Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for Senate in Georgia, claimed he confirmed for the first time Friday the identity of the woman who has claimed he paid for her abortion 13 years ago when she leveled the allegation in a text message to his wife.
In a brief interview with NBC News, Walker said this was also the first time the woman, who is the mother of one of his four children, mentioned to him or his wife that she had had an abortion.
“Did you know Herschel paid for my abortion the first time? Or that he told me it wasn’t the ‘right time’ to have [her current child]?” the woman wrote in a 9:54 a.m. text message sent Friday to Herschel Walker’s wife, Julie Walker, who initiated the conversation.
In response, Julie Walker acknowledged that she had tried to be a mediator between Herschel Walker and the woman, who seldom corresponded directly with her son’s father.
“This message makes me incredibly sad. You know I have continually tried to bridge a better relationship between you and Herschel putting [the child] first,” Julie Walker wrote to the woman, who did not return messages to NBC News requesting comment.
The Walker campaign provided copies of the text message exchange to NBC News hours before The New York Times published an interview with the woman, who alleged that Walker had paid for the 2009 abortion and tried to pressure her to abort their young son. NBC News is withholding the woman's and child’s names to protect their identities.
“The first I knew about any of this was when some reporter asked me about an abortion. And I’m like, ‘No, that’s a lie.’ And then I was asked if I paid for an abortion, and I said No. I did not pay for an abortion,” said Herschel Walker. “I’m not saying she did or didn’t have one [an abortion]. I’m saying I don’t know anything about that. I don’t know.”
Herschel Walker, who often limits interviews to conservative news outlets, added that “I have nothing to hide. That’s why I’m talking to you.”
The messages his campaign provided between the woman and Julie Walker dated back to May 2022.
The messages provide a raw glimpse into the corrosive effects of a political campaign on a family whose relationships became increasingly tense as details about the former football star’s personal life were reported, from the four children he had with four different women to violent episodes in his past.
The woman’s claim, first reported Monday by The Daily Beast, rocked Walker’s campaign and left top Republicans wondering if he could survive the allegation, which called into question the conservative credentials of a candidate who maintains he’s devoutly anti-abortion.
Herschel Walker’s oldest son, social media influencer Christian Walker, then denounced his father as a liar and hypocrite and criticized him for having multiple children.
Earlier in the campaign, Christian Walker appeared to support his father and joined him during at least one event.
According to the text messages, the woman also expressed early support for Herschel Walker’s campaign, especially in the run-up to the May 24 GOP primary, when Walker first began running as an anti-abortion conservative.
“He’ll do great & you will keep him focused! Proud of you guys!” the woman wrote to Julie Walker on the day of the primary election. “Wishing nothing but the best for you tonight!!!”
The night after Herschel Walker’s win, the woman texted again: “Congratulations!!!”
The messages between the two women — which once were peppered with friendly chatter about the boy’s overnight camp or waning interest in Pokemon — grew increasingly tense as the woman began fielding calls from reporters about Herschel Walker’s children with different women.
After the primary, the woman warned Julie Walker that she had been contacted by a reporter and asked Julie Walker if she should tell the press that the candidate “complies 100% with the child support agreement.”
Days later, on June 15, Julie Walker shared a series of suggestions with the woman about how she could respond to press inquiries. Those messages came a day after The Daily Beast published a story about one of Herschel Walker’s previously publicly unacknowledged children.
The woman replied on July 7 when she asked, “Any more surprises we should know about?” It appeared to be a veiled reference to two Daily Beast articles reporting that Walker had two additional previously publicly unacknowledged children and that he had lied to campaign staff about it. In a statement to The Daily Beast in response to the report about the additional children, Walker said, “I have four children. Three sons and a daughter. They’re not ‘undisclosed’— they’re my kids.”
He added that he has simply chosen “not to use them as props to win a political campaign. What parent would want their child involved in garbage, gutter politics like this?” Walker’s campaign declined to comment to the Daily Beast on the report about lying to his staff, and his campaign manager criticized the report as “pure gossip.”
In the Friday text message exchanges between the two, the woman explained that she did not know about another of Walker's children, saying that boy “was a surprise to us all” in the rest of the family.
Julie Walker said in an interview that the paternity stories about Walker “pitted people against each other” in the family.
The woman showed to The New York Times and The Daily Beast a copy of a $575 receipt from an Atlanta abortion clinic that she said was given to her after her 2009 procedure, and she showed the outlets a copy of a $700 check that she said was a reimbursement check from Walker. In addition, she provided the outlets a copy of a “get well” card bearing a handwritten message signed “H” along with the message: “Pray you are feeling better.”
Both outlets reported they corroborated details of the woman’s abortion accusation with a close friend who supported and consoled her during both pregnancies and after her first abortion.
Walker told NBC News he doesn’t remember sending the card or check.
“I don’t remember any card or check or anything. But I was dating her. I could have sent some money. I could have sent a card. But not for the reasons she is saying,” he said.
The New York Times also interviewed a friend of the woman who said she took care of her after her 2009 abortion and then supported her through her pregnancy two years later.
The woman told her that Walker wanted her to abort the child she ultimately kept, The Times reported, which Walker also denied.
Walker’s profession of strict anti-abortion views were too much for the mother involved in the text exchange to bear, she told The New York Times, saying that she’s a Democrat and “the fact that I had a choice — now he’s in the public trying to say he wants to put a ban on abortion completely…. It appalled me.”
But Walker said the woman knew “I’m a Christian,” while also acknowledging the longstanding tensions between them.
“She has been angry at me for years and it is very difficult. She’s a big, big advocate for abortion rights; she’s said that,” he said.
Julie Walker didn’t question the woman's motives, and instead said that “I’m sad. I’m taken totally back. I want Herschel to have a relationship with his kid and now this is just tough.”