MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - It was a Valentine's Day revelation. The bikini model U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) was tweeting with during the State of the Union is his daughter, a 24-year-old daughter the congressman says he didn't know he had until three years ago.
"I have a beautiful daughter and I'm very happy," Cohen told ABC 24 by phone.
But it was all a secret until the cameras caught Cohen tweeting during the President's State of the Union speech. Those tweets with bikini model Victoria Brink looked very flirty. Brink said: 'Just saw you on tv.'
Cohen responded: 'Nice to know you were watching. Happy Valentines beautiful girl. ILU' - which is text shorthand for 'I love you.'
There were other tweets too, and Washington gossip went wild. Cohen was finally forced to reveal the private truth.
"In some ways, it's wonderful because I can share with the world the beauty of my daughter, share more experiences with her. On the other hand, I'm pretty exhausted because it's been a very emotional couple of days with a lot of scurrilous things said that nobody had any reason to say."
Cohen says he found out about Victoria after Googling her mother and making a phone call.
"I said, 'By the way, your youngest daughter is absolutely gorgeous,' and she said yes she was and every time she looked at her, she saw me in her face… and I said, 'Well, I kind of saw that, too.' And then we started to talk."
Cohen says he finally met his daughter over dinner in Houston, Texas five months after that phone call.
Before ABC 24 could ask any more questions, Cohen said he was tired and quickly ended the call.
The day before, his press secretary said the congressman told him Victoria Brink was the daughter of a long time friend. He said the congressman's staff didn't know the truth until moments before Cohen went public.