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Clinton's Father May Have Wedded Mother While Married, Papers Say

August 08, 1993| from Associated Press

KANSAS CITY — President Clinton's father might have married Clinton's mother before his divorce to another woman was final, newspapers reported Saturday.

The Kansas City Star and the Daily News of New York reported that Clinton's biological father, William Jefferson Blythe III, was married in 1941 in Jackson County, Mo., to a Kansas City woman.

Court records show that the woman filed for a divorce, granted April 13, 1944, seven months after Blythe married Virginia Cassidy, the President's mother, the newspapers said.

Clinton's mother, since remarried, told the Star on Friday: "I knew absolutely nothing about it. It was news to me."

Most Clinton biographies state his parents were married in 1942. But the marriage license in Arkansas lists the date as Sept. 3, 1943.

If Blythe was married to both women at the same time, the marriage to Clinton's mother was illegal under Arkansas law and he might have committed bigamy.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Lorraine Voles said there would be no comment.

The Kansas City woman, Wanetta Ellen Alexander, gave birth to a daughter, whose family claimed this week that she is Clinton's half sister. The daughter, Sharon Lee Pettijohn, lives in Tucson, as does her mother.

A still-earlier marriage for Blythe was reported in June, when a California man said he believes that he is Clinton's half brother. Clinton has spoken by phone with Henry Leon Ritzenthaler, 55, of Paradise, but has not acknowledged a relationship publicly.

Blythe died on May 17, 1946, three months before the President was born.

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