Mother: Rosemary (Forbes) Kerry
Marriages: Teresa Heinz (1995-present); Julia Thorne (1970-1988, divorced)
Children: with Julia Thorne: Vanessa (1976), Alexandra (1973)
Education: Yale University, B.A., 1966; Boston College, J.D., 1976
Military Service: U.S. Navy, 1966-1970, Lieutenant
Religion: Roman Catholic
Grew up overseas, having lived in Berlin before going to a Swiss boarding school at age 11.
After his return from Vietnam
, became a leader of the group Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW).
1966-1969 - Serves in the Navy in Vietnam as a gunboat officer on the Mekong Delta, and is awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts.
1971 - Speaks to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and makes headlines at a Washington, D.C. protest by disposing of his medals on the Capitol lawn. Later admits that the medals belonged to someone else.
1972 - Runs unsuccessfully for Congress, Massachusetts's Fifth District.
1976 - Is admitted to the Massachusetts State Bar.
1976-1979 - District attorney of Middlesex County, Massachusetts.
1979-1982 - Partner in the law firm Kerry & Sragow in Boston.
Lieutenant governor of Massachusetts under Michael Dukakis.
1984 - Is elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate for Massachusetts.
1990 - Wins a second term in the U.S. Senate.
1996 - Re-elected to the Senate.
November 5, 2002 - Is re-elected to a fourth Senate term. He runs unopposed, and is the first Massachusetts senator in 80 years with no major party opposition.
February 12, 2003 - Has surgery to remove a cancerous tumor on his prostate gland at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. His doctors announce that the cancer had not spread, and he did not have to have radiation treatments. He is released February 15.
September 2, 2003 -
Formally announces his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president. In his announcement speech he says that President George W. Bush
is taking America "in the wrong direction."
March 11, 2004 - CNN reports that Kerry has received the exact number of Democratic delegates to assure his nomination as the candidate for president.
July 6, 2004 -
Kerry names Sen. John Edwards
(D-NC) as his vice presidential running mate.
November 2, 2004 - George W. Bush is re-elected with 62,040,606 votes to Kerry's 59,028,109. Kerry gets 252 Electoral College votes and Bush has 292.
November 3, 2004 - Calls President George W. Bush to concede the White House race, one day after the election.
November 1, 2006 - Apologizes after saying that college students need to study hard or else they will "get stuck in Iraq."
January 24, 2007 - Announces that he will not be running for president in the 2008 election and will run for a fifth Senate term instead.
January 10, 2008 -
Endorses Barack Obama
in the 2008 presidential race, not former running mate John Edwards.
November 4, 2008 - Wins a fifth term in the U.S. Senate.
2009-2013 - Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
June 4, 2009 - IRS files a $820,000 lien against Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign over payroll taxes.
August 2009 - Has hip surgery to address chronic pain.
August 2011 - Kerry is selected as one of 12 members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, created to work out $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction after an initial round of more than $900 billion in spending cuts.
January 29, 2013 -
Kerry is confirmed as the next secretary of state by the full U.S. Senate on a 94-3 vote.
February 1, 2013 - Is sworn in as the 68th secretary of state.
May 31, 2015 - Secretary Kerry breaks his femur while riding his bike in Scionzier, France. Kerry is flown to a nearby hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, for examination.
June 2, 2015 -
After returning to the United States early for treatment of his leg injury, Kerry participates via phone in talks with European and Middle Eastern allies about ISIS
. During the summit, Kerry declares that the terrorist network is "no more a state than I am a helicopter."
June 12, 2015 -
Kerry is discharged from the hospital after undergoing surgery. Leaning on crutches, he greets the media and ensures reporters that nuclear talks with Iran
will proceed as scheduled.
July 14, 2015 -
The nuclear deal with Iran
is finalized after numerous deadline extensions. Discussing the deal in Vienna, where the peace talks took place, Kerry says that the agreement was long in the works because the United States and its allies made tough demands. "Believe me, had we been willing to settle for a lesser deal, we would have finished this negotiation a long time ago," Kerry tells the media at a news conference.
July 18, 2015 - During an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Kerry declares that he has no interest in launching a 2016 presidential campaign. "Zero. Absolutely none whatsoever," Kerry says.
August 14, 2015 -
Kerry visits Havana, Cuba
, to raise the flag above the U.S. Embassy as it reopens for the first time in 54 years.
October 20, 2015 -
Foreign Policy magazine awards Kerry Diplomat of the Year
, mainly for the nuclear deal with Iran.
November 17, 2015 -
Kerry draws a distinction between the two terror attacks in Paris this year, saying the terrorists who attacked the Charlie Hebdo
office in January had a "rationale," as opposed to Friday's events, which Kerry describes as "indiscriminate" violence.
April 11, 2016 - Kerry visits the Hiroshima memorial
in Japan, making him the first sitting U.S. secretary of state to do so. Hiroshima was devastated when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city in August 1945
, killing 140,000 people -- either initially from the impact or later due to radiation exposure.