On a Friday last August, Sean Hannity flew his private helicopter to Trump National Golf Course in Colts Neck, New Jersey, to attend the wedding of Fox & Friends weekend host Pete Hegseth and Fox producer Jennifer Rauchet. Inside Fox, the wedding had been a topic of much discussion. Hegseth and Rauchet reportedly had an affair and a child together while still married to their respective spouses. But Hannity’s helicopter arrival, a Trumpian piece of theater, was what one former Fox executive remembered most about the event. “Hannity emerged from the chopper with [Fox & Friends host] Ainsley Earhardt, and they made this grand entrance together,” the former executive recalled. “People were like, Wow, okay.”
It was as if Hannity and Earhardt were the first couple of Fox News—which they are. Four current and former Fox News staffers told me that Hannity and Earhardt are dating—and have been for quite some time. Hannity and Earhardt aren’t acknowledging their relationship to colleagues, but two Hannity friends told me they have observed them together in social situations where they’ve acted like a couple. “I knew they were involved. I saw it when we were all together,” a Fox staffer told me. “It wasn’t even that hidden,” a Hannity friend said. According to the staffer, Earhardt has been hosting Fox & Friends during the coronavirus from a remote studio in the basement of Hannity’s Long Island mansion. Earhardt also uses Hannity’s lawyer as her television agent, two sources said.
Through a Fox News spokesperson, Hannity said, “I do not discuss my personal life in public.”
Through a Fox News spokesperson, Earhardt said, “Right now I am focused on raising my daughter. As anyone at Fox News will tell you, Sean is a wonderful person and whomever he chooses to date will be extremely fortunate.” In a followup statement, she said: “I am not dating anyone.”
People reported in October 2019 that Earhardt and her husband, with whom she has a four-year-old daughter, had divorced. “I have dated a few times and I’ve met some wonderful people,” she told the magazine.
Last Wednesday, Page Six reported that Hannity and his wife had divorced more than a year ago. A former Fox executive speculated that the Page Six item, appearing in the Murdochs’ New York Post, was an indication that Hannity, 58, and Earhardt, 43, would soon go public with their relationship, and wanted it known that Hannity wasn’t still married. “To have it in Page Six is a way of saying, ‘This is happening, so let’s get ahead of it,’” the former executive said. But a person who spoke with Hannity said he was distraught by the item. “Sean thinks someone is trying to hurt him,” the source said. A Fox colleague said Hannity has become more guarded about himself in recent months. “He really has become kind of paranoid. He answers emails cryptically. It’s like he’s gone into the bunker,” the colleague said.
As Donald Trump’s poll numbers slide, Hannity’s and Earhardt’s loyalty is increasingly valuable, especially since, at the corporate level, confidence in Trump is waning. Two sources said Rupert Murdoch has recently told people that he believes Trump is going to lose in November. “Rupert thinks Trump is going to crash and burn. It’s a clear-eyed assessment, just based on just looking at the news,” said a person who has spoken with Murdoch about the election.
Trump’s smoldering unhappiness with Fox has more and more been bursting into open flame. He attacks coverage he deems insufficiently positive and rages at Fox polls that, like other credible surveys, show Trump losing to Joe Biden. Yesterday Trump objected to Fox’s decision to cut away from a congressional hearing on police reform, tweeting: “Incredible! @FoxNews just took Congressional Hearing off the air just prior to important witness statements. More like CNN!!! Fox is lost!!!” Last month Trump tweeted his support for Fox competitor One America News, which has been in talks with Trump-friendly investors about doing a deal. “OANN is Great News, not Fake News. Everybody should be carrying them!” Trump wrote.