December 11th, 2009
04:28 PM ET
3 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.

-#####-

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. Chicago 11

    Good for her!

    Now – can they just go away and neither issue any more statements? Let's hear it for silence from the Sanfords!

    December 11, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Lata in canada

    Whether it is Mark Sanford or Tiger Woods, these men with the countless money think that they can have best of both worlds....

    Hats of to Mrs. Jenny Sanford for taking this bold step and I wish her very best for her and her children.

    December 11, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. Hypocrisy

    My heart goes out to the Sanford family, and hopefully this will be a hard slap in the face for Gov. Sanford to face reality. With that being said, and while I have a great deal of respect for Mrs. Sanford, I've had some issue with the the persona she is trying to put up as this Mother Theresa who suffered though this marriage. I'm not trying to make a criminal out of a victim, but I seriously doubt that she was blindsided by all of this; she knew what time of man he was. While I have a great deal of pity for women like Mrs. Sanford, Rihanna, and now Tiger Woods' wife, at the same time I don't feel too sorry for women who take this type of abuse and then try to cash in on it. I'm really not interested in hearing your "I'm a Survivor" story on 20/20 and a Lifetime movie if you put up with this for years and years.

    December 11, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. Allen Robertson

    A prime example of Republican family values. Limbraugh, take note.

    December 11, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Tony

    As a man, I am proud of you, for stading firm on your commitment to yourself and children, as opposed to aimlessly standing by your man as others have done ... and I say that while respecting your stated openness to reconciliation. I wish you and your boys well, at least they still have you as a strong role model.

    December 11, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. b.ky

    Holy cow democrats or Liberals or what ever you call yourselves. You dont have the market cornered on fidelity in office, BIll Clinton any one?????

    I do agree that neither the GOP nor the DEM have clain to a "Family Values, holier than thou" attitude. The failings of powerful men are notorious, historical, and without prejuduce to party affiliation.

    The fact is that all men have the same genes with the same propensity to stray. Let us not forget all these women are also engaging in these acts knowing they are destroying a family and ultimately the man they are pursuing. The measure of any man's or woman's character is their ability to CHOOSE to remain faithful.

    December 11, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. Hypocrisy

    While I have a great deal of respect for Mrs. Sanford, I've had some issue with the the persona she is trying to put up as this Mother Theresa who suffered though this marriage. I'm not trying to make a criminal out of a victim, but I seriously doubt that she was blindsided by all of this; she knew what time of man he was. While I have a great deal of pity for women like Mrs. Sanford, Rihanna, and now Tiger Woods' wife, at the same time I don't feel too sorry for women who take this type of abuse and then try to cash in on it. I'm really not interested in hearing your "I'm a Survivor" story on 20/20 and a Lifetime movie if you put up with this for years and years. No one cares when Joe and Mrs. Schmoe gets a divorce, so why should I care about the Sanfords?

    December 11, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. Kudos, Now Keep Moving Forward

    I'm glad she's leaving the bum and I wish her the best. I also wish the best for her 4 boys. She has her work cut out for her. She now has to raise them NOT to be like their Dad.

    I hope one of those boys will have the guts to stand up to him someday and tell him what a complete FOOL he made of himself, and then kick him to the curb. He would not be able to touch his grandkids, if it were me.

    Keep moving forward Jenny, because your husband is a bum.

    December 11, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. Steve (the real one)

    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.
    -------------------------
    1. This is personal , not political
    2. You gave but one example yet broad brush two entire political parties based on a single example.
    3. I am not a democrat and I never divorced! My one example just proved yours invalid!

    December 11, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. Debbie

    sniffitt, he brought it on himself. the worst part is the taxpayers were paying for his tryst.

    December 11, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Makay

    Mark was lost, he fell headlong in love with the Argentinian newscaster.. Love is blind and he let the chips fall where they did. This is the modern day Romeo and Juliet story, Kind Edward VII gave up his throne for love. We all live and learn, a real teachable moment.

    December 11, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Glenn

    As a husband, I've been on the other side of this...having a cheating wife who found her soulmate, was having the best sex she ever had, etc....and it's not a good time for any marriage. In our case, we lived separate lives for several years, until I finally said, 'Enough is enough, we've both had enough time to know what we want, so let's just get divorced' she changed her mind, we reconciled and we're doing pretty well together. But at some point, you do have to cut your losses if your spouse cant recommit to the marriage and it's vows...remember those? If not, there is no choice but to protect oneself, even if its just from STDs. And yes, we are both conservative, 'Christian' people, and I am ashamed of both ourselves and the entire 'conservative/christian' right....we deserve to have some democrats show the way and lead the country.

