The ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee told the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday that he had married Pamela Cole, a Pennsylvania State University psychology professor who studies emotional development, in a private ceremony last month.

Levin, 80, met Cole, 61, through his late wife Vicki, an advocate for children’s mental health research and Levin’s partner for more than 50 years. The two women grew acquainted while serving on a National Institutes of Health panel together. After Vicki’s death from breast cancer in 2008, Cole and Levin worked to create a fund in her name for young professionals researching early childhood development.

That cooperation grew into a romance and several years of dating. Cole accompanied Levin to a state dinner in honor of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak last fall.

“I don’t think it was something expected but we had a lot of common interests and we both suffered severe loss,” Levin told the Free Press, noting Cole had also previously lost a spouse. “It was a combination of shared memories and shared love.”

The couple had a larger celebration for family at Levin’s vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard on Monday. Among the attendees was the congressman’s younger brother, Sen. Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinRemembering leaders who put country above party Strange bedfellows oppose the filibuster Listen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home MORE (D-Mich.).

Although the Congressman apparently wanted to keep his marriage under wraps for a few days, by Wednesday morning the couple was ready to go public — but not with a traditional press release. 

"I wanted [to] share this joyful news with you," Levin wrote on Twitter, accompanied by a link to a story on his wedding.

Originally posted on In The Know.