Christiane Amanpour

Christiane Maria Heideh Amanpour CBE (/krɪsiˈɑːn ɑːmənˈpʊər-/ (listen); Persian: كرستين امانپور, romanized: Kristiane Amānpur; born 12 January 1958) is a British-Iranian journalist and television host. Amanpour is the Chief International Anchor for CNN and host of CNN International's nightly interview program Amanpour. She is also the host of Amanpour & Company on PBS.

Christiane Amanpour

Amanpour in 2015
Christiane Maria Heideh Amanpour[1]

(1958-01-12) 12 January 1958
London, England
ResidenceLondon, England
Alma materUniversity of Rhode Island
  • Journalist
  • television host
Years active1983–present
Notable credit(s)
Amanpour (CNN International) Anchor (2009–2010, 2012–present)
Amanpour & Company (PBS) Anchor (2018–present)
This Week (ABC) Anchor (2010–2011)
60 Minutes (CBS) Reporter (1996–2005)
James Rubin
(m. 1998; div. 2018)

Early life and education

Amanpour was born in London, England, the daughter of Patricia Anne (Hill) and Mohammad Taghi Amanpour.[2][1] Her father was Persian, from Tehran. Amanpour was raised in Tehran until age eleven.[3][4] Her father was Muslim and her mother was Catholic.[1] She is natively fluent in English and Persian and married a Jewish American.[4]

After completing the larger part of her elementary education in Iran, she was sent by her parents to boarding school in England when she was 11. She attended Holy Cross Convent, an all-girls school located in Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, and then, at age 16, New Hall School, a Roman Catholic school in Chelmsford, Essex. Christiane and her family returned to England not long after the Islamic Revolution began. She has stressed that they were not forced to leave the country, but were actually returning to England due to the Iran–Iraq War. The family ultimately remained in England, finding it difficult to return to Iran.[5]

After leaving New Hall, Amanpour moved to the United States to study journalism at the University of Rhode Island. During her time there, she worked in the news department at WBRU-FM in Providence, Rhode Island. She also worked for NBC affiliate WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island, as an electronic graphics designer.[6] In 1983, Amanpour graduated from the university summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa[7] with a B.A. degree in journalism.[8]


In 1983, she was hired by CNN on the foreign desk in Atlanta, Georgia, as an entry-level desk assistant. During her early years as a correspondent, Amanpour was given her first major assignment covering the Iran–Iraq War, which led to her being transferred in 1986 to Eastern Europe to report on the fall of European communism.[9] In 1989, she was assigned to work in Frankfurt am Main, West Germany, where she reported on the democratic revolutions sweeping Eastern Europe at the time. Through this position, she was able to move up in the company and by 1990 served as a correspondent for CNN's New York bureau.

Following Iraq's occupation of Kuwait in 1990, Amanpour's reports of the Persian Gulf War brought her wide notice while also taking CNN to a new level of news coverage. Thereafter, she reported from the Bosnian war and other conflict zones. Because of her emotional delivery from Sarajevo during the Siege of Sarajevo, viewers and critics questioned her professional objectivity, claiming that many of her reports were unjustified and favoured the Bosnian Muslims, to which she replied, "There are some situations one simply cannot be neutral about, because when you are neutral you are an accomplice. Objectivity doesn't mean treating all sides equally. It means giving each side a hearing."[10] Amanpour gained a reputation for being fearless during the Gulf and Bosnian wars and for reporting from conflict areas.[11]

From 1992 to 2010, Amanpour was CNN's chief international correspondent as well as the anchor of Amanpour, a daily CNN interview program that aired 2009–2010. Amanpour has reported on major crises from many of the world's hotspots, including Iraq, Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Somalia, Rwanda, and the Balkans and from the United States during Hurricane Katrina. She has secured exclusive interviews with world leaders from the Middle East to Europe, Africa and beyond, including Iranian presidents Mohammad Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as the presidents of Afghanistan, Sudan, and Syria, among others. After 9/11, she was the first international correspondent to interview British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac, and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Other interviewees have included Hillary Clinton, Nicolás Maduro, Hassan Rouhani, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, John Kerry, the Dalai Lama and Moammar Gadhafi.[12]

She has also conducted interviews with Constantine II of Greece, Reza Pahlavi, Ameera al-Taweel and actors Angelina Jolie, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.[13]

From 1996 to 2005, she was contracted by 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt to file four to five in-depth international news reports a year as a special contributor. These reports garnered her a Peabody Award in 1998[14] (she had earlier been awarded one in 1993[15]). Hewitt's successor Jeff Fager was not a fan of her work and terminated her contract.

