The woman who first stole Stephen Harper's heart — and later introduced him to his wife — remembers her former flame as funny, loyal, and driven.

Cynthia Williams opened up about her relationship with Harper in a new, five-part series and e-book on the prime minster by Postmedia's Mark Kennedy, titled "From Rebel To Realist."

DOWNLOAD THE FULL E-BOOK

Williams, who was engaged to Harper for a year in the 1980s, described her former beau as a bit of an introvert and a strong student at the University of Calgary who transformed into a Tory activist with a keen interest in policy.

"He's very honest, and he's very, very loyal," she told Kennedy. "You can never question that. If you are somebody that he cares about, he will be there for you."

Williams said she and Harper liked reading, going to movies, watching hockey (though she says he supported the Edmonton Oilers, not the Calgary Flames, back in the day) and going to the Calgary Zoo.

Harper broke up with her in 1986.

"We were growing apart," she said. "We kept in touch a little bit. It wasn’t a bad breakup."

Evidently not.

In a 2007 Maclean's profile of Laureen Harper, Williams said she introduced Laureen to her ex in the early '90s, thinking the two may hit it off.

Williams worked with the future Mrs. Harper at GTO Printing and asked Laureen to join her and Harper for lunch. The rest is history.

"I like Laureen a lot," she told the magazine.

But it appears Williams' breakup with Harper wasn't entirely smooth.

In an expansive, CBC profile of Harper in advance of the 2004 election, Williams spoke of how, in the early '80s, she took Harper to meet then-Tory MP Jim Hawkes in Calgary. The popular politician would eventually bring Harper to Ottawa to work as his assistant, but he quit Hawkes' office about a year later.

In 1988, Harper, then just 27, ran against Hawkes in Calgary West as a Reform candidate.

Williams was unhappy that her ex-fiancée was taking on his old mentor and volunteered for Hawkes' successful campaign.

"That stunned me quite a bit," she told CBC. "I thought that Jim had been really great to us, taken us into his family – we used to be over at his family's house with all of his family."

Kennedy told The Hill Times this week that Williams, like many others he interviewed, didn't see Harper as a man focused on making it to the top in Canadian politics.

"They were engaged to be married for about a year, and the interesting thing about them is they discovered politics together. One of the fascinating things that many people told me over and over and over, including her, is that if you look at his career, which is what I've done in this e-book, decade by decade, is that he does not have that thirst for being a politician that many politicians have and that many segments of his career, he almost just accidentally stepped into the profession," Kennedy said. "Many people described him to me as, 'the reluctant politician.' He had to be pulled into the job."

Harper and his wife were married in 1993. They have two children, Ben, 17, and Rachel, 14.

Laureen Harper was married in 1985 to Neil Fenton, but the couple split in 1988.

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  • Stephen Harper and wife Laureen in 2011. Source: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmharper/8472663517/in/photostream" target="_blank">Flickr</a>

  • Beer Me!

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper gets behind the bar at the Victoria pub in Montreal Friday, March 16, 2012 where he stopped in to meet some supporters and have a drink for St. Patricks Day.

  • You Eat Half, And I'll Eat Half

    Conservative leader Stephen Harper and Laureen Harper stand next to a tray of hot cross buns at a bakery in Mississauga, on April 23, 2011.

  • Cuddle Time!

    Stephen Harper with wife Laureen and their chinchilla Charlie. Source: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmharper/8425819048/in/photostream" target="_blank">Flickr</a>

  • Easy Rider

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper waves after going for an ATV ride as he visits a farm for a campaign event in Wainfleet Ont., on Monday, April 4, 2011.

  • Nom Nom Nom

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper eats maple taffy as he visits a sugar shack in Norbertville, Quebec on Tuesday, April 5, 2011.

  • Muahhh

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper gives his wife Laureen a kiss following a day of G-20 meetings in Toronto. June 27, 2010. Source: <a href="http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media_gallery.asp?media_category_id=938&media_category_typ_id=6#cont" target="_blank">Pm.gc.ca</a>

  • Can I Keep Them?

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper plays with foster kittens at 24 Sussex. May 1, 2010. Source: <a href="http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media_gallery.asp?media_category_id=900&media_category_typ_id=6&media_id=5512" target="_blank">Pm.gc.ca</a>

  • Incoming!

    Conservative Leader Stephen Harper throws a small snowball at photographers after talking with reporters at a campaign stop in Guelph, Ontario Saturday, Jan. 21, 2006.

