August 17th, 2009
06:29 PM ET
5 years ago

Jenny Sanford on her husband: 'The ball is in his court'

Jenny Sanford is interviewed in the upcoming issue of Vogue magazine.
Jenny Sanford is interviewed in the upcoming issue of Vogue magazine.

(CNN) – For the first time in nearly two months, Jenny Sanford is opening up about the affair that turned her life upside down.

"Mark is not a bad person," she says of her husband, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, in an interview with Vogue magazine hitting newsstands this week. "What the world saw in that press conference is someone who is struggling. None of us are perfect. We are all trying to do the best we can."

Despite her acknowledgment of her husband's imperfections, Sanford makes clear in the interview that divorce remains an option. Two weeks ago, she moved out of the governor's mansion with the couple's four boys to spend the upcoming school year in the Charleston area.

"I have put my heart and soul into being a good mother and wife," she says. "Now I think it's up to my husband to do the soul-searching to see if he wants to stay married. The ball is in his court."

She said the man who carried on a year-long affair with Maria Belen Chapur was not the man she married. "It never occurred to me that he would do something like that," she said. "The person I married was centered on a core of morals. The person who did this is not centered on those morals."

Sanford said her husband's relationship with Chapur was almost like an addiction.

"Over the course of both pastoral and marriage counseling, it became clear to me that he was just obsessed with going to see this woman," she told the magazine. "I have learned that these affairs are almost like an addiction to alcohol or pornography. They just can't break away from them."

Sanford says she feels sorry for Chapur. But the Vogue piece also reports that Sanford said of Chapur after looking up a picture of her on the internet: "She's pretty."

"I am sure she is a fine person," she says of Chapur. "It can't be fun for her, though I do sometimes question her judgment. If she knew the newspaper had those e-mails back in December, why did she want him to come in June? But I can't go there too much. All I can do is pray for her because she made some poor choices. Mark made some poor choices. A lot of people were brought down by this, and I am sure that is not what they wanted."

Sanford says her husband - currently on the defensive after reports that he flew in style overseas on the taxpayers' dime and used state aircraft for personal use - "has got some issues that he needs to work on, about happiness and what happiness means."

"You wish it wouldn't come to a crisis like this, but I think when a lot of men get to this midpoint in life, they start asking questions that they probably should have asked a long time ago," she says.

"Midlife aging is different for men than for women," she says. "Mark is worried about what his next job is. He worries about making money, running for office again, his legacy. I know my legacy is my children. I don't worry about that."


Filed under: Jenny Sanford • Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (307 Responses)
  1. Just Me

    You are wrong Jenny Sanford..the ball is not in your husbands court, it's in yours. Stop trying to hold on to what is not there. Snap out of it, and let go of that sinking raft.

    By the way American men, especially the holier than thou ones from the South, beware of Argentinian women. They are addictive as per Jenny. You know how prone to addictiction we American men are. With our alcohol, drug and other addictions, the last thing we need is be addicted to Argentinian women. It's a sure way to ruin our marriages.

    August 17, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. Eric of Reseda

    "The person I married was centered on a core of morals. The person who did this is not centered on those morals." Sounds like at least half of the Christian Evangelical movement and the political Right. I mean, in my 53 years, from Swaggart (Remember his tears and plea for forgiveness? Then he went out and bought some hookers again), Bakker & Oral Roberts, to the head of the National Association of Evangelicals, Ted Haggard (Lover of gay prostitutes and speed). Mark Sanford is just another phony, preaching Christian values, behaving in an entirely different way.

    August 17, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. jwb

    So, if its an addiction you need to leave him. Oh, and take HALF of everything and move on and he can move to Argentina and live with his "soul mate."

    He's pathetic.

    Can we move on to REAL issues in this nation, please??

    August 17, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. Independent

    Look enough CNN have you NO heart.....You have become more like a tabloid

    August 17, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  5. Kyle

    Another fine example of good Republican family values.

    August 17, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. Matt Jones

    A note to Jenny: be glad that your husband decided to have an affair with an unmarried female who was over 18. Quite a few of his Republican colleagues haven't even succeeded at THAT level of morality...

    August 17, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  7. Kenda

    Hopefully, Jenny will have his "balls" in divorce court.

    August 17, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. Tom Denver

    I guess you can't get a good taco in S.C. He had to ge south of the border for it. Hey Ms. dump the bum. I have no issue with infidelity, we're human. The turd uses morals as a vote buyer yet does not admit hypocrisy, loser.

