For years, former football star turned Republican senatorial candidate Herschel Walker has expressed an enormous pride and love for his adult son, while taking a principled stand against fatherless households and deadbeat dads—specifically in the Black community.
“And I want to apologize to the African-American community, because the fatherless home is a major, major problem,” Walker said in a September 2020 interview, adding that he had been “like a father to some of those kids that had never had fathers.”
The month before, Walker—who co-parented his 22-year-old son, Christian with both his ex-wife and current wife—told right-wing internet personalities Diamond and Silk that if you have “a child with a woman, even if you have to leave that woman… you don’t leave the child.”
What Walker hasn’t publicly acknowledged is that he has a second son, who has apparently been estranged from his biological father since his birth a decade ago.
The son, whose name The Daily Beast is withholding out of privacy concerns, has grown up more than 1,500 miles from Walker’s Texas home. And the mother, whose name we are also withholding for privacy reasons, had to take Walker to court a year after giving birth in order to secure a declaration of paternity and child support.
The Daily Beast confirmed these events through public posts, a court document where Walker is declared to be the child’s father, and a person close to the boy’s family with direct knowledge of the events.
That person told The Daily Beast that while Walker sends Christmas and birthday presents, he otherwise has not played an active parental role in raising his second son. The child also has not met or spoken with his half-brother, Christian, the person said.
Walker’s campaign manager, Scott Paradise, told The Daily Beast in a statement that Walker—who will try to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in the fall—is “proud of his children.”
“Herschel had a child years ago when he wasn’t married. He’s supported the child and continues to do so. He’s proud of his children. To suggest that Herschel is ‘hiding’ the child because he hasn’t used him in his political campaign is offensive and absurd,” Paradise said.
The statement continued, “Raphael Warnock is currently engaged in both a nasty mudslinging campaign and a nasty custody dispute with his ex-wife. He is trying to hide it from voters by sealing the case and even tried to hide from authorities. This is a complete double standard.”
Paradise did not provide evidence to support the claim that Warnock “tried to hide from authorities.”
Meredith Brasher, Warnock’s communications director, called the senator a “devoted” father and co-parent.
“Reverend Warnock is a devoted father who is proud to continue to co-parent his two children as he works for the people of Georgia,” Brasher told The Daily Beast.
Walker’s paternity suit dragged on for more than a year after his sworn admission, according to the declaration and a court official’s review of the case to The Daily Beast. When the court issued its final child support order in Aug. 2014, the boy was more than 2 years old. The child took the last name of Walker.
According to a public document about the suit, Walker and the mother of his second son struck up a relationship on Nov. 1, 2008, lasting through Sept. 16, 2011, about nine months before the son was born.
It’s unclear why the relationship ended. Around that time, Walker appears to have been romantically involved with at least three women. In 2010, Walker told talk radio host Howard Stern that he’d only slept with two women, the second of whom was his current, unnamed girlfriend.
Two of those three women have accused Walker of violent behavior, including death threats against them. Walker has denied the claims.
One of the women was Blanchard, who in February 2012 identified herself as Walker’s fiance. The next month, January 2012, a third woman, Myka Dean, also claimed to be in an “on-and-off” relationship with Walker lasting around two decades.
Dean made that claim in a police report filed in Irving, Texas, in which she alleged that Walker had threatened to “blow her head off” and then take his own life, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Dean died in 2019.
Walker’s first wife, Cindy Grossman, has also accused the football-star-turned-Senate-candidate of being “physically abusive.” She also claimed Walker once threatened to “blow” her “brains out.” In 2005, Grossman secured a protective order against Walker over the threat allegations. The judge even temporarily revoked Walker’s right to carry a gun, the Associated Press reported.
Still, Walker, Grossman, and Blanchard all helped raise Christian Walker, the former Pro-Bowler’s son with Grossman.
Walker, who in a December 2019 interview said his greatest accomplishment was being a good father, has pointed to his parenting as a model for other unconventional families.
Asked in the Diamond and Silk interview, “What about teaching our Black men that if you lay down with a woman and you make a baby, it is your responsibility to stay there and make sure that child is raised?” Walker replied, “Homeboy know dad is in his life”—referencing Christian Walker, now 22 years old.
He went on to paint a picture of his ex-wife and her husband, his current wife, and son seated around a restaurant table. “And people look at us like, ‘They’re crazy.’ And I said, no, we get along because it ain’t about us no more,” Walker said.
Walker has emphasized a team approach to parenting, calling on community members to come to the aid of kids with absent fathers.
“We’ve got a lot of NFL players. We have a lot of NBA players. And they want to help. They’ve given millions of dollars to Black Lives Matter. Let’s not do that,” he said to Diamond and Silk.
“I say what we need to do is let’s go in all the neighborhood [sic] and let’s become fathers of those fatherless child [sic]. Meaning let’s try to direct them in the right way,” he said.
At the same time, Walker has taken a hardline anti-abortion stance, calling last month for a total ban with “no exceptions.”
Walker’s opponent, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), is currently involved in a child custody dispute of his own with his ex-wife. She is “seeking changes to their child custody arrangement.” She has asked a Georgia family court to adjust child support payments commensurate with Warnock’s increased personal income after joining the Senate.
Political opponents, including the Republican National Committee, have fashioned the suit into a line of attack. In April, an RNC spokesperson accused Warnock of “ignoring the financial needs of his own children,” despite the fact that Warnock does not stand accused of ducking child support.
But in light of the revelation about his second son and paternity suit, Walker’s musings about a close-knit family life appears rife with hypocrisy.
For instance, in an informal 2017 speech, Walker reflected fondly on his relationship with his son Christian, advising his audience, “if you got a child, hug your child every day.”
“I have a 17-year-old, Christian. I love that dude. I love him to death,” Walker said. He added, “He’s 17, he’s trying to pull away. I tell him, ‘Hey, dude, until you’re big enough to throw me off, boy I’m going to kiss you and hug you.’”
And in a Presidential Fitness panel appearance one year later, Walker said that while parental involvement is “very, very important,” so was “adults getting involved with kids, because some kid [sic] do not have a parent, a mother or a father.”
“So I don’t think I want to leave that kid behind. I want to be involved with him as well,” he said.