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. B

    Good for her !!

    That jerk should be on the street!

    December 11, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Bill of Florida

    I'm an evangelical Christian, but I see no problem with Jenny divorcing Sanford. He is a cheater and a liar, and he's not likely to change his stripes. Yes, God hates divorce, but He allows for it. Divorce does not go against the Bible for the reasons that Jenny Sanford is giving. In fact, I think it's supported by the Bible. Let him live with the consequences of his lecherous behavior. Oh, and I do not think we have the right to legislate our morality on others, so this is just another reason. Those who want to legislate their morality on the USA can't even abide by their own principles. Mark Sanford is only the tip of the iceberg. It would be better if we just lived our faith instead of trying to make others live it for us.

    December 11, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. mjm

    Yeah...don't see this one working out.

    Hey didn't Edwards have an affair? How 'bout Clinton? The way you libs carry on you'd think not.

    December 11, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. Tony in Maine

    This is not something to celebrate.

    I'm not saying her action isn't justified, it is. But divorce is very difficult for everyone involved. I do wish that civility would show itself once in a while. everyone trying to outBeck Beck gets old.

    December 11, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. Jude

    Way to go Jenny! She really tried where most would have given up and she does not need this abusive loser to succeed in life. This accomplished woman put her own goals on the back-burner to support her husband's political aspirations. As an investment banker, I am certain she will stand up just fine on her own.

    Now the people of South Carolina need to follow Jenny's cue and divorce this creep from the high position her does not deserve.

    December 11, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. quickphil1943

    How does falling in love with another woman betray one's constituancy? How does it, on its face, make him a bad gov?

    As for the effect of this divorce on the kids, well staying in a bad marriage would be worse. Kids are tough, divorce is a part of the social landscape.

    As for staying in a bad marriage for the "sake of the kids" is BS. I watched my Mother do it and the only thing it accomplished was that it made everyone miserable.

    December 11, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. Gary in PA

    My parents stayed together for the sake of us children and it was horrible. Best of luck to Jenny Sanford and her children in their new lives! It will be tough for awhile, but then the rewards will start coming.

    December 11, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  8. mjm

    "Democrats also violate marriage vows, but Republicans make their political bones on "family values" expressions that often are followed by disappointment and hypocrisy."

    Apparently Dave here seems to think all Republicans are social conservatives. That's just not the case. Libs can't seem to tell the difference between social and fiscal republicans so they lump them all in as one.

    Personally, I could care less that they are getting a divorce.

    December 11, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Helen

    As a young woman, it makes me proud to see a woman in her shoes stand up for herself. I wish her and her sons the best and may brighter futures await for both of them.

    December 11, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. k

    Let this be a good example set for Tiger Woods' wife. Way to go !!!!

    December 11, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Will Sanford be using state money to pay for his divorce too? After all, he used government money to pay for the trysts with his mistress in Buenos aires...until he was caught. Sanford is just typical of the conservaitive family value hypocrites who inhabit the leadership of the Republican party. Do as I preach...not as I do! Larry Craig and his airport restroom toe tapping, John Ensign and the bribes paid to his chief of staff for bedding the man's wife, Mark Foley's lurid e-mails to young Capitol Hill pages, Newt Gingrich cheating on wife #1 with his secretary (later wife #2) while impeaching Clinton for the very same thing...the list goes on and on. Say what you want about the Dems...but they do tend to stay out of other people's bedrooms and not preach a holier than thou sermonette as part of party ideology...

    December 11, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. Marie Laveaux

    I hope she and her sons will be able to go on with their lives and be happy. What that creep put them through publically is criminal, and I hope he pays for it dearly in the settlement, although money cannot mend broken hearts. She's got my admiration for just trying for a recogcilliation, after hearing him tell the world he was "trying to fall in love with his wife again."

    December 11, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. mjm

    Hey libs....why didn't Hillary file for divorce? Stand by your sham?

    December 11, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. Rick

    The lady has class. I am available if she wants to be a cougar.

    December 11, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  15. Phyl

    Good for her. I'm glad she's moving on -some of these other ladies that have been cheated on should take a hint. Get out, while the getting is good.

    December 11, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. Carolina Class

    His remark about his lady-friend being his 'Soul Mate' was enough for
    any wife to start the paper work on a divorce. How insensitive! Few
    remarks could hurt a wife as much as that one must have.

    December 11, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. Judy

    Finally I can be proud of a woman in Jenny's position, one who doesn't allow herself to be used and abused, but has enough self respect to want better. Good for you, Jenny!
    A GOP friend

    December 11, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. j williamson

    My sympathies to Mrs. Sanford. Divorce is painful enough, but a public one must be especially difficult. I hope she can quietly and quickly move on with her life.

    December 11, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. Objective Thinking

    Awesome... so this foxy lady's going to be single soon... *rubs hands together*

    December 11, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Deb

    Not making excuses for Sandford's behaviour and would hope I never have to endure such humiliation as his wife did – is the question whether we put our officials/athletes/stars on pedestals and expect perfection? Or is it that they become over ambitious/powerful/wealthy that nothing is out of reach ? We hear of too many of these situations and the majority leads to divorce as the wives are too embarrassed after all the media coverage and scrutiny. At the end of he day whatever makes them happy – there are consequences in life -what goes around comes around.

    December 11, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  21. Sea.gem

    Good for up...Tiger.

    December 11, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. Marsha

    Ms. Sanford, My hat's off to you. Well done.

    Soon to be Ex , Thumper's said it best. "If you can't say something nice... don't say nothing at all".

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

    Now that Tiger Woods, a black man, has committed adultery, should we make a statement about the kinds of family values that black men have? I think I'd be lynched as a racist if I made such a statement. Because, fundamentally, one of the reasons racism is so offensive is because it assumes that all individuals within a defined group are alike in character.

    Is it different to level an indictment at Republicans, or Democrats, because individual members violate private and public trust through infidelity?

    December 11, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. evidence pleez

    To Wow:

    how EASY it must be to just point at someone with different views than your own, yes? What an uninformed generalization! and not to mention, it stinks of ugly bias. Until I read your words, I didn't have anything against you for being a conservative. and your words....seems that what you accuse liberals of is Exactly what you are doing! blind much?!?!?!?

    December 11, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  25. Lil in Louisiana

    Let those who are without sin cast the first stone.

    December 11, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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