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Former House Speaker, longtime lobbyist divorce

Rep. Jimmy Naifeh, fmr Speaker of the House
Rep. Jimmy Naifeh, fmr Speaker of the House

The 13-year marriage of longtime House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh and longtime lobbyist Betty Anderson has ended.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the marriage, which sometimes raised controversy for the former speaker, has ended quietly and amicably. Both parties confirmed in separate interviews that they divorced in a Tipton County court in July. They did not announce the divorce. Anderson said she was surprised that no media picked up the story.

Queried if the parting was on good terms, Naifeh replied “Very much so. We used the same attorney, if that tells you anything.”

Anderson commented the couple has always had great mutual respect for one another and always will. “We’re still friends.”

The couple married in 1995, when Naifeh was House speaker and Anderson was a top legislative lobbyist.

Despite criticism that their relationship gave Anderson too much influence, they contend they consistently sought to avoid conflicts of interests and that Naifeh often took contrary positions to Anderson’s lobbying stances.


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