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. Reeba

    I love it when cheaters get caught. I love to see them lose everything they have worked for, for just a little piece of tail. The ruination is fantastic!

    August 17, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. jumpugly

    Your nobility is admirable, now ditch the clown.

    August 17, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. Ellie

    They all think the grass will be greener. . .

    August 17, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  4. Auntie Cairo

    Shouldn't that be the balls are in his court?

    August 17, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Lacy

    For heaven's sake Jenny, don't crawl to this guy, you're better than that!!

    August 17, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Did CNN and the National Enquirer merge and I missed the news? Or is the CNN just providing an outlet for liberal hate comments?

    August 17, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. chad

    WAKE UP LADY..... your husband mad a CHOICE to have an affiar with that woman..... Using the excuse "addiction" is an easy way out... cheating/lying is not an addiction its a choice......

    August 17, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Dem For Life

    Love is blind, but the neighbors ain't.

    August 17, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. CindyTea

    DUMP THE GUY. . . . he's a lost cause.

    August 17, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. Jonie, MS

    No, the ball is in the people's court. The thought of South Carolinians sitting around waiting for a non-leader to leader is absurd. The Sanfords have lost their minds...really.

    August 17, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. A SC Voice

    I appreciate Jenny Sanford’s dedication and religious convictions, but I would respect her more for leaving him.

    August 17, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. mtv

    "The person I married was centered on a core of morals. The person who did this is not centered on those morals." Lady the person who did this Should Step down from Governor ..............and that is your Husband

    August 17, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. They call me "Tater Salad"

    What makes Jenny Sanford so sure that this woman was the only one her husband had an affair with? This was not just a moment of weakness! Wake up Jenny! Ask yourself this, if he hadn't been spotted in that Atlanta airport and exposed, would you even know about the affair right now? My guess is that you wouldn't have a clue! And it's also a pretty safe bet that your husband would not offer up that kind of information all on his own because he suddenly felt bad about it! Get a grip! The affair would still be going on to this day, if he hadn't been caught! Don't be an idiot!

    August 17, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  14. Typical Republican

    Sanford is a very good man. Let me say one simple (stupidly retarded comparison) comment: If any of you have sinned, then by that comparison it means Saford is a very good man. Let the first sinner be the one that has to shut up. Because since we all sin, that means we should simply say "good job Sanford, we love you for cheating on your family, your state, your children. What a really good man you are. You are my hero".

    August 17, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. Search no more

    Very well spoken. Anyone who has a moral core, will weather the storm with greater strength. If Governor Sanford turns his back on his wife and family, he will toss and turn for the rest of his life. I wish them
    God's best.

    August 17, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. democrat no mas

    This guy was a serious presidential candidate for the r's? Give me a break.

    August 17, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. Pragmatic

    Maybe you or he thought he had a core of moral values ... seem to slip awfully far – awfully fast! What happened to the Republican value of "just say "no"?? Choices and consequences is also a Biblical value.

    August 17, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. JN

    This lady is in classic denial of her present circumstance. Literally, she's just given him permission to continue his affair or have another because, in her understanding, he's addicted-which gives him an out for cheating. She further reasons that men have aging issues which is a biological defect that makes her husband's philandering understandable. God forbid all women reason this way!!!!! The fact is-should she decide to hear it-HE DOESN'T LOVE YOU ANYMORE. LET HIM GO. IT'S OVER.

    August 17, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. Joe

    Move on, Jenny. This marriage is over.

    August 17, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  20. Patricia Williams

    This woman (Jenny Sanford) is my nominee for saint of the century. She has not only conducted herself with dignity and dedication but also with a genuine heartfelt willingness to understand ....and even forgive....people who have hurt her in the most personal way possible and then held her up to public humiliation. She is certainly made of far sterner "stuff" than I. If this philandering pig had pulled this on me my strongest instinct would be to go for his jugular vein.

    August 17, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  21. Gallimimus

    Dump him like you mean it! HALF!!!!

    August 17, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. Miss Gracie

    Jenny Sanford sounds like an amazing woman. She deserves FAR better.

    August 17, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. SC Integrity

    No more worries, Gov. Sanford. The good life you deserve is in your very near reach.

    Resign now, write a book, go on the speakers tour, meet a million Marias, and catch a Father's Day now and then with your boys.

    August 17, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. Tim in NC

    This circus with Sanford's personal life is NOT news!

    Focus on the corruption, focus on what he did that was ACTUALLY illegal (adultery counts). No one should care about this sort of crap. Leave this sort of soft "news" to the tabloids

    You are better than this CNN.

    August 17, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  25. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    He is a class "A" jerk.........dump him and get on with your life lady. The sooner the better.

    August 17, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
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