December 11th, 2009
04:28 PM ET
9 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. Peddler

    Governor move on. Life is empty without Maria.
    This is What I Believe;
    I believe marriage is the death of passion, and Michael Jackson was innocent. I
    believe it’s nice to be nice and mean people suck, I believe there is no god and life
    after puberty is preparation and opportunity. I believe only
    wine gets better with age, that spell check, youtube and Barack Obama are
    indispensable and we all have “it” coming. I believe if you find someone you want for the rest of your life start the rest of your life as soon as possible you're gonna be dead a long time.

    December 11, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Larmie Fahrendorff

    Bless you Jenny, You're doing the right thing.

    December 11, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. jfc1

    "Why is this political news for some of you liberals?"

    Why do you care? LOL

    Why did you even read this article, not to mention the comments? :)

    December 11, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. kman821

    A terrific lady giving the well-deserved boot to a miserable excuse of a husband, father and man. I've wondered just what she ever saw in him ... as he's always come across as a very UN-impressive, phoney, hypocritical WAD to me. Maybe he got lost along the way???

    December 11, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    Good for Jenny. As I have said before, this woman shows a lot of class and strenght. I wish her and the boys well. I just hope the Gov. stays in their lives.

    Jenny, remember that the kids come first. Please do not make them pawns in you and your husbands situation. I have seen it too often.
    Oh...please call Tigers wife and give her some advice.

    Gov. You do yourself a disservice ignoring a true love. Just don't forget about your children.

    December 11, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. S Callahan ..make your life better read Psalm 51

    Mrs. Sanford, I am so sorry your marriage, it's imperfections, and the ugliness surfaced for you in the media. I pray for you. You have had a really tough road on this. May peace be found by you. God Bless.

    December 11, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. terry,va

    What took so long? Wonder who her soul mate is? Tiger's available.

    December 11, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. Greg in California

    If Gov. Sanford could just figure out how he is the victim in all of this then he could qualify as a Democrat. Next I expect my liberal friends to propose legislation to tax men who leave their wives – well . . . only if they are evil Republicans.

    December 11, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. Gth

    Very classy lady!! Stayed out of the media frenzy for the most part and gave statements only when it was needed.

    December 11, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. jfc1

    "Hats of to Mrs. Jenny Sanford for taking this bold step "

    ...oh, *real* bold, stay at home with her four boys waiting for her "errant" husband to get his crap together and hope for the best (certainly not more of the same, with some other woman), or go out and get a real life. I don't even see how she stayed with him for a *day* after that crap. Why even *bother* trying to make your marriage work with that clown?

    He did everything he could to desecrate the very concept. What do you owe either the idea of marriage or a man like him to try to make such a relationship work after what he did? Indeed you would do the concept of marriage a disservice by even taking him back. Everyone in the world would just think of you as someone stupid and crazy enough to take a guy like him back, while of course, all of your friends would be too polite to say that.

    December 11, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. Gary

    Now if you really want to make your life better, get the hell out of south Carolina.

    December 11, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. Scooter

    Brava, Jenny!!! Having been through divorce with 2 small children, I can empathize with the process with which you are now faced. But I'm guessing that you have a backbone of titanium and that your children know – without a doubt – that you love them. Frankly, I don't see that you have any other choice but this one. F_ _ _ that "stand by your man" thing! (Elin, are you listening??)

    December 11, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. MaryInBoise

    @ Greg–you said "Sanford is a Class A pig.". Don't insult the poor pigs! What did they ever do to you? ;)

    December 11, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. jfc1

    ...Mark Sanford is a man who literally, honestly thought that he could have his wife, her money, the governorship, his four kids AND a mistress in Argentina all at the same time, and fly back and forth to see her on state expense. With his wifes' permission! He actually ASKED HIS WIFE for permission to go down and see that woman after admitting that he had been down to see her on the sly several times over the past few years.

    December 11, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. meaner15

    Good for her! I hope that she find some sort of peace out of all of this. Good bless her and her children!!

    December 11, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. bg

    uh oh...this isnt a very "family values" or "Christian" thing to do. Another conservative hypocrite evangelical right winger exposed....again.

    December 11, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. freddy

    Good for mrs Sanford she is getting divorce...that way you will keep your dignity!...You are a very intelligent woman and you do not deserve this jerk Mark Sanford..he should resign but he wont because he only cares about his job and not his family...not dignity on him SHAME ON YOU MARK SANFORD

    December 11, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. Pat

    Now Gov. Sanford is free to go to Argentina and be with his Latin Lover, la señorita Chapur.

    December 11, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. DCW

    "Mrs. Jenny Sanford is doing more harm than she is doing good for her, the boys, her husband, and the people who enjoy being around her. There is no reason for her to get a divorce. She needs to forgive her husband and then come back to him. He has done all he needs to do, now it is up to her to reconcile herself to the fact that all is forgiven, it is under the blood of Jesus Christ who has forgiven the Governor of all of his sins."

    So does that mean that if your wife cheated on you and flew off to have an extramarital affair with some gentleman in another company and stated said gentleman was her 'soulmate' you'd consider that all she needs to do, forgive her, and realize that you need to reconcile yourself to the fact that all is forgiven in the name of Christ.

    I bet not.

    Good on Jenny Sanford for putting her family above public appearances. I hope her boys come out of this well, and know their mother's thinking of their welfare above everything else and they're better off not dealing with their father's transparent lies and selfishness.

    December 11, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. austin

    How has there been no coverage of the Norwegian Lights? The Russian Military denied that it was one of their rockets outright, so please, delve into this at least a modicum!

    December 11, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Bill Sampson

    Blah, blah, blah,... buy my book,... blah, blah, blah....

    December 11, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. Cindy Ferraro

    Way to go Jenny. You are the first "real" woman that has cross this media circus that stands up for what women the world over need to do. This idea of "standing by your man" stinks. I have hated Hillary Clinton since she stood by Bill, the gov of NY wife should be taken to therapy and learn how to respect herseld. Mrs. Tiger Woods needs to head for Swenden where perhaps she can meet a real man who respects women.
    JENNY, you are doing more for women's rights than any celebrity wife has done since I can remember. I respect you and know you will travel the rest of your life with your head high and many many women will FOLLOW you. Adultry does not "cut it" anymore. The only way to stop it is for more women like you to do what you are doing.
    Most sincerely,
    Cindy Ferraro
    Philadelphia, PA

    December 11, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. Really???

    To WoW: OK, you are right. Unemployment is really bad right now. GWB sure screwed this country up good. The deficit and national debt are both horrible too. Wish GWB hadn't been such a dunce and spent all that money trying to settle a personal vendetta in Iraq for his Dad. He didn't even get all the oil he hoped too, even with lying to the whole world about WMDs.

    But you're right, we should focus on these things, like the new administration is doing. Just trying to fix all the crap the last administration screwed up.

    December 11, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. Steve

    In the meantime, Sen Baucus gives his little sweetheart a $14000.00 pay raise at the taxpayers expense and not one word about it on CNN? Come on guys, at least try to pretend you're impartial.

    December 11, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. austin

    How has there been no coverage of the Norwegian Lights? The Russian Military denied that it was one of their rockets outright, so please, delve into this at least a modicum!

    And if it was a rocket, as seems to be the plea now, let's have them do it again... yes?

    December 11, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
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