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. Jes

    Some of these comments are absolutely ridiculous. A man has NO excuse to cheat on his wife. If there's a problem, then it should be worked on by BOTH sides. Whenever the man (or the woman, for that matter) leaves to seek anything elsewhere, they have forsaken any high moral ground. If there are problems, you work them out in counseling or other means. If you absolutely can't work something out, then it's better to go ahead and leave than to cheat.

    Cheating is cowardice and weakness. Period.

    August 17, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Chris W

    I don't care about this person or his personal marital troubles/addiction to his mistress. Move on to something more important please. Old, and boring news.

    August 17, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. Allen, Cypress, Texas

    Maybe now he'll take the stimulus money from the federal government. As a member of the "C" Street gang, he's dug in to his position of wanting his cake and having it too. Only, his wife Jenny is not cooperating. He's too addicted to a Latina putch. If this was a Democrat, the Right Wing Nuts who call themselves Republicans will be screaming fro his resignation. Turns out those Bible – toting idiots don't even believe in what they are peddling.

    August 17, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. Amanda

    The worst thing Sanford said after the affair was exposed was that he "was going to TRY to fall in love with his wife again"!! How does one TRY to fall in or out of love???? Love just happens, you love someone or you don't. Once you no longer are IN LOVE with someone, you can't go back. Sanford fell in love with another woman, and admitted it. He cannot take that back.

    Mrs. Sanford would be a fool to take HIM back after he said this woman from Argentina that he was having the affair with was his "SOULMATE"! Let him go to Argentina and live with her then. And, Mrs. Sanford is being much to kind to her husband's "soulmate". What kind a woman has an affair with another woman's husband, the father of four children??? He left those four kids on FATHER'S DAY to go be with his soulmate in Argentina. Unforgivable!!!!!

    Sanford's "family values" have gone missing!

    August 17, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. sunshine

    don't you think it's time for the ball to be in your court?? if the other woman is his soul mate, then maybe that's where he belongs, it happens.

    August 17, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    No Incumbents 2010:

    Repugs! I love it. After they started calling our party the Democrat Party, I was thinking of renaming theirs the Republeak Party, but Repug Party might just be better.

    August 17, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Personally Jenny, you are a hot lady in my opinion and deserve better than this philandering maggot. Dump the zero and get with a hero like Bill Clinton! He'll remind you of what it's like to be a sexy woman even after 4 kids! :-)

    August 17, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Dan

    Why is it that when Repubs or Christians do bad things, they are "good people" who just made a mistake and "not perfect", but when an average Joe does he's just a low-life dirt-bag? Say it like it is people. Rush is a drug addict, Foley is a pedofile, Haggert is a homosexual, and Sanford is a cheater. See that wasn't so hard, was it?

    August 17, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  9. Debbie

    Jenny, stop making excuses for this slimy dog ... he cheated and that's the end of the conversation! Move on!

    August 17, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Mark

    An all too common act of self destruction.

    It really matters not if they are Republican, Democrat, male, or female humans playing with evil leads to pain.

    One has to respect Jenny's forgiveness.

    My guess is that Mark's life is over as a govenor. He just does not believe what just happened.

    August 17, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  11. Karl in Charleston,SC

    As the faithful ex-husband of a cheating wife, I can assure you that men are not the only ones at fault. If you really care about your children, KEEP IT OUT OF THE NEWS!

    August 17, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. babydoglover

    Mrs. Sanford is a lady in the truest sense. With all that she has been put through...she still shows such dignity and grace. He's such a fool...to have looked elsewhere when he had everything right at home.

    August 17, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. Leon

    He is addicted to his mistress, the same way Obama is addicted to smoking, drinking and lust for power.

    August 17, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. cspurgeon

    Two idiots. Nothing more to say.

    August 17, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. PJ

    What Jenny Sanford says is true. This is what happens when we put ourselves in the position of having to say no to temptations. People don't have affairs on purpose, it happens by accident because we left ourselves vulnerable to temptations instead of avoiding the risk. He's getting what he deserves–turmoil and a broken heart. And Maria Chapur–no feelings of loss here at all. She new she was flirting and tempting a married man with kids.

    August 17, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    Why aren't we hearing more about efforts to remove Gov Sanford from office? In the mean time, it sure seems like he and his wife are happy to have their personal marital problems in the headlines, deflecting public conversation away from the fact that he should no longer be in office.

    August 17, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. Joe Monroe

    well, we all know that the wives in this situation are always totally innocent and did nothing to warrant this treatment. Looked at from a certain perspective, he may have felt he was saving his own life by getting involved with this woman. I'd be willing to bet my next paycheck that he didn't ruin a good marriage.

    August 17, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. donttreadonme

    Some men just cheat….no matter what. While other men cheat because their spouse loses interest in them. Only Jenny and Mark know the truth.

    Being a Christian in no way makes you perfect but, I will take it over being an atheist secular any day!

    August 17, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. KATIE

    Mark Sanford cowardly hid behind the apron of "good Family Values." This is what makes me so sick. He's a phoney.

    August 17, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. Mark

    Wrong. She should have said, "The ball is in OUR court." Sure, Gov. Sanford made a huge mistake. Yes, Mrs. Sanford sounds confident and sure of herself based on these excerpts. However, I wonder if she has looked at how she may have contributed to his affair. Did she allow for that all-important intimate time that we all need? Did her kids consume all her energy leaving little time for Gov. Sanford's needs? Again, the Governor made a big mistake for which he should atone. However, I would ask that Mrs. Sanford, rather than trying to look strong and impeccably moral, think long and hard about what is truly best for her and her kids and before she makes the leap to divorce.

    August 17, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Teena

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

    August 17, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. Gina S., Atlanta GA

    My husband did the same. He found his "soul mate" at work (he was a licensed psychologist & supervised her as an employee). I had no choice but to get a divorce. He and his mistress got divorced to get married to each other.

    It wasn't easy, but it was the best thing that happened to me. If we'd had kids together, I would have been in Jenny's shoes. No man should humiliate his wife in this way. And Jenny should leave - she should maintain her dignity.

    August 17, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  23. John

    No marriage is perfect, no human being is perfect either. Americans always think divorce is the solution to every marriage mishap thats why over 50% of marriages end in divorce. And some even married 3 to 5 times without success. If you spend over 10 yrs with someone you should know him//her enough. Only she knows the man that she married.

    August 17, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. Shirley

    Talk about self destruction!

    August 17, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. stephen bledsoe

    Mark sanford is a total and complete embarrassment to his family and the State of South Carolina. He should go, but republicans seem to always make sure their picture is under the definition of hypocrit.

    August 17, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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