn was asked on the One Show if they divided housework into girls’ and boys’ jobs, like the Mays, he simply shook his head.
The couple live in a £1 million terracced house in Finsbury Park, and have a cat named El Gato.
In the Vice News interview, Alvarez was more complimentary about her husband’s attire, praising the way he stood up to David Cameron’s criticism, when he told Corbyn to “put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem.”
“Jeremy stood very strong. It was amazing,” she said.
Corbyn has been widely admired on social media platforms such as Mumsnet for his ‘disheveled fisherman’ style and twinking eyes .
These days, Alvarez runs fairtrade coffee company Cafe Mam, importing beans from her native Mexico.
In 2015, the business came under scrutiny after reports that the coffee was produced by farmers in the country’s poorest state, who earned 93p for each 500g bag (sold here for £10).
Alvarez may not share her husband’s limelight, but she does mirror his political views. Her social media feeds are full of political comment, and she has attended the Human Rights Convention in Geneva, as well as speaking during debates on human rights in Mexico, in the Houses of Parliament (when she was listed as a ‘Mexican student and activist’).
After leaving her banking job in Mexico, she reportedly worked for the National Commission for Human Rights until 2011. London’s Birkbeck University confirmed that she had enrolled on a two-year part-time course in human rights in 2014.
In 2015, Alvarez declined an invitation from the Queen to attend a state banquet in honour of Chinese president Xi Jinping. Corbyn attended on his own, while a spokesman denied that it was a “snub”.
According to reports, Alvarez and her husband enjoy nights in, watching Eastenders, drinking the odd glass of wine and eating food grown on his allotment.