    December 11, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. Sally Penso

    It's good to see how a strong women reacts to this situation. What we are witnessing currently with Tiger Woods, John Edwards, etc. is heartbreaking for women who watch women publicly denegrated by "heros" and "respectable" men. These men want public adulation, but don't want to pay the price when they are caught cheating.l

    December 11, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. Pat, GA

    Jenny you are doing the right thing, your husband no longer deserves you. He is lucked out, God will help you get through this difficult time.

    December 11, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. Loulou

    Governor,
    You will soon be a free man. At least, you are true to yourself and your feelings. Do your job that the people trusted you with and go for the love of your life.
    Best wishes to you in this season of Love and Peace.

    December 11, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. simbuc

    What's with all these 'strong woman' remarks. The guy cheated and it is up to Jenny to forgive or divorce him for transgressing but injecting feminist comment of strong woman is what has messed up society. Same thing applies if she was caught in the same act. Weak or strong, it is within the offended person's rights to forgive or kick the offender to the curb. It cuts both ways!

    December 11, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. Polly

    You all in other states think you sre sick of this story? Try living in the heart of it! Good for you Jenny! And for everyone who said for her to take him for all he has, its hers to begin with, always was!

    December 11, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. JSB

    It is refreshing to see a strong educated woman with class and dignity. She made the right decision. While individual circumstances may vary, I have little respect for women who will put up with philandering husbands.

    As an aside, I find it amusing and hypocritical how so many self-proclaimed Democrats tar all Republicans with the same brush. How quickly they forget the many years of womanizing by former President Bill Clinton, which culminated in Oval Office blow-jobs with Monica Lewinsky. I lost all respect for both him and for Hillary over that one.

    December 11, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. aneanderthal

    Amazing how liberals can turn a personal tradgedy in to an opportunity to bash republicans. If you note Sanford took full responsibility and didn't use race or "somebody out to get me" like the liberals do. Their ugly responses to this situation is why they and their lying, theiving leader, Hussein Obama, will begin falling like rocks tossed off a cliff next November.

    December 11, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  20. Mike in Memphis

    Jenny, you gave him multiple chances to shape up, but the only person he would meet halfway was apparently his mistress. You–and all women–deserve better than that.

    Kick him to the curb and take him to the cleaner.

    December 11, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. Abel

    Just another Republican's case what would else be expected.

    December 11, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. Independent voter

    This is not about GOP or Dems. Neither is it about finding a soulmate, remember this man admitted to "crossing the line with other women."

    It is about these powerful men–Sanford, Jordan, Woods-who believe that their talent or careers cancels out any need to govern their bodily lusts.

    Mark Sanford abandoned his sons (on Father's Day) and went AWOL on the state of South Carolina so that he can enjoy a few days of illicit sex with his mistress. Then he waxes pathetically on national tv like a lovesick teenager about finding a "soulmate." No thought for the emotional nightmare he is causing his young sons. He is a moral crustacean of the lowest form, and Jenny Sanford has four young boys to raise without adding a 49 year old to juvenile to her list of responsibilities.

    Pathetic fool.

    December 11, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. angelika bertrand

    I hope she takes all the money with her . I do not understand why men in powerful position in this land, can't seem to keep their pants and zippers closed, when they are in a committed, relationship? What makes them so different from other married folks? I do not understand, that those who are in an extra marrital affair, especially the women, would live in such relationship, knowing that the men they are tangling with , is married? Do people not have any shame any more? It's is disgusting.
    I hope she will get everything and that he will be dirt poor that bastard

    December 11, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. Mercedes

    Good for you! It will be a excellent example to so many many many women that stand by their husband, man, etc... for reasons that aren't worth it. Enjoy your soon to be single life (freedom) and just sit back and take a deep breath. You haven't lost anything if anyone one did it is you husband. You are a woman that will be able to stand on your own two feet and you children will respect and admire you for it. Good Luck and God bless you!!!!!

    December 11, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. SLP

    Henry in WV,

    You are a moron.

    December 11, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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