Rep. Madison Cawthorn announced his divorce after less than a year of marriage, citing a 'hectic and difficult' lifestyle change following his election

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  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn and his wife are divorcing after less than a year of marriage.

  • Cawthorn, 26, said "irreconcilable differences" arose between them because of his job in Congress.

  • Days before, he publicly advocated that people should marry while young.

North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn and his wife Cristina Bayardelle Cawthorn are divorcing after being married for slightly less than a year, with the GOP congressman citing a change in his lifestyle after his election into the House of Representatives.

Cawthorn, 26, said that he and his wife had run into "irreconcilable differences," in a statement tweeted Wednesday by his representative Luke Ball.

"When Cristina and I were engaged, I was not a member of Congress. I felt called to serve, and we both agreed that I should run," the statement read. "Our victory was unprecedented, but overnight our lives changed. That change has been both hectic and difficult. It's neither the pace nor the lifestyle we had planned for."

He said that he and Bayardelle, 28, "committed to mak[ing] things work" and sought "counsel for balancing the enormity of such a transition in life."

"Together, we realized that balance was not attainable and that we had irreconcilable differences between us. While it was an enormously difficult decision, Cristina and I have mutually decided to divorce," Cawthorn's statement continued.

Cawthorn and Bayardelle were legally married on Dec. 30, 2020, North Carolina newspaper BlueRidgeNow previously reported. They later held a religious wedding on April 3 of this year, the anniversary of the 2014 car accident that left the congressman partially paralyzed using a wheelchair.

On the day of his wedding, the representative had called marrying Bayardelle "the greatest honor, privilege, and adventure of my life."

Two days before his divorce announcement, Cawthorn had advocated for marrying young at the "Americafest" conference run by Turning Point USA.

"People will call me a radical for believing that, you know, you should be a Christian, you should get married young, you should have as many kids as possible, you should be as successful as you possibly can," he said on Monday. "They'll say I'm an extremist for that."

"And I just look at 'em and said: How can you believe that?" he said.

Cawthorn's press office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Bayardelle told FOX46 News that she and Cawthorn had shared an "incredible journey together" and still had a "great friendship."

Cawthorn's political career has been marked by multiple controversies. Prior to his election last November, several women he went to college with accused him of sexual misconduct. In February, he attempted to board a plane with a gun and a loaded magazine. More recently, Cawthorn has positioned himself as an anti-mask, anti-vaccine firebrand, and has attended school board meetings across North Carolina to advocate against mask and vaccine mandates.

In April, Cawthorn missed 15 votes in Congress while away on honeymoon, which he defended by saying he was fulfilling his "service as a husband."

Cawthorn asked for privacy as he and Bayardelle proceed with their divorce.

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