Sanford's wife announces she will divorce governor

Friday, Dec. 11, 2009 9:41 AM
Last updated 6:54 PM
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COLUMBIA - South Carolina's first lady, a former Wall Street vice president who helped launch her husband's political career, filed for divorce Friday more than five months after his tearful public confession of an affair with an Argentine woman.

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Jenny Sanford  Associated Press
Associated Press
Jenny Sanford

"This came after many unsuccessful efforts at reconciliation, yet I am still dedicated to keeping the process that lies ahead peaceful for our family," Jenny Sanford said in a statement. The divorce complaint was filed in Charleston County Family Court.

In a statement, the governor blamed himself and said he and Jenny will "work earnestly to be the best mom and dad we can be to four of the finest boys on earth."

"While it is not the course I would have hoped for, or would choose, I want to take full responsibility for the moral failure that led us to this tragic point," he said. "Jenny is a great person, and has been a remarkable wife, mother and first lady. She has been more than gracious these last six months and gone above and beyond in her patience and commitment to put the needs of others in front of her own."

Jenny Sanford's announcement came after a week of wrenching twists, including a decision by a legislative panel Wednesday to turn aside an impeachment push in favor of a formal rebuke for the governor's conduct. He told reporters he still wanted to reconcile with his wife, while she said in a television interview that it was a simple decision to not stand with him as he publicly confessed the affair.

"Certainly his actions hurt me, and they caused consequences for me, but they don't in any way take away my own self-esteem," she told ABC's Barbara Walters. "They reflect poorly on him."

Her divorce complaint did not mention money, property or custody arrangements for the couple's sons.

"The defendant has engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman other than plaintiff," the complaint reads. "Plaintiff has not condoned that relationship and is informed and believes that she is entitled to a divorce ... from the defendant on the grounds of adultery."

As first lady, Jenny Sanford has little official role in state government, but she has been a quiet presence since her husband took office in 2003, often attending morning meetings with his top staff and working on a public health campaign.

Just last week, she welcomed visitors to a holiday open house at the governor's mansion. Mark Sanford arrived about two hours after the event began and gave his wife a quick kiss, but they spent much of the night 10 feet apart, entertaining separate groups.

Jenny Sanford had said after news of the scandal broke in June that she was willing to reconcile with the two-term Republican governor. She weathered the publication of e-mail exchanges between her husband and his lover, Maria Belen Chapur, and an Associated Press interview in which Sanford called Chapur his "soul mate" and admitted "crossing the line" with other women while he was married.

Mark Sanford, 49, disappeared for almost a week in late June to see Chapur leaving his staff, his wife and the rest of the state in the dark about his whereabouts. Initially, his staff told reporters he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

Jenny Sanford said she learned about the affair in January when she came across a copy of a letter her husband wrote to Chapur. In the months following, he asked several times to visit the other woman, she said.

"It's one thing to forgive adultery; it's another thing to condone it," she told the AP two days after her husband revealed the affair at a news conference.

"He was told in no uncertain terms not to see her," she said. "I was hoping he was on the Appalachian Trail. But I was not worried about his safety. I was hoping he was doing some real soul searching somewhere and devastated to find out it was Argentina. It's tragic."

Days later, after the governor told AP he was relying on religious faith to help salvage his marriage even though the love of his life was in Argentina, Jenny Sanford said it was up to the people of South Carolina whether they wanted to give their governor a second chance.

"His far more egregious offenses were committed against God, the institutions of marriage and family, our boys and me," she said.

In May, the governor seemed uncertain of what road to take. As the couple was in the midst of a series of religious counseling sessions, he wrote a letter to his spiritual adviser describing himself as emotionally torn.

"The one part where my heart at this point is not where I wish it was is with Jenny," Sanford wrote. She "is a great girl, great mom, great wife and best friend and I am committed to her in a commitment sense, but my heart is just not alive here as it ought to be."

No South Carolina governor has gone through a divorce while in office. The state in 1949 became the last in the nation to allow divorce, said Walter Edgar, a historian at the University of South Carolina.

