December 11th, 2009
04:28 PM ET
11 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. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    This man owes this woman a lot, she apparently made the decision to wait until the State of S.C. made their decision to keep him as Governor. She's a class act and he should respect her at all costs, but he won't. Wouldn't be surprised if he and his Argentine soul mate have a child together and will resume their affair which probably never ended.

    December 11, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. Samuel

    God's blessings to both Mrs. Sanford and Gov. Sanford.

    December 11, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. jane smith

    Republicans claims that they have values and look at what this governor did!

    December 11, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. Kelly Lewis

    Mrs. Sanford has been blessed with enough healthy self-esteem to be able to make the most important decision of her marriage.....stop the bus, I want to get offf! Good for her & the mental health of their 4 boys who need to grow up with role models who respect the women they marry.

    December 11, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. God bless you

    may God bless you as you move forward in your life. I have wat ched you as you gracefully went through this painful process on a national stage. I saw how you shielded your boys from the media and the public at large. You did not stand by your husband as he totally humiliated his family. I admire your strength. Nothing is more important to you than your faith and your family. You are a smart woman and anyone would be blessed to have you as a spouse. Your husband is a total fool to lose you, I know he knows that now. May the blessings of God be upon you as you move to the let chapter of your life.

    December 11, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. Bevina

    He can now be with "the love of his life"....Jenny is doing the right thing. She does not need a liar and a cheat. Good riddance. Hope the "love of his life" is worth it. I hope he does the same thing to her.

    December 11, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. joy who love her President.

    good for her. As a woman, I am proud of her. The guy is a piece of work. I hope tiger's wife will do the same. Because that guy 'tiger' is a big jerk.

    December 11, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  8. aneanderthal

    Amazing, CNN has had more stoies about Mark Sanford, than the investigation of Charlie Rangel. Of course Sanford is a conservative republican, and Rangel is a liberal democrat, so the bias definitely shows.

    December 11, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. AB

    Jenny should run for Governor of South Carolina – she would do well.

    December 11, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. GI Joe

    Maybe the sleeze will go live with his girlfriend now.

    SC people are stupid to put republican hypocrits in office, and it's a shame this country gets stuck with the senators and representatives.

    Wake up SC

    December 11, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. Dennis

    Good for her

    December 11, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. LEON CHILDS

    On the adultery taht is wrong pure and simple, but my biggest complaint is this guy talked about taxes, passing them alone to future generations,and did not want to accept bailout money eventhough his state was feeling the brunt of the recession. Then what does he go and do abuse tax dollars for lavish trips to cheat on his wife. Its always funny how republicans try to teach restraint in spending and be the party of core family values and always does the opposite.

    December 11, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. venting_op

    Awesome! She deserves better. Now the people of SC need to vote that guy out.

    December 11, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. Kathy

    I am sorry for Mrs Sanford in that she has gone thru so much sadness and embarrassment due to her husband's actions – but proud of her for not letting her husband's position make her stay with someone who put his own lack of judgement before his wife and family. He doesn't deserve forgiveness. He deserves to experience all the embarrassment and loss that his wife and family have had to deal withsince he got caught! Too many high profile spouses choose to stay with men that don't care about the fact they have made their lives so tragic – it's nice to see one of them stand up and give the guy the boot.

    December 11, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. Carmela, Longwood, Florida

    Smart move.

    December 11, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. Dean

    well I guess he can run off with his soulmate now.

    December 11, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. GaPeech

    You go girl.

    If my husband had EVER babbled to the media about his "soul mate", and it was not ME he was talking about, I would kick him to the curb too.

    Clean his plow.

    December 11, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. Randi L.

    She frees his conscience to pursue his "soulmate". Now the legislature's impeachment committee should free up his time to chase Argentinian tail.

    December 11, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. M. Hagen

    My Sympathy Lies With Jenny Sanford. Mark Sanford Publicly Stated He Loved This Home Wrecker From Argentina. How Could Anyone Reconcile A Marriage Knowing Her Husband Loves Another Woman.
    Shame On Him. He Has Not Only Broken Up A Marriage But A Family. Perhaps Karma Will Run Its Course Fro Gov. Mark Sanford.

    December 11, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  20. dave

    A class act by a classy person. I saw her the other night being interviewed by Barbara Walters and continue to have an enormous amount of respect for her. This was definitely the right move for her and her boys. Wish her all the best in the world.

    December 11, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  21. Gia

    Good for Jenny! It's nice to FINALLY see the wife of a politician be truly strong and not "stand by her man" as a doormat, a la Spitzer's wife. Jenny Sanford is a role model for all women and girls.

    December 11, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. Sniffit

    "Jenny Sanford files for divorce"

    ...and the "news" media couldn't be happier about it.

    Bottom feeders.

    December 11, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. Jo

    Glad she took a stand!

    December 11, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  24. debi

    Jenny, YOU GO GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 11, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. T.G.

    My heart goes out to Jenny Sanford and her children. It has to be a painful decision for her to make. Just take in one day at a time. As for her husband, his job may have survived the affair, but his marriage wasn't so lucky.

    December 11, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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