She has had many memorable moments in her television career, one of them in a live telephone interview with Yasser Arafat during the siege on his compound in March 2002, in which Arafat gave tough responses: "Are you asking me why am I under complete siege? You're a wonderful journalist. You have to respect your profession."[16] and "You have to be accurately [sic] when you are speaking with General Yasser Arafat. Be quiet!",[16] and finished by hanging up on her.

Bosnian War reporting

On 22 December 1992, during the Bosnian War, Amanpour was reporting from Kiseljak, not far from Sarajevo. Kiseljak was in Croat hands, undamaged, and ostensibly well supplied with necessities. Amanpour reported that, "While people in Sarajevo are dying from starvation, the Serbs are living [in Kiseljak] in plenty", a report that was subsequently criticised by some analysts as spreading "misinformation" and "beautiful lies".[17]

On 9 October 1994, Stephen Kinzer of The New York Times criticised Amanpour's coverage, in general, of the Bosnian War. Kinzer quoted a colleague's description of Amanpour as she reported on a terrorist bombing in the Markale marketplace of the Bosnian city of Sarajevo:

[Christiane Amanpour] was sitting in Belgrade when that marketplace massacre happened, and she went on the air to say that the Serbs had probably done it. There was no way she could have known that. She was assuming an omniscience which no journalist has.[18]

In January 2004, prosecutors in the trial against Stanislav Galić, a Serb general in the siege of Sarajevo, introduced into evidence a report including the testimony of ammunition expert Berko Zečević. Working with two colleagues, Zečević's investigation revealed a total of six possible locations from which the shell in the first Markale massacre could have been fired, of which five were under VRS and one under ARBiH control. The ARBiH site in question was visible to UNPROFOR observers at the time, who reported that no shell was fired from that position. Zečević further reported that certain components of the projectile could only have been produced in one of two places, both of which were under the control of the Army of Republika Srpska. The court would eventually find Galić guilty of all the five shelling prosecutors had charged him with, including Markale's.[19]

Amanpour has responded to the criticism leveled on her reporting from the war in the former Yugoslavia for "lack of neutrality", stating:

Some people accused me of being pro-Muslim in Bosnia, but I realized that our job is to give all sides an equal hearing, but in cases of genocide you can't just be neutral. You can't just say, "Well, this little boy was shot in the head and killed in besieged Sarajevo and that guy over there did it, but maybe he was upset because he had an argument with his wife." No, there is no equality there, and we had to tell the truth.[20]

ABC News

On 18 March 2010, Amanpour announced she would leave CNN for ABC News, where she would anchor This Week. She said, "I'm thrilled to be joining the incredible team at ABC News. Being asked to anchor This Week in the superb tradition started by David Brinkley is a tremendous and rare honor, and I look forward to discussing the great domestic and international issues of the day. I leave CNN with the utmost respect, love, and admiration for the company and everyone who works here. This has been my family and shared endeavor for the past 27 years, and I am forever grateful and proud of all that we have accomplished."[21] She hosted her first broadcast on 1 August 2010.

During her first two months as host, the ratings for This Week reached their lowest point since 2003.[22] On 28 February 2011, she interviewed Muammar Gaddafi and his sons Saif al-Islam and Al-Saadi Gaddafi.[23][24]

On 13 December 2011, ABC announced Amanpour would be leaving her post as anchor of ABC News' This Week on 8 January 2012, and returning to CNN International, where she had previously worked for 27 years, and maintaining a reporting role at ABC News.[25]

Return to CNN

A day later on 14 December 2011, in statements by ABC and CNN, it was announced that, in a "unique arrangement", Amanpour would begin hosting a program on CNN International in 2012, while continuing at ABC News as a global affairs anchor.[26]

It was later revealed that in the spring of 2012, CNN International would refresh its line-up, putting the interview show Amanpour back on air.[27] On-air promotions said she would return to CNN International on 16 April. Her 30-minute New York-recorded show — to be screened twice an evening — would mean that the US parent network's Piers Morgan Tonight interview show would be "bumped" out of its 9:00 p.m. (Central European Time) slot to midnight (CET).[28]

On 9 September 2013, the show and staff were moved to the CNN International office and the show is currently being produced and broadcast from London.

