Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for the Georgia Senate, claims he confirmed Friday for the first time the identity of the woman who claimed he paid for her abortion 13 years ago when she texted the allegation to his wife.
In a brief interview with NBC News, Herschel Walker said this was also the first time the woman, who is the mother of one of his four children, told him or his wife that she had had an abortion.
“Did you know that Herschel paid for my abortion the first time? Or that he told me it wasn’t the ‘right time’ to have [a their current child]?” the woman wrote in a 9:54 AM text message sent Friday to Herschel Walker’s wife, Julie Walker.
In response, Julie Walker acknowledged that she tried to be a mediator between Herschel Walker and the woman, who rarely corresponded directly with her son’s father.
“This message makes me incredibly sad. You know I’ve been constantly trying to bridge a better relationship between you and Herschel [the child] first,” Julie Walker wrote to the woman, who did not return messages to NBC News asking for comment.
The Walker campaign delivered copies of the text messages to NBC News hours before The New York Times published an interview with the woman, who claimed that Walker had paid for the abortion in 2009 and tried to pressure her into aborting their young son. NBC News is withholding the names of the woman and the child to protect their identities.
“The first thing I knew about this was when a journalist asked me about an abortion. And I’m like, ‘No, that’s a lie.’ And then I was asked if I was paying for an abortion, and I said no. I didn’t pay for an abortion,” Herschel Walker said. “I’m not saying she did or didn’t have one [an abortion]. I say I don’t know about that. I don’t know.”
Herschel Walker, who often restricts interviews to conservative news outlets, added: “I have nothing to hide. That’s why I’m talking to you.”
The messages his campaign delivered between the woman and Julie Walker date back to May 2022.
The reports provide a glimpse of the caustic effects of a political campaign on a family whose relationships grew increasingly strained as details of the former football star’s personal life were reported, from the four children he had with four different women to violent episodes in his past.
The woman’s claim, first reported on Monday by The everyday beastrocked Walker’s campaign, leaving top Republicans wondering if he would survive the impeachment, which questioned the conservative credentials of a candidate who claims he is staunchly anti-abortion.
Herschel Walker’s eldest son, social media influencer Christian Walker, went on to denounce his father as a liar and hypocrite, criticizing him for having multiple children.
Earlier in the campaign, Christian Walker appeared to support his father, accompanying him in at least one event.
According to the text messages, the woman also expressed early support for Herschel Walker’s campaign, especially in the run-up to the May 24 primaries, when Walker first started running as an anti-abortion conservative.
“He will do great and you will keep him focused! Proud of you!” the woman wrote to Julie Walker on the day of the primaries. “I wish you nothing but the best tonight!!!”
The night after Herschel Walker’s win, the woman texted again, “Congratulations!!!”
Messages between the two women — once laced with friendly chatter about the boy’s overnight camp or waning interest in Pokemon — grew increasingly tense as the woman began answering phone calls from reporters about Herschel Walker’s children with various women.
After the primary, the woman warned Julie Walker that she had been contacted by a reporter and asked Julie Walker if she should tell the press that the candidate “100% compliant with the child benefit agreement.”
Days later, on June 15, Julie Walker shared a series of suggestions with the woman on how to respond to press inquiries. Those posts came a day after the Daily Beast ran a story about one of Herschel Walker’s Previously Publicly Unrecognized Children.
The woman replied on July 7 when she asked, “Any more surprises we should know?” It turned out to be a disguised reference to two Daily Beast articles report that Walker had two more previously publicly unrecognized children and that he lied about it to the campaign staff?. In a statement to the Daily Beast in response to the report on the additional children, Walker said: “I have four children. Three sons and a daughter. They are not ‘unknown’ – they are my children.”
He added that he simply chose “not to use them as props to win a political campaign. What parent would want their child to get so involved in garbage, gutter politics?” Walker’s campaign declined to comment to the Daily Beast about the report about lying to his staff, and his campaign manager criticized the report as “pure gossip”.
In Friday’s text messages between the two, the woman explained that she knew nothing about any of the other Walker children, saying that the boy was “a surprise to all of us” among the rest of the family.
Julie Walker said in an interview that Walker’s paternity stories “turn people against each other” in the family.
The woman showed to The New York Times and the Daily Beast a copy of a $575 receipt from an Atlanta abortion clinic that she said she received after her surgery in 2009, and showed the outlets a copy of a check for $ 700 which she believed was a refund check from Walker. In addition, she gave the outlets a copy of a “get well soon” card with a handwritten message signed “H” along with the message: “Pray you feel better.”
Both outlets reported confirming the details of the woman’s abortion accusation with a close friend who supported and comforted her through both pregnancies and after her first abortion.
Walker told NBC News he can’t remember sending the card or check.
“I don’t remember a card or check or anything. But I was dating her. I could have sent some money. I could have sent a card. But not for the reasons she says,” he said.
The New York Times also interviewed a friend of the woman who said she cared for the woman after her abortion in 2009 and then supported her during her pregnancy two years later.
The woman told her that Walker wanted her to abort the child she ended up keeping, The Times reported, which Walker also denied.
Walker’s appeal of strict anti-abortion views was too onerous for the mother involved in the text exchange, she told The New York Times, saying she’s a Democrat and “the fact that I had a choice — now he’s trying in the public to say that he wants to issue a complete ban on abortion… I was stunned.”
But Walker said the woman knew “I’m a Christian,” while also acknowledging the long-standing tensions between them.
“She’s been mad at me for years and that’s very difficult. She is a big advocate for abortion rights; that’s what she said,’ he said.
Julie Walker didn’t question her motives and instead said, “I’m sad. I’m totally taken back. I want Herschel to have a relationship with his child and now this is just hard.”