Is Norah O’Donnell Related to Kelly O’Donnell? The Truth Behind the Shared Surname

Norah O’Donnell and Kelly O’Donnell are both prominent journalists who work for different networks. Norah is the anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News, a correspondent for 60 Minutes, and current host of Person to Person. Kelly is a political reporter for NBC News as White House and Capitol Hill correspondent. She appears on NBC Nightly News, Today, Meet The Press, and MSNBC.

But are they related by blood or marriage? The answer is no. Despite sharing the same last name and profession, they have no familial connection. Here are some facts that prove their lack of relation.

Different Backgrounds and Education

Norah O’Donnell was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Noreen Bernadette (O’Kane) and Francis Lawrence O’Donnell, a medical doctor and U.S. Army officer. Her parents are both of Irish descent, with roots in Derry, Belfast, and Donegal. Three of her grandparents were immigrants, and her maternal grandfather lived in the U.S. illegally for 16 years. When Norah was three, her family moved to San Antonio, Texas. When she was 10, the family spent two years in Seoul, living in Yongsan Garrison as her father was assigned to work there. She attended Douglas MacArthur High School and graduated in 1991. She then went on to attend Georgetown University, where she graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and a Master of Arts degree in liberal studies in 2003.

Kelly O’Donnell was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated from Villa Angela Academy (now Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School), a Catholic school in Cleveland. She then attended Northwestern University and graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree, focusing on a combined course of study in journalism and public policy.

Different Career Paths and Achievements

Norah O’Donnell began her career as a staff writer for Roll Call, where she covered Congress. She then spent twelve years of her career at the NBC networks as a commentator for the Today Show, Chief Washington Correspondent for MSNBC, and a White House correspondent for NBC News. She also served as a substitute host for Hardball with Chris Matthews and was a regular pundit for The Chris Matthews Show. She joined CBS News in 2011 as chief White House correspondent and became a co-anchor on CBS This Morning in 2012. In 2019, she was named anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News, becoming the only network evening news anchor based in Washington, D.C. She also continues to be a contributing correspondent for 60 Minutes.

Kelly O’Donnell started her career as a reporter and anchor at WJW TV in Cleveland, Ohio, where she worked with former NBC reporter Martin Savidge. She joined NBC News in 1994 as a correspondent based in New York City and Los Angeles. She was a regular panelist on The Chris Matthews Show until it was canceled. She also served as news anchor and substitute host on the Weekend Today program and the weekend edition of Nightly News. She has contributed reports to the primetime news magazine Dateline NBC. She became White House correspondent for NBC News during the second term of George W. Bush and then Capitol Hill correspondent after the 2008 presidential campaign season. She is currently a senior White House correspondent for NBC News.

Both Norah O’Donnell and Kelly O’Donnell have covered various major stories and events throughout their careers, such as presidential elections, wars, disasters, scandals, and more. They have also interviewed many influential leaders and personalities from different fields. They have both received numerous honors and awards for their journalistic excellence.

Different Personal Lives and Families

Norah O’Donnell is married to Geoff Tracy, a restaurateur who owns several establishments in the Washington area. They met while attending Georgetown together. On May 20, 2007, O’Donnell and Tracy became the parents of twins, whom they named Grace and Henry. Their third child, daughter Riley Norah Tracy, was born on July 5, 2008; O’Donnell noted that her daughter’s first name had been suggested by Tim Russert, who died three weeks prior to Riley’s birth.

Kelly O’Donnell is married to J. David Ake, an assistant chief of bureau for photos at The Associated Press in Washington. They do not have any children together.


Norah O’Donnell and Kelly O’Donnell are not related by blood or marriage. They are both successful journalists who happen to share a common surname that reflects their Irish heritage. They have different backgrounds, education, career paths, achievements, personal lives, and families.

Doms Desk

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