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Longtime bachelor Patrick Kennedy, 43, is engaged

- Associated Press - Monday, March 28, 2011

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Patrick Kennedy, the 43-year-old former Rhode Island congressman and son of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, is engaged to be married to a New Jersey middle school teacher.

Kennedy, a lifelong bachelor, got engaged Saturday in Rhode Island to Amy Petitgout, former aide Sean Richardson said Monday. No wedding date has been set.

Richardson said they met about a year and a half ago at an event in New Jersey.

Kennedy told The Associated Press last month that he was living in New Jersey with his girlfriend. In a written statement, he recalled the title of his father's book "True Compass" in speaking about his relationship with Petitgout (pronounced PET'-ah-goo).

"My father spoke about his true compass, guiding him through his journey of life. I have found mine with Amy," Kennedy said then. "She has helped me navigate the uncharted waters of life beyond politics and given me the reason to look forward to a personal life with family and friends."

Petitgout, who teaches sixth grade in a public school, has a 3-year-old daughter, Harper, from a previous marriage.

"We feel so fortunate to have found each other," she said in a written statement. "Patrick is caring and values me, giving me friendship and love. He has become part of my family and loves my daughter as his own."

Kennedy, a Democrat, decided last year not to run for a ninth term representing Rhode Island in Congress. His father died in 2009 after representing Massachusetts in the Senate for nearly 47 years.

Patrick Kennedy has struggled with substance abuse and depression over the years and has sought treatment several times, including after a late-night 2006 car crash outside the Capitol. Friends have said that Kennedy's personal life often took a backseat to his career; he has never married.

In addition to his home in New Jersey, Kennedy maintains a house in Portsmouth, R.I. Since leaving Congress, he has been focusing on mental health advocacy and recently accepted a two-year visiting fellowship at Brown University's Institute for Brain Science.

He is also working on a memoir, "Coming Clean," with political reporter Mary Ann Akers, which is scheduled to be published Nov. 8 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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Miga reported from Washington.

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