Helen and Matt have been married for 15 years as of November 2006, placing their marriage in 1991 (Ep. 7.19) and their children are approximately five years old (7.20). Helen claims she grew up in a small house (7.19), and upon becoming "First Lady-elect", she seemed daunted by the luxury of the White House (7.19 & 7.20). Like her husband, she is Roman Catholic, and attends church with her family (7.10 & 7.22). Helen is aware of her husband's payments to Anita Morales, a former Houston City Hall clerk who had a child by Matt's unreliable brother (7.14). Little is revealed in the series about Helen's employment background, education and personal history.
Helen holds liberal views on education funding, healthcare and the death penalty (6.13) and on felon voting (7.15). She is also opposed to ethanol subsidies, believing them to be waste of money (6.13). On several of these issues, she clashed with her husband and his campaign manager, Josh Lyman, over their willingness to take more politically safe stances. Helen was initially not on board with her husband's presidential run (6.09 & 6.10), but grew to support him, and when her husband was willing to take the Vice Presidential slot on the Democratic ticket in exchange for propping up "lightweight" Vice President Bob Russell of Colorado for the presidential nomination, she urged her husband to instead fight on against Russell, convinced that Russell could never win the general election (6.21). However, she did begin to have doubts about her husband's candidacy at times, particularly when it put a strain on their family (6.18 & 7.10).
As First Lady, she chose Donna Moss, the Santos campaign's Press Secretary, to be her Chief of Staff, feeling that Donna was capable and that the two of them had a rapport (7.19). It was also revealed that campaign media staffer Annabeth Schott would serve as the First Lady's Press Secretary (7.22). When discussing the nature of Mrs Santos' role as First Lady, Donna suggested that she might want to consider a "middle course", rather than simply be viewed as either an activist (as Abigail Bartlet was often viewed) or as a goodwill ambassador (7.19). White House decorator Gail Addison met with First Lady-elect Santos about redesigning the White House and fundraising for this, while Education Secretary Jim Kane helped her find schools for her children (7.20).
It was discovered by the press that Helen has a tattoo on her lower back and sometimes wears thong underwear (7.10).
|First Lady of the United States
2007 - present
Helen Santos is played by Teri Polo. She featured in the film "Meet the Parents".