EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Photos from the Governor’s Mansion

Gov. and First Lady Cooper say they’re Carolina fans — but new evidence suggests they’re actually secret Duke supporters.
by Walter Weekly Staff

Please note that this is an April fools joke. The Governor is, truly, a Tarheel fan.

Leaked photos from the North Carolina Executive Mansion reveal that Gov. Roy Cooper and his wife, Kristin Cooper, are secret Duke University sports fans.

Gov. Cooper got both his undergraduate degree and law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the couple’s three daughters all graduated from UNC as well. Gov. and Mrs. Cooper are often seen seated courtside at the Tar Heels’ basketball games wearing signature Carolina blue.

“They’re faking it,” says a source. “All that Tar Heel gear? It’s just a costume.” The source, who requested to remain anonymous, says that the governor and his wife have a “secret stash” of Blue Devils jerseys, socks and other gear that they wear when they think no one is around.

But photographic proof came to light in late March, when a staffer forgot their phone in a Lyft. “When I pulled up the home screen to figure out who might have left the phone, the home screen clearly showed the governor looking way too chummy with Dereck Lively II, Jeremy Roach and Kyle Filipowski,” says the driver, who requested anonymity. “I took that phone straight to the Raleigh Police Department.”

Raleigh police were able to crack the phone to reveal the incriminating photos of the Coopers. Among them: the governor reviewing materials in a Duke-blue tie with matching socks; the governor in a meeting with a Duke basketball proudly resting on the table behind him; and the governor and first lady strolling on the grounds of the Executive Mansion in full Duke attire.

An RPD spokesperson declined to comment on the images, citing an ongoing investigation.

Another source inside the Executive Mansion says the cracks were beginning to show as early as last fall. In September, Gov. Cooper honored the recently retired Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski with the Order of the Longleaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest civilian honor. The governor wore a dark blue tie and outfitted the family dog, Violet, in a Duke collar.

“They acted like those were new, but they already had them,” says the source. “If you look really closely, there are signs of wear.” The source also notes a key quote from Coach K during the ceremony: “He looked at the cameras and said, Gov. Cooper is a Duke fan today, but people who were there know that the footage cuts out before he narrowed his eyes and said, and every day.”

When asked for comment, deputy communications director Jordan Monaghan downplayed the accusations and urged reporters to focus on issues like raising teacher pay, investing in the state’s strong and diverse workforce, and protecting reproductive rights.

When shown the photos, The News & Observer sports photographer Robert Willett said they looked authentic. He shook his head in dismay: “What’s next, he’s not even a Canes fan?”

April fools!

This article originally appeared in the April 2023 issue of WALTER magazine.