Katie Hill, the former California congresswoman who resigned last year amid a personal scandal she believes was fueled by her ex and an allegation that she was having an affair with a staffer — which she denied — now seems to have found a bit of humor in at least one part of her story.
On Saturday, she shared a PEOPLE article about HGTV featuring its first “throuple” (a man and two women) who appeared on House Hunters.
Hill, 32, jokingly added in a tweet: “You know, I’m gonna take at least partial credit for enough of society knowing this term for it to be on House Hunters. Just sayin.”
Riffing on the article’s headline, she continued: “Also ‘representation matters’ has been like my tagline since the beginning so I will take it.”
In a sign of time passing — maybe burdens lessening — it was a far lighter tone than Hill had used last year when discussion the personal and professional turmoil that cut short her tenure in Congress.
As she wrote in a December column for The New York Times, her breaking point almost came with the publication in the conservative blog Red State and British tabloid The Daily Mail of personal text messages and nude photos revealing, among other things, a sexual relationship she’d had with a female campaign staffer. She wrote in the Times that she contemplated suicide soon after her resignation.
Both outlets reported that she’d been in a consensual three-way relationship with a female campaign staffer and her now-estranged husband (she admitted being involved with the campaign worker, calling it “inappropriate”).
Hill wrote in her Times op-ed in December that she believed Kenny Heslep, whom she was divorcing, was “the source of the images” and the leak was revenge for her leaving. Heslep, who did not previously return PEOPLE’s calls for comment, has reportedly denied he was the source and told his parents his computer was hacked.
“More than half of the victims of cyber exploitation (also known as revenge porn) contemplate suicide in the aftermath,” Hill wrote in the Times. “Many have attempted it, and some tragically have succeeded.”
The former representative’s decision to leave office capped off a 10-day scandal not only involving the photos and anonymously sourced details about her relationships with the campaign staffer and her husband but, more serious, the allegation that she was having an affair with her male legislative director.
In early 2018, in the shadow of the rise of the #MeToo movement, Congress passed new rules forbidding relationships between lawmakers and their staffers as a way to combat sexual harassment and misconduct on Capitol Hill.
Hill is one of the first openly bisexual members of Congress and was given a top position on the House Oversight Committee after flipping a district in Republican control for more than 20 years.
The House Ethics Committee said in October it was going to investigate, as Hill repeatedly denied the affair.
“During the final tumultuous years of my abusive marriage, I became involved in a relationship with someone on my campaign,” Hill said in a statement. “I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen against my better judgement. For that I apologize.”
Since leaving office, Hill has become a major voice for fighting cyber exploitation, which more and more lawmakers have sought to address. She also recently announced the launch of a group called Her Time, to support female candidates who wish to run for political office.
“I’m excited we’re starting that work,” Hill said last week. “And I’m going to dive all the way in on it.”
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