On 7 January 2015, Amanpour made headlines during a "Breaking News" segment on CNN by referring to the Islamic extremists who murdered the 12 journalists at Charlie Hebdo as "activists": "On this day, these activists found their targets, and their targets were journalists. This was a clear attack on the freedom of expression, on the press, and on satire".[29]

Stance on Syria

In late 2013, Amanpour raised the argument for intervention in Syria against the Assad government, which has been fighting Syrian opposition forces. She has appeared on several news programmes in the UK and criticized the Obama administration for its non-interventionist approach to Syria. Her advocacy for intervention was criticized by Michael S. Lofgren in The Huffington Post.[30]


In May 2018, it was announced that Amanpour would permanently replace Charlie Rose on PBS after he left due to allegations of sexual misconduct.[31] Her new program, Amanpour & Company, premiered on PBS on September 10, 2018.[32] From the time of Charlie Rose's departure from PBS until the new show premiered, Amanpour was aired on PBS stations, as Amanpour on PBS.


Amanpour is a member of the board of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists,[33] the Center for Public Integrity,[34] the International Women's Media Foundation,[35] and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.[36] She is also a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.[37] Since April 2015 she has served as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for freedom of expression and journalist safety.[38]

Personal life

From 1998 to 2018, Amanpour was married to American James Rubin, a former US Assistant Secretary of State and spokesman for the US State Department during the Clinton administration and an informal adviser to former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and to former President Barack Obama. Their son, Darius John Rubin, was born in 2000. Having previously lived in London, they moved back to New York City in 2010, where they rented an apartment in Manhattan's Upper West Side.[39] But in May 2013, Rubin announced that the family would return to London to work on several projects,[40] and in October of the same year, Amanpour stated that she and her husband would be relocating to London permanently: "Right now I'd have to say that London is my home... My family are in England, and my husband and I are loving reacquainting ourselves with all the friends we left behind".[41] Amanpour is the niece (by marriage) of General Nader Jahanbani, who commanded the Imperial Iranian Air Force for nearly 20 years until he was executed by Islamic Revolutionaries in 1979, and of his younger brother Khosrow, who was married to Princess Shahnaz Pahlavi. Amanpour's uncle, Captain Nasrollah Amanpour, was married to the younger sister of Khosrow and Nader.[42]

In 2013, she moved from New York City to live permanently in London with her husband and their teenage son.[41] It was announced in July 2018 that Amanpour and Rubin were divorcing.[43]

Screen and media appearances

Amanpour appeared in Gilmore Girls as herself in the show's series finale, "Bon Voyage". Throughout the series, Amanpour was an inspiration to one of the main characters, aspiring journalist Rory Gilmore. In July 2009 she appeared in a Harper's Bazaar magazine article entitled "Christiane Amanpour Gets a High-Fashion Makeover".[44]

Amanpour played herself in newscasts in the films Iron Man 2 and Pink Panther 2. In Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, she voiced Enheduanna in the episode "The Immortals".

In 2014, Amanpour narrated "Women in War", an episode of season 2 of Makers: Women Who Make America.[45]

In 2016 Amanpour was a castaway on the BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs. As her luxury item she chose a guitar previously owned by Bruce Springsteen.[46]

