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. Monrob

    Good for you Mrs. Sanford. Still, you should ask for his resignation and a good amount of $$$$$$$$$$$$.

    December 11, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. expat5

    Rob V., in which state do people of different colors worship together more than apart?

    That's right. None.

    But I agree with you than Sanford has betrayed both his family and his constituency.

    December 11, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. A guy

    " "family values" Republicans can devalue marriage by getting divorces, but my friends who have been together 30 years can't get married because they are gay and their committed relationship would somehow devalue marriage. Whatever."


    December 11, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. Larry-Hazleton, Pa

    The breaking of a family for whatever the reason is a sad moment that I would not wish on anyone. I think it would have been better to work things out – but if they cannot then lets all let them have there privacy in dealing with this terrible situation.

    December 11, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. Ontaya Parson

    Good for her. He said he found his soulmate so go be with her. I wish Jenny the best!

    December 11, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. Judy Bunch

    I commend Mrs. Sandford for being such a Classical Lady, she has proven herself to be extremely worthy of much more respect than Mark Sanford has ever known even for himself or anyone else.
    I am embarrassed to even admit that he is the Govenor of my State, I was hoping that he would be impeached, He certainly deserves to be and is well qualified to be in my sincere opinion.
    Mrs. Sanford and her Sons certainly have my Best Wishes for their future happiness and Sucess.

    December 11, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. Tom St. Paul

    I see book deals in the future: One for her, one for him, one for the Senorita, one for each of the kids! These will be marketed to the people who bought "Going Rogue".

    December 11, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. K

    Kudos to you, Jenny. You've shown nothing but class and grace during this extremely difficult time. I admire you because you didn't do the seemingly typical "stand by your man" routine common of politician wives. Though there were reconciliation attempts, you were smart enough to figure out what's best for you and your children and cut your losses. My prayers are with you and the boys as you continue to transition through this difficult stage. Best of luck to you in the future.

    December 11, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. Don

    Mr. Sanford tried to keep his sham marriage together with the help of the "FAMILY", the C street cult in Washington. They and their followers,, Sen. Ensign, Sen Colburn, etc, put the family first and the country a distant second. No conspiracy, just fact. Check out the Family, you won't likew it.

    December 11, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  10. Pat F

    This is a silly story, of no political importance. CNN continues to merge with TMZ.

    December 11, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. Lynne

    History does not bode well for them. My guess is that the governor will only do his earnest best to be a good father to his sons if it does not interfere with his own desires. That's going to be a problem. You can't change someone's inherent personality. This guy is and will always be thoughtless and selfish. He will prove it to his kids over and over until they lose all respect for him ...just like the public has. When you cheat on your job and your wife, your true colors have been shown. What a hypocrite!

    December 11, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. Leslie R.

    I am sorry to see the ending of a marriage any time. However, I am glad to see a strong woman stand up for herself and her children. Her boys will look back on her one day and see that she as strong as she was for them. She does have a lot of class. Way to go!

    December 11, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. kll

    Let those who are without sin cast the first stone.

    December 11, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. no longer a democrat

    Jenny Sanford for President !!!!

    She's got my vote.

    The real victims are the children.

    December 11, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. Karen

    Best of luck to Mrs. Sanford and her boys. They all deserve so much more than Gov. Sanford.

    December 11, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Fred the Moderate

    I wondered if he was continuing his heathen ways. Appearently he is. I guess that family values thing was just another lie!

    The GOP idea, contract with America and above reproach symbol is gone.

    I'm glad they didn't impeach him. He is a poster child for the hypocracy of the GOP along with the rest and will aid the Democrates in fund raising and elected officials

    December 11, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. amy

    Who in their right mind would stay with Mark Sanford? And SC is one messed up state to think it's ok for Sanford to continue governing their state.

    December 11, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. Drew

    They should have impeached him so he can go to be with his soul mate, if she wants him now.

    December 11, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. Patriot Games

    At one point Governor Sanford said that he should be judged on whether or not he saved his marriage.


    December 11, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. Dodie - CA

    Once the trust is broken in a marriage, it is next to impossible to recapture it. She would end up monitoring his behavior and lose her identity. At this point, it is best to more forward individually.

    December 11, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. Pyramid6

    Write him off Jenny,
    because without your $$$$
    What will Mark do ?
    Her finance made him, who he is today
    So watch out wealthy young heiress'
    Mark is back in play !

    December 11, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. hongli

    A typical republican family way of life.

    December 11, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. ashley

    This is the best Christmas gift Jenny could give herself!!! You go girl!!

    December 11, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. jaime facchino

    yes of course, democrates aren't corrupt and do ANYTHING illegal... nope democrates, all of them, are perfect angels and rebulicans, all of them, are devils.... so glad i figured this out from people's comments. i feel so enlightened.

    December 11, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. Naldo

    I'm puzzled that GOP elites aren't trying to keep her married to the Gov. Doesn't the GOP want to outlaw divorce in every state? Doesn't the GOP want everyone to swear by marriage so every politician can cheat endlessly and still keep his wife at his side for campaigning...?

    December 11, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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