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Imelda Marcos Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

(CNN) — Here’s a look at the life of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines. Wife of the late Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the Philippines for 20 years until he was ousted in 1986.


Birth date: July 2, 1929

Birth place: Manila, Philippines (some sources say Leyte Province)

Birth name: Imelda Remedios Visitacion Romualdez

Father: Vicente Orestes Romualdez

Mother: Remedios Trinidad

Marriage: Ferdinand Marcos (May 1, 1954-September 28, 1989, his death)

Children: Irene, Ferdinand Jr. “Bongbong” and Imee

Other Facts

Her nickname in the Philippines was the “Iron Butterfly.”

The Marcos family was accused of stealing billions of dollars from the Philippine people during Ferdinand’s presidency.

Famous for her lavish spending while first lady. At the time of her husband’s ouster from office, she left over 1,000 pairs of shoes and more than 800 purses behind when fleeing to Hawaii.


1954 – Imelda marries Ferdinand Marcos 11 days after meeting him.

December 30, 1965 – Becomes first lady of the Philippines at her husband’s presidential inauguration.

September 21, 1972 – President Marcos signs a martial law decree, which he publicly declares two days later.

December 7, 1972Is stabbed in her arms and hands during an assassination attempt by Carlito Dimahilig.

1975-1986Appointed governor of Metropolitan Manila.

1978-1986 Appointed Minister of Human Settlements.

January 17, 1981President Marcos lifts martial law.

February 1986 – The Marcos family flees to Hawaii after the Filipino people oust Marcos from office. Three years later, he dies in exile.

1990 – Marcos goes on trial in New York for racketeering. The charges allege she stole from the Philippines National Bank and invested the money in the United States. She is later acquitted of the charges.

November 4, 1991 – Marcos returns from exile to the Philippines and is arrested the next day for tax fraud and corruption. She is released on bail.

1992 – After returning to the Philippines, Marcos runs unsuccessfully for president.

1993 – Goes on trial in the Philippines for corruption and is found guilty.

1995-1998 – Serves in the Philippines House of Representatives.

February 7, 1998 – Declares her intent to run for president.

April 29, 1998 – Withdraws from the presidential race.

October 6, 1998 – The Philippine Supreme Court overturns her 1993 corruption conviction.

November 2006 – Marcos launches a fashion line, “The Imelda Collection.”

July 2007 – The Philippine government loses its case claiming rights to $4.7 million in Marcos’ account after 10 years of prosecution against the Security Bank and Trust Co.

March 10, 2008 A Philippine court acquits Marcos in a 17-year-old case of 32 counts of illegal transfer of wealth totaling $863 million in Swiss bank accounts.

May 11, 2010 – Marcos wins a seat representing Ilocos Norte province in the Philippine House of Representatives.

September 9, 2010 – A Philippine court orders Marcos to repay the government almost $280,000 for funds taken from the National Food Authority by Ferdinand Marcos in 1983.

February 2016 – The Philippine government approves the auction of Marcos’ jewelry collection – worth approximately $21 million in total.

November 9, 2018 – An arrest warrant is filed for Marcos after she fails to appear in court. It is announced in court that she has been found guilty of seven counts of graft. Marcos posts bail on November 16.

March 30, 2019 – President Rodrigo Duterte approves the auction of jewelry seized from the Marcos family.

May 25, 2022 – A joint session of the Philippine Congress declares Marcos’ son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the winner of the May presidential election and confirms he will become the country’s next president.

June 2023 – Previews for “Here Lies Love,” a musical written by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim about the life of Marcos, begin on Broadway. The show is set to open in July.

March 5, 2024 – Marcos Jr. announces Imelda Marcos has been hospitalized with fever and pneumonia.

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