/Rep. Ilhan Omar Is Divorcing Her Husband, with Whom She Shares 3 Kids: 'A Difficult Time'
Rep. Ilhan Omar Is Divorcing Her Husband, with Whom She Shares 3 Kids: 'A Difficult Time'

Rep. Ilhan Omar Is Divorcing Her Husband, with Whom She Shares 3 Kids: 'A Difficult Time'

Rep. Ilhan Omar Is Divorcing Her Husband, with Whom She Shares 3 Kids: 'A Difficult Time'

From left: Rep. Ilhan Omar and her husband, Ahmed Hirsi

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Freshman Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who burst into the national spotlight last fall as part of a wave of trailblazing lawmakers in Congress, has filed from divorce from her husband, Ahmed Hirsi, PEOPLE confirms.

The divorce petition, which was first reported by TMZ, was filed on Friday. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 29, court records show.

Omar, 37, cited “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship,” according to TMZ, and is seeking joint custody of her three children with Hirsi, 39.

A spokeswoman for Omar did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. Hirsi could not be reached.

“As with all marriages, this is intensely personal and a difficult time for their family,” a spokesperson for Omar told TMZ, adding, “Just like any other family navigating this kind of transition, Ilhan wishes to have their privacy respected for themselves and their children and will not be commenting any further.”

The spokesperson also cited what they called years of “speculation and innuendo from political opponents and the media,” which had “taken a significant toll on Ilhan, Ahmed, and their three children.”

They were apparently referring, in part, to reports this year in mostly conservative media based on court documents from a political consultant’s estranged wife alleging that Omar had an affair with the consultant. The consultant reportedly denied this, charging the accusation was part of a smear campaign.

Separately, in 2016, Omar shot down the baseless claim — which she called “absurd and offensive” — that her previous husband, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, was actually her brother and the two had really wed to advance his own immigration case.

Rep. Ilhan Omar Is Divorcing Her Husband, with Whom She Shares 3 Kids: 'A Difficult Time'

From left: Ahmed Hirsi and Rep. Ilhan Omar in 2016

STEPHEN MATUREN/AFP/Getty

Rep. Ilhan Omar Is Divorcing Her Husband, with Whom She Shares 3 Kids: 'A Difficult Time'

Rep. Ilhan Omar (second from left) with Ahmed Hirsi (second from right) in April 2018

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty

Rep. Ilhan Omar Is Divorcing Her Husband, with Whom She Shares 3 Kids: 'A Difficult Time'

From left: Ahmed Hirsi and Rep. Ilhan Omar in November

KEREM YUCEL/AFP/Getty

A former state lawmaker, Omar arrived in the U.S. as a young Somali refugee and later became a citizen. She was first elected to Minnesota’s House of Representatives in 2016 and joined the U.S. House last fall as Democrats overwhelmingly won the midterm elections.

She is one of the first Muslims elected to Congress and an outspoken progressive critic of President Donald Trump, who notoriously told her to “go back” to where she came from earlier this year. With Trump leading the vitriol against her, Omar became a favorite target of some conservatives who targeted her ethnicity, religion, gender and political beliefs.

In response to Trump’s attack, she tweeted, “I am where I belong, at the people’s house and you’re just gonna have to deal!”

In a New York Times profile last year, Omar described how she cried after she ran into George Rep. John Lewis, an icon of the civil right’s movement, during her orientation in Congress.

“I said to him, ‘Sir, I read about you in middle school, and you’re here in the flesh, and I get to be your colleague.’ … There are moments — every single minute — that I’ve been here where I almost want to pinch myself,” she said.

  • By Adam Carlson