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In May 2020, a video surfaced in the media showing the death of a 45 years old George Floyd gasping for air under the knee of Officer Derek Chauvin on a Minneapolis Street corner. This video sparked nationwide protests against police brutality. The death of Mr. Floyd started a new movement in the name of “Black Lives Matter“
However, very few know that this incident not only shook entire America but also shattered the relationship of Officer Derek Chauvin with his wife Kellie Chauvin, who filed for divorce after three days of this incident.
Crowned as Mrs. Minnesota in 2019, Kellie Chauvin, instead of supporting her husband, stood with the grieving family.
But why did she decide to leave her husband after ten years when he needed her the most? Let’s find out.
Kellie May Thao was born in Laos (a socialist state and the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia) on October 21, 1974. Both of her parents belong to the Hmong tribe.
When Kellie was three, her family decided to leave the country because of the civil war going on in their country. They fled to Thailand and stayed in the refugee camp which was allocated for the victims of the Laotian Civil War (1959-75)
According to Kellie, the conditions of the camp were very bad. The people lived in dire conditions, and the memories of her time in camp still haunt her. During her days at camp, Kellie wore a boy jacket to protect her from the cold.
Kellie once shared her thoughts about her time at camp and said she quit ingesting oatmeal because it reminds her of dark times.
After spending three years in the camp, they finally arrived at Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Kellie started her formal education by taking admission to kindergarten in 1984. She faced many difficulties and bullying in school at the start as the English language was new to her. In an interview, she said,
They say ‘land of the free ‘… but I still didn’t feel like we were free. We didn’t know English. My parents didn’t want us to leave the house because they didn’t trust the world. You land into this brand-new world and you don’t know what to expect, and so we were always kept inside.
After Kellie graduated from high school at seventeen, her parents forced her to marry Kujay Xiong whom she barely knew. According to Kellie, it is essential for a Hmong to marry at a young age. She said,
As a Hmong woman, if you’re not married by 18 … then your parents think that nobody will marry you
Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t work, and after the divorce, Kellie continued her education by taking admission to college, where she earned an associate’s degree in Radiology.
Later in her life, Kellie got admission to Kaplan University to seek a course in Residential Real Estate.
After completing her associate’s degree in Radiology, Kellie started a job as an intern at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, a position that later became a full-time position.
She worked there for 13 years but later decided to change her profession. Upon resigning from the hospital, Kellie worked for RE/MAX Results.
Following a suggestion from a close friend, Kellie participated in the USOA’s Mrs. Minnesota pageant in 2018 and became the first-ever Hmong to win.
Love Life And Relationship
Mrs. Minnesota first married Kujay Xiong at the young age of 17, which was actually an arranged marriage because, as a Hmong lady, she had to marry before reaching the age of 18.
Her new husband was completely a stranger to her. The marriage was pretty disastrous as she became the victim of domestic violence. Kellie was forced to remain with this guy for ten years.
During this time, she gave birth to two beautiful children. Finally, Kellie got the courage to escape from this abusive relationship by divorcing her husband. After her divorce, she moved to Minnesota in search of a better life.
After her divorce, Kellie shifted her focus to her education and career. She was extra careful when it came to relationships because she didn’t want to end up in another abusive relationship.
During her job at Hennepin County Medical Center, Kellie met her future husband, Derek Chauvin, who was on duty and had brought someone for a health check-up before arrest. A romance blossomed, and they fell in love. The couple started dating, and later, On June 12, 2012, Kellie and Derek Chauvin officially tied a knot in Washington County.
After being crowned as Mrs. Minnesota in 2018, she shared her romantic love story with the media and said,
Under that uniform, he’s just a softie. He’s such a gentleman. He still opens the door for me, still puts my coat on for me. After my [previous] divorce, I had a list of must-haves if I were ever to be in a relationship, and he fit all of them.
The couple then moved to Florida and bought their first home in Windermere for an estimated amount of about $200,000.
Beauty Pageant Contest
In 2018 Kellie’s best friend Sophia Xiong-Yang convinced her to participate in USOA’s Mrs. Minnesota 2018. At first, Kellie was reluctant, but she entered her name in the contest.
I just knew that for myself. I was better than what people made me out to be, and further said, I know it took me a long time to realize that, but it’s never too late.
Her decision turned out to be correct, and she was crowned as “Mrs. Minnesota 2019” and became the first Hmong woman to win this prestigious title.
Kellie told the media that she was bullied in school during her childhood for her looks, and the whole school used to call her an ugly child. But now, she is a confident woman who spends most of her spare time working as a translator at local hospitals to make a difference in the life of Hmong women.
George Floyd’s Death
The tragic death of George Floyd not only shook the world, but it also shook the relationship of Kellie with her beloved husband Derek Chauvin, who was the murderer of George.
On May 25, 2020, a 46-year-old George was killed by Derek Chauvin after being pinned to the ground for more than nine minutes under the knee of Mr. Chauvin.
The incident was filmed and posted on the media, where it went viral. This video sparked outrage in America and around the globe, which led to weeks of protests.
Kellie’s husband, Mr. Chauvin, and his other three fellow officers — Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng – who were present at the time of this incident were fired and arrested for this murder.
On April 20, 2021, Mr. Chauvin, 45, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
On June 25, 2021, Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Chauvin to 22 and half years in prison in Minneapolis court.
In the official statement, Judge Peter Cahill wrote,
Chauvin “abused his position of trust or authority” and treated Floyd with “particular cruelty.” Chauvin treated Floyd “without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings.”
Kellie Divorce Derek
Kellie Chauvin filed for divorce from Derek on May 28, three days after Floyd’s brutal death, which shows that she was not happy about her husband Derek.
In the legal court papers, Kellie mentioned that she didn’t want any financial compensation as she is capable of taking care of herself.
The statement further stated,
“[The] respondent is fully capable of supporting herself,”. Both Kellie and her estranged husband waived their rights to “temporary or permanent spousal maintenance” from each other.
Kellie also requested the court to change her name in the papers, but she didn’t suggest the name she wanted to use.
“She is seeking a name change solely because of this marriage dissolution.” The divorce papers also read: Even though Kellie Chauvin “is currently unemployed,” she is “self-supporting” and “is not in need of spousal maintenance.”
Kellie Chauvin’s View On George Floyd’s Death
Kellie and her husband, Chauvin’s relationship, was shattered after the tragic George Floyd incident.
She released a statement through her Minneapolis lawyer about this incident. In this statement, she said that she was “devastated” by Mr. Floyd’s death and sent her “utmost sympathy” to his grieving family. She said,
I am devastated by Mr. Floyd’s death and my utmost sympathy lies with his family, with his loved ones, and with everyone who is grieving this tragedy.
She also requested the public to respect the privacy of her family and children during this sad time and requested the government to provide safety to her family and children as she was receiving threats.
Kellie’s brother was also in the police, and when her husband Derek Chauvin was arrested for the murder of George, rumors spread on social media that she was the sister of former police officer Tou Thao.
These rumors were silenced by Kellie’s divorce lawyer Amanda Mason-Sekula who told the media that Kellie has no relationship with former police officer Tou Thao.
As the nationwide protests began against police brutality after the death of George Floyd. Kellie became the victim of cyberbullying, and people on social media started calling her ‘Lu’ (lit. Asian women who are in relationships with white men as a form of white worship). She was also labeled as “self-hating and complicity with white supremacy” on social media.
Assets & Properties
She and Derek Chauvin own a house in Minnesota valued at $273,800, as well as a townhouse worth $226,282 in Florida.
According to nine felony tax evasion counts filed against them in July 2020, Derek and she underreported their joint income by $464,433, including more than $95,000 for Derek’s off-duty security work.
Some Lesser-Known Facts About Kellie
- Kellie and her husband Derek Chauvin don’t have any children, but she has two kids from her previous marriage.
- In her childhood days, Kellie Chauvin was teased and bullied because of her looks and her classmate called her ugly.
- Kellie was named “2019 Grand Marshal of the Oakdale Summerfest Parade” in May 2019.
- Kellie’s hobby is helping people. She also donates and volunteers with Hmong Empowering Women, a non-profit organization.
- Kellie is an animal lover and also has a cute pet dog.
- On August 18, 1991, she married Kujay Xiong, who was 20 years old, and she was only 17.