  • Thank God You're Not Wearing Overalls

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper gives Taylor Swift the book "Maple Leaf Forever" before her concert at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. May 20, 2010. Source: <a href="http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media_gallery.asp?media_category_id=900&media_category_typ_id=6&media_id=5512" target="_blank">Pm.gc.ca</a>

  • Wedding Crasher

    Stephen Harper <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/23/harper-wedding-photos-ottawa_n_2006374.html" target="_blank">surprises an Ottawa couple on their wedding day</a> in 2012.

  • Yep, Definitely A Cat Person

    Laureen Harper laughs as she holds a husky dog with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper as they tour Caribou Crossing, Yukon, south of Whitehorse Monday August 20, 2012.

  • Harper Road

    Stephen Harper, his children Ben and Rachel, and wife Laureen cross Abbey Road in 2009. Source: <a href="http://on.fb.me/12OfGXN" target="_blank">Facebook</a>

  • Bonjour, Bonhomme

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper hams it up with Bonhomme Carnaval in the Prime Minister's Centre Block Office. November 25, 2010. Source: <a href="http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media_gallery.asp?media_category_id=1238&media_category_typ_id=6#cont" target="_blank">Pm.gc.ca</a>

  • Trendsetter

    Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, far left, watches a third round match between Agnieszka Radwanska, of Poland, and Serbia's Jelena Jankovic with his children Rachel, center, and Benjamin, right, at the 2012 US Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, in New York.

  • Psst! I Like Your Hat

    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, speaks with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on July 1, 2011.

  • Whoops, How Did This Get In Here...

    Part of a painting of Prime Minister Stephen Harper fully nude, by Kingston artist Maggie Sutherland, is shown at the Central Kingston public library in Kingston, Ont. on May 18, 2012.

  • Giggle Fit!

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his son Ben watch a bloopers show while attending the Calgary Flames NHL hockey game against the Edmonton Oilers in Calgary, Saturday, April 11, 2009.

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    Prime Minister Stephen Harper practices a few chords after arriving at home from work. February 19, 2011. Source: <a href="http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media_gallery.asp?media_category_id=1457&media_category_typ_id=6#cont" target="_blank">Pm.gc.ca</a>

  • Love You, Mom

    Conservative leader Stephen Harper gets a hug from his mother Margaret during a visit to his campaign office in Calgary, Saturday May 29, 2004.

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    Prime Minister Stephen Harper holds up a moustache scarf to kick off the start of ‘Movember’, November 1, 2012 Source: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmharper/8146161138/in/photostream" target="_blank">Flickr</a>

  • The Sweet Side Of Politics

    Senior Legislative Assistant, Katherine Locke, left, and Government House Leader Special Assistant, Zoe Lawson, show off their House of Commons gingerbread house to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in his office on Dec. 16, 2010. The gingerbread house was filled with rows of gummi bears as members of Parliament. Source: <a href="http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media_gallery.asp?media_category_id=1355&media_category_typ_id=6#cont" target="_blank">Pm.gc.ca</a>

  • Beach Boy

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  • Game Face

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  • Whaddya Mean It Doesn't Fit?

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    Stephen Harper, his son Ben, and Wayne Gretzky watch the men's ice hockey team's gold medal game at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Source: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmharper/8457917081/in/photostream" target="_blank">Flickr</a>

  • Who Said Politics Can't Be Fun?

    Stephen Harper and his son Ben hit balloons into the crowd after his speech at the party's three-day policy convention in Montreal on Friday March 18, 2005.

  • Jam Sesh

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  • Party Politics

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  • Flashback

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  • Hats Off

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, throws Senator Gerry St. Germain's cowboy hat into the crowd after presenting him with a new one as his wife Margaret St. Germain, right, laughs during a barbecue at St. Germain's ranch in Surrey, B.C., on Monday August 6, 2012.

  • Thumbs Up, Up And Away

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  • I'm With Him

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  • D'awww

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  • Omigod, So Cute

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  • I Can Totally Take You

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  • Mush!

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper drives a dog sled after meeting mushing teams at the Arctic Winter Games in Yellowknife, N.W.T., Monday, March 10, 2008.

  • A Very Harper Holiday

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  • Tough Cookie

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  • Does This Mean I'm In The Band?

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  • Stanley's Not Going To Be Happy About This

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  • Say, 'Happy Halloween!'

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper points out the camera to baby Grayson, dressed up as a giraffe, during his first time trick-or-treating at 24 Sussex. Source: <a href="http://on.fb.me/10ppG5w" target="_blank">Facebook</a>

  • Bear Hug

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