Born Jennifer Sullivan, the first lady grew up near Chicago. Her grandfather founded the Skil Corp., a power tool manufacturer. She graduated from Georgetown University in 1984 with a degree in finance, then worked for the Wall Street investment banking firm Lazard Freres & Co., where she was a vice president in mergers and acquisitions.

The Sanfords met in New York in the 1980s when Mark Sanford also was working in finance, at Goldman Sachs.

The couple married in 1989 and relocated to South Carolina, where Sanford worked in real estate before serving three terms in Congress. Jenny Sanford managed several of her husband's campaigns. Until revelations of the affair, he had been considered a possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate.

The couple separated two weeks before news of the affair became public. Jenny Sanford and her sons sought refuge at the couple's beachfront home on Sullivans Island while Sanford remained in the state capital of Columbia, occasionally visiting his family.

Unlike some political wives, Jenny Sanford did not stand next to her husband when he revealed the affair with Chapur, whom he met on a trip to Uruguay in 2001.

Governor Sanford reacts to divorce filing

CHARLESTON, S.C. - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford blames his own moral failures for his wife's desire to divorce him.

He says Jenny Sanford is gracious and remarkable and has been patient and selfless since he publicly revealed his affair with an Argentine woman in June.

The first lady filed for divorce Friday because of his adultery. In a statement, the governor says his family structure may change but he and his wife will continue to work to be the best parents they can for their four sons.

Jenny Sanford originally said over the summer she was willing to reconcile. More recently she described the couple as separated.

She and the couple's four boys had been living at the Sanfords' beachfront home.

SEE THE DOCUMENTS

Divorce complaint filed by first lady Jenny Sanford

Divorce summons to be served to Governor Sanford

Associated Press flash timeline of the Governor Sanford scandal

READ THE STATEMENT

Here is the text of a statement released Friday by South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford on filing for divorce from Gov. Mark Sanford months after he publicly confessed an affair with an Argentine woman:

"As so many of us know, the dissolution of any marriage is a sad and painful process. It is also a very personal and private one. Because Mark and I are public figures, we have naturally had less privacy with which to deal with our difficulties than do other couples. Indeed, I know it will soon become known so I choose to release this brief notice that I am now filing for divorce. This came after many unsuccessful efforts at reconciliation, yet I am still dedicated to keeping the process that lies ahead peaceful for our family."

"I remain thankful to so many across this state and nation for their words of encouragement and prayers during this difficult time. Please know the boys and I are doing well and are blessed with the incredible support of friends and family and bolstered by our faith and the unfailing love of our God above."

TIMELINE

June 25 - Wandering SC governor admits straying in Argentina

June 25 - South Carolina reacts to news of affair

June 25 - Jenny Sanford issues statement

June 26 - Sanford's little lie masks a much bigger one

June 27 - Alleged video of Sanford mistress surfaces

June 27 - Wife told Sanford to stop affair

June 30 - Couple went to Bible 'boot camp'

June 30 - Sanford says mistress is soul mate

August 27 - Editorial: Sanford should resign

August 27 - Sanford says he won't quit

October 2 - Sanford lauds Aiken Tech in career center visit

November 24 - Sanford faces 37 charges he broke state ethics laws

December 4 - South Carolina first family faces subdued yule

December 9 - S.C. panel nixes Sanford impeachment, recommend rebuke

December 10 - SC Gov. Sanford wants to reconcile with first lady

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Big_vike
1
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Big_vike 12/11/09 - 10:47 am
0
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Good for her, now Elin needs

Good for her, now Elin needs to follow suit. These jerks give the rest of us a bad name, not ALL men are dogs, just SOME men, the ones who shouldn't have been married in the first place.

mommie2
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mommie2 12/11/09 - 10:52 am
0
0
Good for her. Maybe if

Good for her. Maybe if Hillary had divorce her cheating husband we would feel differently about her.

southernguy08
499
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southernguy08 12/11/09 - 10:59 am
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Hold your head high Ms.
Unpublished

Hold your head high Ms. Sanford. You are the one with class here. I hope the rest of your life is happier.

