What do Victoria Brink, a 24-year-old Texas State University student and swimsuit model, and 63-year-old Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., have in common?
The question baffled many, after Cohen tweeted Brink the acronym “ilu,” shorthand for “I love you,” in two different messages and deleted the messages immediately. The tweets occurred during the State of the Union address Tuesday and led to speculation that Cohen was romantically involved with Brink.
“@victoria_brink pleased u r watching. ilu” and “@victoria_brink nice to know you were watchin SOTU(state of the union).Happy Valentines beautiful girl. ilu” were the tweets Cohen sent Brink and deleted. They were archived by politwoops.sunlightfoundation.com, a website that houses all deleted tweets by politicians.
Cohen originally refuted the speculation in an interview with WMC-TV in Memphis, Tenn. by providing that Brink was the daughter of a friend. However, on Thursday evening, Cohen released news that Brink is actually his daughter.
“Today after much discussion she was able to give me the freedom to say that I’m her father, that she cleared it up with the man who’s been known as her father,” Cohen told CNN.
Cohen said he has known that Brink is his daughter for about three years and found this information out when Google searching Brink’s mother. He found that the woman had a child around the time he was involved with her, and upon contacting the woman, she confirmed it.
Though Cohen and Brink knew the truth, the family kept this fact a secret from the man who raised Brink.
When Cohen originally broke the news to CBS and NBC affiliates in his office Thursday, he noted, “It shocked me that female reporters, in addition to male reporters, did this reporting, which I considered sexist. My daughter is beautiful, and she has a great figure. She has had some opportunities to pose as a swimsuit model, and that’s all they could concentrate on.”
Cohen has never been married, and he said he regrets not knowing about his daughter or being there when she was growing up.
“But now I have a child, and I’m very proud of her and it’s a good thing,” he said.