(CNN) – With tears welling up in his eyes, Rep. Steve Cohen talked about his disappointment Monday in learning that the long-lost daughter he found out about three years ago was not in fact his daughter.
"She was my family," the longtime bachelor said on CNN's "New Day." "She was my only family."
The Democrat who represents Memphis revealed in February that a young blonde he had been tweeting during the State of the Union address was actually his 23-year-old daughter, Victoria Brink.
Brink's mother, Cynthia Sinatra White, told Cohen in 2010 that Victoria Brink was his biological daughter, but she had been raised her whole life by White's husband, John Brink, an oil businessman in Houston.
Cohen, who has never had children of his own, said he was "ecstatic" to find out he had a daughter.
Cohen and Victoria Brink started developing a close relationship. The congressman brought her to Washington and they met at least a couple times a year.
"I had visions of her being my heir and going to her wedding and having grandchildren," he told CNN's Chris Cuomo.
But the family had kept it all a secret from John Brink–that is, until the week of the president's State of the Union address.
Despite a frenzy of media questions over the young, attractive swimsuit model that Cohen had been messaging during the speech, Cohen waited a few days to announce that Victoria Brink was in fact his daughter, buying time for Victoria to come clean with John Brink.
"I had political advisers say 'just come out and say it.' I said I can't do that. I'll take whatever political consequences there are with that, unless it comes to the point that she tells her father," he said.
Victoria Brink eventually told her father that week, and Cohen opened up about the news that he had a daughter.
But the congressman and his newly-discovered daughter didn't have much time to continue forming a true father-daughter bond. In another twist, DNA test results provided to CNN by Victoria Brink a few months later showed there was zero chance that Cohen could be Victoria Brink's father.
Victoria Brink called Cohen about the results earlier this summer. The news completely took him by surprise.
"It's been heartbreaking and devastating, and I've just been crushed," he said, also describing it as a "personal tragedy."
As tears started forming, Cohen offered a moment of levity.
"I don't want to be John Boehner," he joked, making a reference to the House speaker's tendency to get teary-eyed.
The congressman said Victoria Brink had been "first" in his life for the past three years. But despite the DNA test results, Cohen vowed the two will still have a relationship, even if it's not the one he was expecting to have.
"She sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers for Father's Day," he said. "And as sweet as she could be, she said you'll always be my father in some ways."