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Claire Underwood

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US Vice President Seal

Claire Underwood
Claire Underwood
Name: Claire Hale Underwood
Status: Alive
Age: 52
Date of birth: April 8, 1965
Birthplace: Highland Park, Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Nationality: Flag of the United States American
Religion: Christian
Residence(s): Washington D.C.
Education: Radcliffe College, Harvard University
Affiliation: Frank Underwood, CWI, UN
Profession: Lobbyist,
Vice-Presidential Nominee,
former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations,
former CEO of Clean Water Initiative
Mother: Elizabeth Hale
Marital status: Married
Spouse(s): Frank Underwood
Significant other(s): Ex-lovers;
Adam Galloway
Edward Meechum
Thomas Yates
Children: with Dalton McGinnis;
Unborn child (aborted)
with an unknown man;
Unborn child (aborted)
with Frank Underwood;
Unborn child (aborted)
Played by: Robin Wright
Seasons: 1, 2, 3, 4
First episode: "Chapter 1"
Appears in: 4 seasons, 52 episodes

Claire Underwood (born April 8, 1965) is the 46th First Lady of the United States and the Vice Presidential nominee for the Democratic Party in the 2016 election. She previously served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations. Until the movement into the White House, she was also the Chief Executive Officer of Clean Water Initiative until she gave it to her Office Manager Gillian Cole.


Early life

Claire Hale Underwood was very close to her Father; her mother stating: "You got away with murder". This paternal closeness resulted in a strained relationship with her Mother. As Claire moved from childhood to adolescence this strain; turned to estrangement. Claire Underwood's mother always told her to frown less and smile more but never considered her personal feelings were in the way of her happiness; she just couldn't smile from the inside out.

In the Season 2, it is revealed that Claire grew up in the elite enclave city of Highland Park in Dallas County, Texas. Her parents were referred to as being very wealthy and she has come from generations of ranchers. Before attending Radcliffe she went to school at the prestigious Phillips Academy. Claire was also sexually assaulted by a classmate, future general Dalton McGinnis, during her freshman year at Radcliffe. Despite suggestions, Claire refers to her childhood as a happy one. 

In the third season (Chapter 32) it is revealed that Claire was 22 years old when she and Francis got married, 28 years prior. Therefore, Claire was born in 1965. 


Claire earned her bachelor's degree in environmental health and chemistry at Radcliffe College and her master's degree in public health at Harvard University.  At Radcliffe, Claire met Frank Underwood. The couple agreed not to have children, and in the finale of Season 1, it was revealed that Claire has had three abortions. Through an interview in Season 2, it was revealed that Claire's rapist is now a General in the military, and Claire falsely claimed she had an abortion afterward in order not to reveal to the public that she aborted Frank's child during his first campaign. 

During the military gala where McGinnis was to be given an award for his military deeds, Claire tells Frank the story behind freshman year. A story that Frank won't take with enthusiasm.

Clean Water Initiative

Up until Season 2, Claire was the CEO of the Clean Water Initiative. A charity, non-profit organization intent on bringing clean, drinkable water to developing, impoverished countries. During her tenure, she proved to be just as ruthless and pragmatic as her husband. One example was firing half of the CWI staff due to unavailability of funds after Frank was not made the Secretary of State. Also, one of the main reasons for her even working at CWI is simply to make herself and her husband seem like caring individuals.

When she and Frank moved into the White House, Gillian Cole (despite the fact that she was fired) became the CWI's new CEO, after a nasty fight between Claire and her about Gillian's healthcare plan for her unborn child. Claire ended the argument saying, "I am willing to let your child wither and die inside you if that's what's required."


Claire Underwood had a previous relationship during her youth with Adam Galloway. She left Frank for a time in Season 1 and went to stay with Adam in New York.

During Season 4, Claire develops a close relationship with novelist Thomas Yates upon his return to the White House. During Chapter 49, they are seen to engage in a relationship of a sexual nature. This continues over into Chapter 50, until Yates temporary departure. At the end of the episode, Claire is seen telling Yates she doesn't want him to leave, telling him "I want you back.", to which he replies, "I want you back too.".

Vice Presidential Nomination

After President Underwood's disastrous idea to hold an open Democratic caucus for the Vice Presidential nomination and the falling through of the failed nomination of Secretary of State Catherine Durant for the Vice Presidency, Durant withdraws from the vote and urges her delegates to pledge allegiance to the First Lady. This translates into a media coup, which results in Claire winning the Democratic Nomination for the Vice Presidency, putting her on her Husband's ticket.

Behind the Scenes

Claire Underwood was portrayed by Robin Wright in Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4 of House of Cards.


Season 1
"Chapter 1" "Chapter 2" "Chapter 3" "Chapter 4" "Chapter 5"
"Chapter 6" "Chapter 7" "Chapter 8" "Chapter 9" "Chapter 10"
"Chapter 11" "Chapter 12" "Chapter 13"
Season 2
"Chapter 14" "Chapter 15" "Chapter 16" "Chapter 17" "Chapter 18"
"Chapter 19" "Chapter 20" "Chapter 21" "Chapter 22" "Chapter 23"
"Chapter 24" "Chapter 25" "Chapter 26"
Season 3
"Chapter 27" "Chapter 28" "Chapter 29" "Chapter 30" "Chapter 31"
"Chapter 32" "Chapter 33" "Chapter 34" "Chapter 35" "Chapter 36"
"Chapter 37" "Chapter 38" "Chapter 39"
Season 4
"Chapter 40" "Chapter 41" "Chapter 42" "Chapter 43" "Chapter 44"
"Chapter 45" "Chapter 46" "Chapter 47" "Chapter 48" "Chapter 49"
"Chapter 50" "Chapter 51" "Chapter 52"


Claire Underwood is a strong and determined individual, traits she admires in others such as Gillian Cole and Zoe Barnes. She doesn't want to be coddled and held on a pedestal and mentions that Frank was the only man she dated that understood that. As the former leader of CWI, she held a position of power that she uses for the betterment of herself as well as Frank. When she became the Second Lady, she uses this same influence to bring a controversial topic into the national spotlight while recruiting Patricia Walker, the First Lady, to aid in her fight. She can be just as cold and calculating as Frank, as demonstrated by her decisions to fire half of her staff as well as later betray Frank by helping to defeat an important bill. Despite her ambitions and devotion to Frank, part of her also yearns for a life of spiritual freedom. This is what drew her to freelance photographer Adam Galloway, although she admits that she can't give up what she has with Frank. She has shown to have some guilt and sadness with her ruthless pragmatism, which is demonstrated following her visit to a rape victim who becomes suicidal after Claire uses and discards her. Her decision not to have children is perhaps something she second-guesses, as she has previously shown interest and affection towards Peter Russo's two children. She has previously had three abortions.


  • "My husband doesn't apologize. Even to me"
  • "I like irons. But I love fire."
  • Claire Underwood: "What should we serve the Walkers?
    Frank Underwood: "Cyanide?"
    Claire Underwood: "I'm saving that for dessert. What about the main course?"
  • (to Gillian Cole) "I'm willing to let your child wither and die inside you if that's what's required."
  • "I will talk about this if you want but if you’re doubting yourself, I can’t indulge that."
  • "The US Military is irrelevant..."


  • Claire is the only person who refers to Frank as Francis, and he is also listed in her phone as Francis. In what may have been a deliberate dig and power-play, in the midst of aiming to end their affair, Zoe Barnes does refer to Frank as Francis. His reaction to this is subtle but clear: no one calls him that but Claire.

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