    August 17, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. Nick

    Beny, you are a pig. I hope something bad happens to you, like a piano falls on your head or something.

    Jenny, do what you want to do. If you think your life is better with him, work on the marriage. If you think your life and your children's life would be better without him, leave him. I think there's not excuse for what he or his mistress did. I think violating the marriage vows is one of the worst things a person can do, but that's just my opinion.

    Good luck to you. You're a smart beautiful lady with great kids. You'll be fine.

    August 17, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Donna

    Mrs. Sanford,
    Take it from a woman who was cheated on by her husband also, it will NEVER be the same again, even if you try to reconcile. You will always wonder during intimacy..."is he thinking of her instead of me". It will ruin your intimate life and make you miserable. It is no use...let him go. You cannot forgive this, not a woman with your wonderful morals. He does not deserve you any longer. LET HIM GO. Find your own niche and let raising your children to be more like you and less like their Dad your priority.

    August 17, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Sally

    " The Ball is in his court" WHY? You should be the one calling all the shots not him. He does not love you. You need to end it.
    Being there, Trust me. As painfull as it is the sooner you come to this conclusion the sooner you will begin to heal.

    August 17, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Dandy

    Jenny needs to quit making excuses for this cheater....he'd do it again if he knew he could "ditch" the media. Once a cheater, always a cheater honey.

    August 17, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. Mike in Texas

    Dump the bum Jenny. You're still a hot lady. Go find someone that will appreciate you.

    August 17, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Alex

    How is this political news?!?!

    August 17, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. Jesus Francisco

    Love has reason, that reason cannot understand. He's in love with another woman, and that is far stronger than just sex. Let him go.

    August 17, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. KATIE

    Jenny, the man you married is long gone.

    August 17, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. Rcik in OP

    Speaking of low bred, slimy, two-timers, how is John Edwards doing today?

    August 17, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. Nomorejets

    He had a core of values ? OMG lady wake up he is making you the looser did you not hear he had finally found his soul mate so it was NOT you Jenny he was just a sperm doner .
    Plus he is ugly as sin.

    August 17, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. Fed up in SC

    Sorry to say but he was that way when she married him but she just didn't know it. And why give any man that much control and power over you, "the ball is in his court". The choice is yours.

    For those who think that it was about the cheating as to why people have been calling for him to resign, he is as much a sorry Governor as he has been a husband. I should know I live in SC

    August 17, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. joel palmer

    He was always a lying weasel; he just finally got caught; Jenny needs to put several states between her and this moron.

    Hypocrisy fairly reeks from today's gop

    August 17, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Tari Torch Sweeney - Shaker Heights, OH

    Um...Can we stop talking about this? Do I care? This goes on in households around the world, on a daily basis. Why are THEY important? I'd say he's a pig. But jenny is a moralizing, fundamentalist "christian" nattering about morals. Who CARES? Instead of just walking away, she takes any chance to say nasty things, move out, etc. I'd say HE is HER addiction. Otherwise, she would march out, kids in tow. She cannot really BELIEVE he will work it out with her, can she? She is getting obscene pleasure in verbally moralizing on him in public. She ain't no better, trust me. He'll go back to Ms. Argentina, if she hasn't seen through his crap yet. They all deserve each other. The 'other' woman is at fault, too.

    August 17, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. S Callahan

    Ms. Sandford..you certainly show alot of dignity and intelligence through this pain...I'm proud of you. You have your head held high.

    As for adultery being an addiction...it can be...there is no doubt to that...just like many other sins. This is a sin against God, and the heart. It takes real repentence to make it right...and it is possible to make it right...but you have to first 'resist' the temptation and that takes work and conscous effort. It's not a game...it's not of the flesh either. But there is a source that will help you get through this..turn to Jesus. God has already delivered you from this..you just have to ask him to complete it in your heart. Search your heart Mr. Sandford...you've already exposed everything else..you have nothing to loose if you go to the light.

    August 17, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. T.G.

    A few months ago, Mark Sanford referred to the Argentine woman as "his soulmate." That is why Mrs. Sanford moved out of the house; she has gotten tired of the embarassment from the scandal. The Governor tried to spin the news to make it look like she is willing to stay with him, but we all know it's over for him.

    August 17, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. donttreadonme

    Lighten up he is only following in the footsteps of JFK and Bill Clinton.

    August 17, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. dee

    oh people please. The lady is trying very hard to handle the situation with grace and poise. She is also trying to protect her chldren. Stop finding fault with her and the way she is handling it. Walk a mile in her shoes then see how you behave.

    August 17, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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