(CNN) - Sharp-witted. Direct. In control. Loyal.
That's how friends describe Jenny Sanford, the wife of Gov. Mark Sanford, who confessed to the nation in a rambling news conference that he was having an affair with a woman in Argentina.
Jenny Sanford, unlike so many wives of cheating politicians, was not there facing the cameras, standing beside her husband.
A reporter asked the governor if he and his wife of 20 years were separated.
"I'm here, and she's there," he replied.
As romantic e-mails between her husband and his mistress were published by a local newspaper Thursday, the state's first lady, a former Wall Street executive, stayed far away from reporters. She was at the family's home on Sullivan Island in South Carolina with her four sons and a few friends.
"Don't you know that is what Jenny Sanford is about? That is what is authentic about Jenny Sanford. She is not going to humiliate herself by standing next to a story," said Cyndi Mosteller, a friend of the Sanfords since 1992 and the former first vice chairwoman of the South Carolina GOP.