Notreally
4
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Notreally 12/11/09 - 11:17 am
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HURRAY... I'm glad I think

HURRAY... I'm glad I think had he not said SOUL MATE they may have made it. SOUL MATE killed everything in her heart for him...

Notreally
4
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Notreally 12/11/09 - 11:24 am
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Well since she announced the

Well since she announced the pending divorce today, he can now fly to Argentina to be with his soul mate and not fill guility. We all know it was not over with her. With this he can now be with her over there without the baggage of "Being Married". With all his I want to reconcile talk was just talk to look good he never really wanted to do that with Jenny. Way to go Jenny I feel you.

Notreally
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Notreally 12/11/09 - 11:26 am
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She should have BOPPED him

She should have BOPPED him one good one though, I mean BOPPED him good oh lying cheater...

Notreally
4
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Notreally 12/11/09 - 11:27 am
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Oh I hear Tiger changed his

Oh I hear Tiger changed his name to:

Notreally
4
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Notreally 12/11/09 - 11:27 am
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Cheetah LOL...

Cheetah LOL...

MeinAugusta2
39
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MeinAugusta2 12/11/09 - 11:27 am
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Good for her! She deserves

Good for her! She deserves better than that POS!

SusieQ
1
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SusieQ 12/11/09 - 11:33 am
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You made the right choice.

You made the right choice. May God Bless you in the days to come. I don't think he would have made a happy life for you if you had stayed with him.

Rolling Eyes
245
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Rolling Eyes 12/11/09 - 11:36 am
0
0
Notreally, do you mean BOP

Notreally, do you mean BOP him like Hillary did to Bill with the ashtray after the Monica affair became public? Sounds like a good idea to me.

Philo-Publis
1
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Philo-Publis 12/11/09 - 11:39 am
0
0
What a bunch of Losers...

What a bunch of Losers... this is why we can't trust politicians on either side of the aisle... It's all about money, power, and greed

Notreally
4
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Notreally 12/11/09 - 11:47 am
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0
No I meant bopped... she

No I meant bopped... she should have bopped him over and over and over and over and over LOL, gave him a black eye, busted lip, and cracked ribs LOL. What he did cuts to the core of the heart especially if that person has been FAITHFUL to you and had no clue you were doing this to them, OMG when it becomes known to that person and they are TRULY in love and have been faithful throughout the marriage/relationship to that person it's devastating. Regardless if these two were private citizens no one knew or not, the HURT is the same even for public figures. I'm glad she didn't lose her mind as some people do.

willienelson
5
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willienelson 12/11/09 - 11:56 am
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Unfortunately this has

Unfortunately this has nothing to do with being a politician. Men cheat. Statistics show that more than 50% of married men cheat. Since most of these guys cheat with women, I'm guessing a similar number of women cheat. People are weak. The new trend of merely living together without marriage is not going to help this problem. If spouses are willing to risk their marriage, they will certainly risk something an non permanent as merely living together. Basic values have really taken a beating over the last 50 years. Why any woman, who has the most at risk, would ever agree to simply live together is beyond me.

Rolling Eyes
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Rolling Eyes 12/11/09 - 11:57 am
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Notreally, this is one of

Notreally, this is one of those rare occasions where I wholeheartedly agree with you!

APiratesLife4Me
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APiratesLife4Me 12/11/09 - 12:00 pm
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Hey Jenny, I think you are my

Hey Jenny, I think you are my soul mate. How much money did you say you have? LOL....

the_source
0
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the_source 12/11/09 - 12:05 pm
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Hmm, I still think Mark is

Hmm, I still think Mark is blind as a bat. Jenny is much better looking than that Argentine woman who has a mustache.

themaninthemirror
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themaninthemirror 12/11/09 - 12:16 pm
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Does he really think his

Does he really think his soulmate in Argentina was faithful to him? After all, it was not convenient to have clandestine meetings. And she is not married, so she has nothing to lose. Was she so desparate that she was just waiting for him? Mark Sanford has proven by his actions, that he is not a trustworthy husband, and certainly not a man who could be trusted to run this country.

butler123
1
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butler123 12/11/09 - 12:16 pm
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I'm sorry for her and her

