Ted Cruz Opens Up About Troubled Early Life

Image: Conservatives Gather For Voter Values Summit
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at the 2014 Values Voter Summit September 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Family Research Council (FRC) hosting its 9th annual Values Voter Summit inviting conservatives to participate in a straw poll. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)Mark Wilson / Getty Images

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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Friday opened up about his troubled early childhood, telling a group of social conservatives that his parents were alcoholics and that his father temporarily abandoned the family.

“My parents drank far too much,” Cruz said at the Values Voter Summit in Washington. “Both of them had serious problems with alcohol. And when I was 3 years old, my father decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. And he didn’t want a 3-year-old son. So he got on a plane and left.”

It is rare for Cruz, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, to publicly deliver personal details about his family’s struggles. His father, Rafel Cruz, is a well-known minister who will sometimes appear with his son.

“He gave his life to Jesus,” Cruz said of his father. “And he went and bought an airplane ticket and flew back to Calgary to rejoin my mother and to rejoin his son. So when anyone asks is faith real, is a relationship with Jesus real, I can tell you if it were not for my father giving his life to Christ, I would have been raised by a single mother.”

-- Andrew Rafferty