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.

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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. Ruty

    Finally a woman with a "pair". Mark Sanford certainly dosen't have a pair. Way to go Jenny. What a great lady.

    December 11, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. Ellen

    Good for Jenny......I hate cheaters!

    December 11, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Dee

    That's sad. Forgiveness over trust failures are so hard to overcome. I've CAUSED a bunch of them in my lifetime and I regret it. I wish the Governor would get his act together, under God's direction, and do whatever needs to be done to restore this marriage. God can do it but the Governor can't. For the sake of family, I pray for this marriage to be healed.

    December 11, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. Eric

    Good for her....

    December 11, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  5. Diane

    I wish her the best as she raises her boys with honest values and morals, something they surely would not learn from their cheating, lying father. She has handled this situation with grace and dignity and I admire her for what she has done. She will be fine without that cheating dog in her life. God bless Jenny Sanford.

    December 11, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. Tyler

    He just lost the best thing he ever had....the past is the past, what's done is now over....forever. Stupid fool.

    December 11, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. Peezer

    Amen! I applaud Jenny Sanford. It's about time one of these wives left their unfaithful husbands. I am married to a man I love dearly – and as far as I know has been faithful – so my words do not come without much careful thought. Betrayal of a spouse/partner must be an awful, heartwrenching, painful experience. I hope I never know it. Bravo for her to have the strength to cut ties and forge a new future for herself. I'm sure her decision was not easy, but again, I applaud it. I wish her all the best.

    December 11, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. Man Who Loved Cat Dancing

    whoo-Hooooo,

    Way to go Jenny! Women, don't let the pigs off the hook! Preserve the Family is a bunch of hooey. The way to preserve the family is to get a cancer like him out of it. Men like him aren't going to change ever. And women like you need to let them know that you can't get away with it. Your kids are way better off having the example of a Mom who is a strong woman, all women are strong, and doing them wrong ain't going to cut it!!!

    Yay Jenny!!!!!!!! (this is coming from a middle-aged 20 year married male)

    December 11, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. Kara

    Mark danced with flames and got burned. Regret will soon set in.

    December 11, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  10. Steph

    I wish Jenny well. This had to be a very difficult decision.

    December 11, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. Ted

    If she were a decent wife he wouldn't have to cheat. But like most women I'm sure that once 'married with children' took over she decided that sex just wasn't something that she wanted much of anymore and expected her husband to spend the rest of his life miserable and/or begging for sex. If women are unwilling to uphold their 'love and cherish' vow I see no reason a man should have to uphold their 'forsake all others' vow.

    December 11, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. Laverne

    Finally, a wife with a brain and some dignity! Good for you Jenny soon to be not Sanford for taking your life back. After a man proclaims his love for his "soul mate" and mistress on national TV, how can you stay? He pretty much confirmed the marriage was over when he made such a statement.

    December 11, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  13. Man Who Loved Cat Dancing

    Are you listening, Mrs. Woods?

    December 11, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  14. Roger

    Good for her, makes me proud to call her our First Lady of SC. As for her tight wad husband hope he moves to Argentina...........

    December 11, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. Tiffany

    Oh my goodness. I am so glad for her. I feel she should have filed not only for her dignity , but for her sons. I can image how she had to consistently lie for her husband in order to keep her family (some what ) stable for the boys. I hope she moves on to greener pastures and keep her head high.

    December 11, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  16. Mike

    At least not everybody in SC is a right wing, forgiving, do as I say, not what I do NUMBSKULL.

    December 11, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  17. Midge from Ohio

    That is the best thing I have heard all day! He is worthless pond scum and you do not need him. Best of everything to you.

    December 11, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  18. KT

    I commend her for standing up for herself and her children. She seems like a classy lady – same can't be said for her soon-to-be Ex.

    December 11, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. Dutch/BadNewz, VA

    Smart move girl. Leave the bum.

    December 11, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. Obama-Mama

    Good for your Jenny these men are scandalous

    December 11, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  21. Jackie McGrady

    Jenny is a smart woman. I am so glad that she took matters in her own hands, and is not one of those "stand by your man" women. God bless you and your sons. You will do great in life.

    December 11, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  22. Widget

    Good for you! You go, girl!

    Make sure you get him for alimony and child support.

    December 11, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  23. so sad

    Sorry to read it. I wish you all peace in what is a difficult time, no doubt.

    December 11, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  24. Nathan,

    Nice to see one of these political jerks kicked to the curb. Now he can go to his "soulmate" in Argentina. Although I question whats wrong with anyone married to a Republican this woman shows that she has some self esteem and self worth. Too bad the state of South Carolina didn't think enough of itself to divorce this cad.

    December 11, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  25. Jaynicia

    Good for you, sweetie. You're braver than most who find themselves in this situation and I applaud you for having the guts to do what's best for you. When a husband announces to the world that his side piece is his "soulmate," there's no salvaging the marriage. He only wanted to reconcile with you to save his career. Good luck to you. You deserve better than that.

    December 11, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
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