Awards and recognition


  1. Stated on Finding Your Roots, January 22, 2019
  2. "Christiane Amanpour's Biography". ABC News. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  3. "England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008," database, FamilySearch( : accessed 10 May 2016), Christiane M H Amanpour, 1958; from "England & Wales Births, 1837-2006," database, findmypast( : 2012); citing Birth Registration, Ealing, London, England, citing General Register Office, Southport, England.
  4. ABC News video: "Back to the Beginning: Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity" on YouTube retrieved 10 August 2013 | Minute 6:06 | "My mother is a Christian from England and my father a Muslim from Iran. I married a Jewish American."
  5. The Lesley Stahl Interview: Christiane Amanpour, at the Height of the Iranian Election Crisis Archived 25 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  6. "CPJ Board of Directors". Committee to Protect Journalists.
  7. "WEDDINGS; Jamie Rubin, Christiane Amanpour".
  8. Deborah White. "Profile of Christiane Amanpour, CNN Chief International Correspondent". Retrieved 24 August 2007.
  9. "Christiane Amanpour, CNN International Chief Correspondent".
  10. "Five Years Later, the Gulf War Story Is Still Being Told". New York Times. 12 May 1996.
  11. "The Wooing of Amanpour". Newsweek. 20 May 1996. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  12. "U S Exclusive Moammar Gadhafi Tells Christiane Amanpour that Libya's People Love Him ABC News". YouTube. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  13. "Angelina Jolie on CNN with Christiane Amanpour Pt2*full interview*". YouTube. 12 February 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  14. 58th Annual Peabody Awards, May 1999.
  15. 53rd Annual Peabody Awards, May 1994.
  16. "Israeli Troops Surround Arafat Compound". CNN. 29 March 2002. Retrieved 28 November 2007.
  17. "Guskova: Who is spreading disinformation, who is telling all the lies". Archived from the original on 26 July 2011.
  18. (2007-10-04). "Amanpour's Troubling Journalism" by Steven Stotsky, CAMERA, 4 October 2004
  19. Prosecutor v. Stanislav Galić, International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Former Yugoslavia since 1991, United Nations.
  20. "What we do is really tough" by Julie Ferry, The Guardian (London), 15 August 2007
  21. "Christiane Amanpour to join ABC News". CNN. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  22. Krakauer, Steve (27 September 2010). "This Weak: Christiane Amanpour Leads ABC To Worst Ratings Since 2003". Mediaite. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  23. "'This Week' Transcript: Saif al-Islam and Saadi Gadhafi". This Week. 27 February 2011.
  24. Amanpour, Christiane (28 February 2011). "'My People Love Me': Moammar Gadhafi Denies Demonstrations Against Him Anywhere in Libya". ABC News.
  25. "Sorry, we can't seem to find the page you're looking for". 13 December 2011 via
  26. "Amanpour to return to CNN" CNN, 14 December 2011
  27. Fung, Katherine (1 February 2012). "'Amanpour': Christiane Amanpour's CNN International Show Launching in Spring". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  28. "Christiane Amanpour Bumps Piers Morgan on CNN International", The Hollywood Reporter, 2 February 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  29., The Washington Times. "Christiane Amanpour calls Charlie Hebdo terrorists 'activists'; CNN star slammed by Greg Gutfeld".
  30. "Christiane Amanpour Shills for U.S. Intervention in Syria" Huffington Post, July 8, 2013
  31. Stelter, Brian. "Christiane Amanpour named as Charlie Rose's official replacement". CNNMoney. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  32. Koblin, John (9 September 2018). "Christiane Amanpour Takes the Old 'Charlie Rose' Slot on PBS". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  33. "Board of Directors". Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  34. "Board of Directors". Center for Public Integrity. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  35. "International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF)". Archived from the original on 4 August 2014.
  36. "About Us". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  37. "04/2012 - CNN Host, Hit Songwriter and Narrative Nonfiction Author Among Eight to Be Honored at Amherst College Commencement May 20 - Amherst College".
  38. "Christiane Amanpour named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression and Journalist Safety". UNESCO. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  39. Mike Allen (31 May 2013). "Rubin, Amanpour to London". Politico. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  40. "AMANPOUR'S HUSBAND RESIGNS AS PORT AUTHORITY HEAD". Associated Press. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  41. Celia Walden (20 October 2013). "Christiane Amanpour: 'In my job, it's just like being a man – but better'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  42. "عبدالله شهبازي ،مورخ برجسته ايراني: خانواده "كريستين امانپور" از بهائيان سرشناس استان فارس بودند". Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  43. "CNN's Christiane Amanpour and Husband Jamie Rubin Are Divorcing After 20 Years".
  44. Davis, Diane (16 July 2009). "Christiane Amanpour Gets a High-Fashion Makeover". StyleList.
  45. "Women in War - MAKERS Season 2 - PBS".
  46. "Christiane Amanpour, Desert Island Discs - BBC Radio 4". BBC.
  47. IWMF website "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 January 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  48. "Christiane Amanpour to Receive Goldsmith Career Award Ceremony to Highlight 10th Anniversary Celebration". 8 March 2002. Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2007.
  49. "Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  50. "No. 58358". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 2007. p. 7.
  51. "The History of the Celebrating Women Breakfast". Archived from the original on 26 January 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  52. "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  53. Arizona State University. "Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication". Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  54. "CNN's Amanpour receives 2019 Zenger Award". 27 March 2019. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
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