Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) said in a news conference on Thursday that the woman DC gossips assumed was his mistress is actually an adult daughter he only recently came to know. According to the New York Daily News, Cohen said in a news conference on Thursday that a series of Twitter messages he sent out on the night of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address were the sentiments of a loving father, not an admiring suitor.

Cohen only learned of Brink's existence three years ago, he said Thursday. Brink, 24, is the daughter of a former partner of Cohen's. He is currently unmarried, but has a long-standing relationship with a woman in Memphis.

Washington gossip outlets were ablaze with rumors of an affair and had begun to compare Cohen to former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) after a series of tweets between Cohen and Brink went public during the State of the Union address and were posted at the Sunlight Foundation's website.

"I just saw you on TV!" Brink wrote.

"Pleased u r watching. ilu," Cohen replied. ("ilu" is a popular abbreviation for "I love you" on Twitter and other social media.) He deleted the message minutes later.

On Wednesday, the congressman wrote, "Nice to know you were watching sotu (state of the union). happy valentines, beautiful girl. ilu."

That message, too, was quickly deleted.

Cohen's baffled staff reportedly had no idea of Brink's existence, and when the curious media asked about her, they claimed she was a family friend. On Thursday, Cohen attempted to set the record straight.

"There has been much written and said about my tweeting a very beautiful 24-year-old woman during the State of the Union address," he said in a news conference.

"I haven't been able to say this until now, and I found out three years ago," he said, "but I've known since them. The young lady is my daughter."

Watch video of the news conference, embedded via the Washington Post, below: