Clarke Gayford's humble response to Jacinda Ardern's '40 Under 40' honour

While Clarke Gayford may be proud his 37-year-old partner has just been named one of the most influential people in the world under 40, he says he's just satisfied to have paid off his student loan by that age.
While Clarke Gayford may be proud his 37-year-old partner has just been named one of the most influential people in the world under 40, he says he's just satisfied to have paid off his student loan by that age. Photo credit: Getty

As the partner of one of the 40 most influential people in the world under the age of 40, Clarke Gayford says he's just happy to have paid off his student loan. 

Mr Gayford, 40, has been by Jacinda Ardern's side throughout her swift rise to Prime Minister of New Zealand and ascent into global notoriety. 

While he may be proud his 37-year-old partner has just been named one of the most influential people in the world under 40, he says he's just satisfied to have paid off his student loan by that age.   

On Twitter, Mr Gayford said on Saturday: "So, this just happened [Fortune's "40 Under 40" honours]. I mean I was just pleased I had paid my student loan off by 40..."

It hasn't been the smoothest ride for Mr Gayford as his partner's popularity eventuated into "Jacindamania".

In April he was accused of seeming to "lap the attention up, like the political equivalent of man-spreading" by New Zealand Herald columnist Deborah Hill Cone. She described a photo of him posing with other spouses of the leaders of the Commonwealth as "cringey", saying he gave her "a little bit of acid reflux".

But Mr Gayford, host of fishing documentary show Fish of the Day, has mostly been praised for his graciousness during Ms Ardern's prime ministership, particularly when she announced her pregnancy and said Mr Gayford would become a stay-at-home dad. 

Columnist Ms Hill Cone has since retracted her feelings about Mr Gayford, saying she feels guilty about how mean she was to him, and apologised for her "unattractively sanctimonious" position in her article titled "Why does Clarke Gayford bug me?"

Mr Gayford stood alongside Ms Ardern on June 24 as they introduced their daughter, Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford, to the world amid a flurry of local and international media buzz. Ms Ardern is the second head of government to have given birth while in office. 

Ms Ardern said she would take six weeks maternity leave after the birth of her child. Mr Gayford will serves as the child's primary caregiver once she returns to work.

She is expected to take the baby and Mr Gayford with her when she attends the United Nations General Assembly in late September.

Newshub.

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