I'm sorry for her and her sons. I'm glad she is divorcing his sorry butt. I always thought Hilary should have divorced Bill too. She made it appear to be alright for a husband to cheat on his wife.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 12/11/09 - 12:23 pm
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The most stupid thing he said

The most stupid thing he said was that the Argentinian adulteress was his soul-mate. An adulteress for a soul-mate? I guess the Argentinian reporter got an adulterer for a soul-mate, too. They might want to re-evaluate the conditions of their souls. Long distance relationships are mostly fantasy. A true soul-mate can only be found in real life. A real man can admit his mistakes and work to make things right. His wife deserves a real man. I guess Sanford just is not up to the challenge. And I agree with "the source", Jenny is much better looking than the so-called "soul-mate". And she is the mother of his children. What kind of fool runs after an illusion instead of paying attention to his family?

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 12/11/09 - 12:25 pm
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It's not alright to cheat,

It's not alright to cheat, but to stay or to go is always a difficult decision and has to be decided on what is best for those two people. Every case is different. But it should always be weighted toward fighting for the marriage and family to remain intact.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 12/11/09 - 12:27 pm
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... if at all possible. No

... if at all possible. No one looking from the outside in is going to get the whole story. The spouses don't even know the whole story about each other, how can the public? So we have no right to judge the merits of their decision. (Edit button still doesn't work.)

seenitB4
85374
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seenitB4 12/11/09 - 12:45 pm
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There are no perfect

There are no perfect marriages,, & like willienelson said more than 50% cheat..& since everything gets old these thrill seekers have to continue looking for more thrills..Ain't Sex Great!!

Just Another Day
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Just Another Day 12/11/09 - 12:47 pm
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Just Nuts4 is missing in

Just Nuts4 is missing in action so let me fill in:"One non minority couple is getting a divorce it quickly makes the news but when you know who gets a divorce it doesn't make the non minority media papers. The high rate of divorce for you know who is because the system doesnt have money for counseling but they find money for expensive legal proceedings against you know who. Great country, ah?"

deekster
24
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deekster 12/11/09 - 12:52 pm
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The wealthy "A LIST" people

The wealthy "A LIST" people live a different life. Always have and always will. We "the commoners" can only view their elevated "private" lives through Nancy Grace and Okra. Did I write Okra, I meant Oprah.

Boogaloo
1
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Boogaloo 12/11/09 - 12:58 pm
0
0
Well, let the ol' Gov have

Well, let the ol' Gov have his soulmate all he wants now. I guarantee in a few years when her front and rear porch start to sag and he comes home to "What! Leftover llama again!" he will be looking for another soulmate.

corgimom
31168
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corgimom 12/11/09 - 01:11 pm
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Now maybe they can both move

Now maybe they can both move on and find happiness. He can find a wife that's not a campaign manager, and she can find someone who loves her.

butler123
1
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butler123 12/11/09 - 01:16 pm
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Sanford is just so silly. He

Sanford is just so silly. He lives here and she lives in Argentina. It won't be long before he finds out his soul mate, has other souls in her life. What a fool he is. Any woman who has an affair with a married man isn't a faithful person.

waugusta92
0
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waugusta92 12/11/09 - 01:23 pm
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well, the truth of the matter

well, the truth of the matter is a lot of people get married to someone they've settled for while some people wait to find a "soul mate". sanford may have very well found his soulmate in this woman. & we dont know what the sanford household was like before he was caught. and who are we to say that at age 50 or 60 that you shouldnt spend your last years with someone who makes you feel the way you want to feel? now, if he had any real sense he would have been honest about his feelings and got a divorce before cheating, instead of going out the tacky way. good for his wife for deciding to leave -- if he wasnt willing to let go of his affair then that should tell you that it's already over. it's not too late for her to find someone new too.

ripjones
2
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ripjones 12/11/09 - 01:45 pm
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WillieNelson - You can't make

WillieNelson - You can't make a blanket statement, men cheat. Some don't, probably alot don't. But you do bring up a good point. Most of the men that DO cheat, cheat with other women, then that means women are cheating also. So Willie, how come country songs only talk about the MAN cheating?

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