Kyle in August 2013
Taya Renae Studebaker
September 4, 1974
(m. 2002; died 2013)
Taya Renae Kyle (née Studebaker; born September 4, 1974) is an American author, political commentator, and military veteran's family activist. Known as the widow of US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, she was portrayed by Sienna Miller in the 2014 film American Sniper about her husband's life. Kyle is the co-author of American Wife: A Memoir of Love, Service, Faith, and Renewal, a book about life with her husband.
Born Taya Renae Studebaker on September 4, 1974, in Portland, Oregon, she is the daughter of Kim and Kent Studebaker. Her father is currently the mayor of Lake Oswego, Oregon. Her sister is Ashley (Studebaker) Brittell.
Studebaker met Chris Kyle in 2001. They married in 2002 and later had two children.
As a Navy SEAL, Chris Kyle is known as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. His autobiography, American Sniper, was published on January 3, 2012. On February 2, 2013, he was shot and killed at a shooting range in Texas, making Taya a widow at age 38.
Life after Chris Kyle's death
Following her husband's murder, Taya has given speeches and talks addressing his service and veterans' issues at numerous venues, as well as appeared on news networks such as CNN and Fox News. She is an advocate for women and families who have lost family members while serving in war. In August 2013, the state of Texas enacted the Chris Kyle Law (SB162), which was created to "expand the effort to help ease employment challenges for active duty military members and their spouses". At the ceremony, Kyle stated, "I hope that by incorporating these changes into current Texas law we can honor the legacy of Chris Kyle and the many like him."
In 2014, Kyle founded the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation as a touchstone for veterans and their families. The foundation's mission is to "serve those who serve us by providing meaningful interactive experiences that enrich family relationships".
In May 2013, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura brought a defamation suit against Taya Kyle for $1.3 million. The lawsuit was the continuation of an original lawsuit filed in 2012 against Kyle's husband, over a statement made in the book American Sniper. In the book's chapter titled "Punching Out Scruff Face", Chris Kyle stated he had punched a celebrity he called "Scruff Face" for saying the SEALs "could afford to lose a couple" in war. Ventura won the lawsuit in an 8 to 2 jury decision. An appeals court threw out part of the lawsuit in June 2016, and the case was ultimately settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money.
Clint Eastwood directed the feature film American Sniper in 2014, based on the lives of Chris and Taya Kyle. Taya Kyle was involved in the making of the film, working with the film's screenwriter Jason Hall, and she was portrayed by Sienna Miller. The film, released by Warner Brothers nationwide in January 2015, was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay. It won the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing.
Publication of Taya Kyle's autobiography
On May 5, 2015, Taya Kyle's autobiography, American Wife: A Memoir of Love, Service, Faith, and Renewal, was released by Harper Collins publishing. Co-written with military and war author Jim DeFelice, the book details her life as a military wife and how she dealt with the sudden and untimely death of her husband.
Kyle is a Republican and endorsed Rick Perry in the 2016 presidential election. After Perry withdrew, she endorsed Ted Cruz. She also served as treasurer for the successful 2016 campaign of Bill Waybourn for Sheriff of Tarrant County, Texas.
In January 2016, she opined at a CNN Town Hall Event that the opposition to the NRA and adding more laws restricting gun ownership is not a solution to the gun violence in the United States.
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