December 11th, 2009
04:28 PM ET
4 years ago

Jenny Sanford files for divorce

(CNN) - Jenny Sanford, the wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, said Friday she is filing for divorce.

She said in a statement that "the dissolution of any marriage is a sad and painful process."

"This came after many unsuccessful efforts at reconciliation, yet I am still dedicated to keeping the process that lies ahead peaceful for our family," the statement said.

The Sanfords have lived apart since June, when the governor admitted to an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman.

The governor's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the divorce filing.

(Updated with additional information and Gov. Sanford's reaction after the jump)

After Mark Sanford made a nationally televised admission about his affair, there was a flurry of calls for the governor to resign and multiple investigations by media organizations and the state Ethics Commission into whether Sanford tapped taxpayer resources for personal use.

In November, the South Carolina Ethics Commission charged Sanford with 37 violations of the state ethics code.

The commission will hear arguments involving those civil charges from Sanford's legal team early next year. The state attorney general is still evaluating the ethics complaint to determine whether criminal charges should be pursued.

Several Republican state legislators drafted an impeachment resolution against Sanford, accusing him of "dereliction of duty" for disappearing from the state last summer without informing his staff or the the lieutenant governor.

But that measure was essentially killed by a special House Judiciary Subcommittee on Wednesday, which instead recommended censuring the governor for his behavior.

Sanford has said repeatedly that he will not step down from the state's top office.

Jenny Sanford's full statement:

Statement from First Lady Jenny Sanford

Columbia, S.C. – December 11, 2009 – 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.


Update: In response to the announcement, Gov. Sanford released a statement Friday taking "full responsibility for the moral failure that led us to this tragic point."


Columbia, S.C. – December 11, 2009 – With regard to Jenny's public statement, Governor Sanford had the following to say:

"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. 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. While our family structure may change, I know that we will both work earnestly to be the best mom and dad we can be to four of the finest boys on earth.

"I will join with her in asking the press to respect our shared desire for privacy as we quietly move forward. We respectively ask for your prayers."


Filed under: Jenny Sanford • Mark Sanford • Popular Posts
soundoff (402 Responses)
  1. k

    "Git 'im done!"

    December 11, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. Ed Dugan, Mountain Home, Arkansas

    The ladys got a lot of class and does not need to continue a relationship with a guy who has no class.

    December 11, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Benny in NY

    Heck, that's good news for Sanford! I bet he's happy, now he is free to go back down to South America and get with some more of those hot honeys down there. Good for him!

    December 11, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. Ben in Texas

    So, will Jenny get the governorship in the settlement?

    December 11, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I am sorry to hear about the demise of your marriage. I am just as guilty as others of indulging in a few jokes at your husband's expense, but the reality of an impending divorce is nothing to joke about. I am glad that you appear to have a spiritual base to draw from. I know first hand that it is going to take an "intangible" to see you through this.

    December 11, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. Jack in Florida

    Best wishes to you and your sons, Jenny! Hey, need to take a hike on the AppalachianTrail as the fat lady is singing....can you hear her????

    December 11, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  7. Mississippi Mrs.

    Reconciliation is a wonderful word. I wish they could have made it work, but that would be hard enough without being in the spotlight as they are. It is wonderful to see how troubles strengthen an already deep faith in God. I wish them every blessing as they get through this, and I hope they remain good friends.

    December 11, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |

    Good for Jenny. Took her long enough. Now if her lying, cheating, turning-down-stimulus funds for his state with America's 2cd highest unemployment rate, idiot REPUBLICAN husband will resign and go back to the Appalachian Trail where he belongs!!!!

    December 11, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  9. Dave C - NJ

    I supporting keeping God on the dollar bill, but please remove God from all politicians and their estranged spouses speeches when something bad happens to them brought on by bad decisions.

    December 11, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  10. petena

    Jenny: I am so proud of you. I believe in saving a marriage when there is something to save. Bu tin this case, your husband did not repent, instead tried to ridicule you in public but you rose above it all with such grace. You are so admired and respected. Many blessings to you and the children.

    December 11, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. Hugo

    Who cares, now if this were an article on one of the most recognized young men of our primetime network spin money making machines that idolizes and makes billions for the athlete dolt(s) and sponsors for hitting, throwing, kicking, dunking or running balls of varying sizes, then it would be news! Fall of the Roman Empire, part 2, appearing daily in the USA... what is the math or science teachers salary again?

    December 11, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. Librarian

    Good for her.

    December 11, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. LacrosseMom

    My condolences to Jenny Sanford. And anyone whose been hurt by adultery.

    Why is this man still governor? Most people would have been fired from their jobs for being AWOL and using company funds to see their bimbo!

    December 11, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. Sam

    Bravo to her! She deserves so much better then this jerk.

    December 11, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Way to go Jenny. He is a tool. Maybe he could join the ranks of Tiger and Jon Goesselin at a sex addict meeting.

    December 11, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  16. Laura

    Now let's just hope SC divorces him too.

    December 11, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  17. Edward Veidt

    It's sad that the monster Mark Sanford is putting her through this, but I'm glad she has the courage to walk away from the buffoon.

    December 11, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  18. unemployed by Obama

    Out with the bum.

    December 11, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  19. Jayson

    If your man thinks he can have a wife at home and a "piece o' chicken" on the side in Argentina..."That's a deal-breaker ladies!"

    –Love, Jenny Sanford

    December 11, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  20. Mom Of Twins

    Good for her, some things aren't worth having. A cheating spouse is one of them. Ok Elin, it's time for you to file your papers.

    December 11, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  21. Bobby

    I hope she takes good ole Mark to the cleaners.

    December 11, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  22. kyle from ohio

    It appears the only person in SC with some moral left. You can not expect the SC elected official to do the right thing for their people.
    The man is a whole lot worst than the tiger woods situation, He took an oath and may have give Goverment secret to a Arg Report (his girl friend) who by now have been de-briefted by Her goverment. Any way it is good to see there are still some people with real moral left on the planet.

    December 11, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  23. Randy, San Francisco

    Jenny Sanford should take this cheating bum to the cleaners. Why is divorce OK with family values religious voters and not gay marriage?

    December 11, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  24. Pepe le Piu


    There is no god. You don't need that to be strong anyway. I wish you the best.

    December 11, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  25. concerned citizen

    I can see Mr. Sanford resurrected in a few years, perhaps with another soul mate, this time politically not sexualy with the llikes of Palin. I can foresee our country full of glory with Palin-Sanford and a cabinet with Limbaugh, De Mint and the othere conservatives and the help of the Taliban wing of the Republican party. High fives to the Republicans and their party of conservatives!!!!!

    December 11, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
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