December 11th, 2009
04:28 PM ET
8 months 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.

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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."

STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
MARK SANFORD, GOVERNOR

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."

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

    so much for the sanctity of marriage, eh?

    December 11, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. jan

    This lady is awesome! Can the dems please give it a rest on the GOP crap. Have you self-righteous prigs forgotten all about the womanizing Kennedies? Grow up, PLEASE!

    December 11, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Al-NY,NY

    Too bad the hypocritical GOP legislature will not act to remove this man. If a Democrat had done this, they'd have teh impeachment papers on the desk within hours because he is not of their pathetic ilk

    December 11, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Robert

    Good for her, and good for him too. Sometimes Divorce is in the best interest for both parties... This seems to be one of those cases. Feel sorry for the boys though.

    December 11, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Bill from Atlanta

    Character is not situational – if he cheated on his wife it's he is also a crooked politician. The details are between the two of them, but his service to the state of SC is a privilege and he should resign. Oh wait, he has no character so he is not going to do the right thing.

    December 11, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. TSK

    Sad yet nice. Sad to see any marriage ruined, but nice to see she's moving on. May she find somebody that truly appreciates her!

    December 11, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. fellow from chicago

    Adultry has no party affiliation. Just ask Mrs. Clinton or Edwards. I wish the media would leave people like this alone for the children's sake, but they don't and won't.

    December 11, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Liberty Queen

    Jenny Sanford, you are doing the right thing... for you and for your children.

    December 11, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. rainbowgirl

    Good for her–now it's Elin's turn.

    December 11, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. david, CA

    see, here's the thing about you diehard Mark Sanford defenders who are lashing out against criticism of your guy by pointing out "Dems do it too!"
    Yes ofcourse Dems do it too. The point is, Sanford is supposedly another of these "born-again Christians" who preach "sanctity of marriage" blah, blah, blah, but in the end lay bare the corruption of their own ideals.

    December 11, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    I wish her the best!

    December 11, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Greg

    I want Sanford removed from office and brought up on charges. He left the country without tellling his office. Sanford is a Class A pig.

    December 11, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Ariana, VA

    Go GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 11, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. Bert K.

    The people of South Carolina should follow her example. If a person's vows made to the most important person in their life is not honored, how could anyone believe that an oath of office would be?

    December 11, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. David Yount

    No, the GOP won't try to keep them married. Are you really serious? Life under a rock must be more interesting than reality.

    December 11, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. Hugo

    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!

    Gosh, maybe Jenny needs to have a one on one with Hillary. Hillary could reiterate how important it is to their bottom line to maintain the public appearance of having a marriage. Too funny how all the dumbocrat libtards pounce on this like white on rice when their libtard progressive give me some of what you worked for idols are such a bunch of bed bouncers!

    December 11, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. Tawny

    This actually makes me feel proud to be a South Carolinian. Finally someone who is doing something that MAKES SENSE.

    December 11, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  18. SLP

    Just to enlighten a few of you, there are biblical reasons that allow for divorce. Infidelity is one of them. It is obvious that Mrs. Sanford has tried everything that she knows to hold her marriage together and work through the problems that has plagued it. However, it takes two to stay married and sometimes all you can do is say that you have given it your best shot. I am sorry for every member of this family, especially the children who no longer have the security of an intact family.

    December 11, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. Malcolm in St Louis

    What is remarkable is that Republicans support the defense of marriage acts and use it to hammer gays etc.

    The biggest threats to marriage comes from old white guys philandering with young chicks.

    Shouldn't they be outlawing that? Or would that be a self inflicted wound?

    December 11, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. David

    For all those confused about why so many comments focus on the Republican identity of the governor, and other GOP sinners, let me explain.

    Democrats also violate marriage vows, but Republicans make their political bones on "family values" expressions that often are followed by disappointment and hypocrisy. Hence, they violate the very family values "rules" on which they base political campaigns. Democrats don't do that. Are we clear about that now?

    Finally, that Gov. Sanford left his four sons on Father's Day weekend to chase his lover is the most unforgivable transgression, worse than anything he did to his wife.

    December 11, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. proud dem in nc

    What took her so long? She should of dumped the scum bag last summer. Why try and reconcile? He 's not worth it. I wish her well.
    Another "family values" Republican. Republicans are such hypocrites.

    December 11, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. j

    She's going the right thing. Hope she takes him for all he's worth and then some. He's such a low life scum bag.

    Tiger Woods wife should do the same thing.

    December 11, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  23. Henry in WV

    Republicans look at Marriage like they do a BMW .It's a really nice accessory but not a neccessity.Democrats,onthe under hand,value Marriage as an institution.Want Proof?Governor Sanford screwed around and his wife divorced him.Obviously she doesn't value their marriage.Sec. of State Clinton starting in her days as First Lady of Arkansas dealt with the same situation.Her solution ,keep the Marriage intact.

    December 11, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. WoW

    Why is this political news for some of you liberals? Is the economy in SC going to get better or worse whether she divorces him or not? Are more people going to get jobs in SC whether she divorces him or not?

    Why do you care? You consistantly bash on any and all republicans for no reason whatsoever.

    Focus on politics and realize our unemployment rate is unacceptable.

    December 11, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. Diane

    If he is really in love with the Argentine woman, it's fair enough. Just let him stop spouting that holier-than-thou silliness.

    December 11, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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