December 11th, 2009
04:28 PM ET
6 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. Sniffit

    "Palin on Obama speech: 'I liked what he said'"

    Note to Palin: We still think you're an idiot.

    PS: No, we don't believe for a second that Obama can be compared to Bush.

    December 11, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  2. Joanne65

    I give her credit. Unlike Hillary who suffered humilitation with Bill's affairs with the whole world knowing just for politics and power. He cheated once he will do it again.

    December 11, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. Carolyn

    You don't need him. He's a jerk and you are too classy for the likes of him.

    December 11, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. Sniffit

    "Palin on Obama speech: 'I liked what he said'"

    Note to Palin: We still think you're an idiot.

    PS: No, we don't believe for a second that Obama can be compared to Bush on his war policies or decisions just because you and Newtered have complimented him.

    December 11, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. Jennifer

    Good for her! Finally a woman with backbone that says this is not acceptable! Her boys will learn that a wife is not a doormat and there are consequences for betrayal. Well done!

    December 11, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. Jeana

    Good luck to you. Glad you are doing what is best for you and your boys. They need a better role model.

    December 11, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. barbara kramar

    congratulations for your decision. I know it had to be a hard decision to make,but down deep it was a necessary one. I'm a divorced woman for
    many years and I remember when I made my decision. There was a period of time I had an empty feeling but moving on with daily everyday
    life and family that passed and things got better. You appear to be a strong person, you had a career and can always start another. So,good
    luck for you and your family.

    December 11, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. Jim

    good, i say. she deserves better.

    December 11, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. gary davis Harbor Oregon proud american

    any anyone cares ?
    so get the divorce and do something

    December 11, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Boston Guy

    Just another bunch of Republican hypocrites always saying they must protect the traditional "Marriage" having affairs and getting divorced. The divorce rate of couples within the "Church" is higher than any other group and yet they preach they are morally better than everyone else. What a bunch of losers!!!!

    December 11, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. Phil

    How can you blame her? She should actually be given kudos for not being just another good wife so she can either save face or continue to ride the gravy train. He cheated, he loses. Simple as that. Now I don't think all the impeachment talk should have been initiated for his affair though. You've got real criminals in Congress and they do nothing but reward them with higher posts (i.e. Charlie Rangle), so I don't think he should have been made an example of.

    December 11, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Bertina

    This proves that Jenny Sanford is far classier than the Republicans in the state senate.

    December 11, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. A. Goodwin

    Smart woman and a good role model to others. Jenny – life is too short to stay in a dead end relationship. You have many hapy years ahead – I wish you all the best.

    December 11, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    Well, yeah!

    December 11, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  15. Francis Marion

    Jenny is one of the few in South Carolina who exhibit common sense in dealing with the governor.

    December 11, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  16. Fed Up

    Good for you, Mrs. Sandford. At least there's one political wife out there who is not out for only fame and glory.

    December 11, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  17. Donkey Party

    Knowing how the right loves to capitalize on their "moral authority", I predict both Sanfords will be out peddaling books they wrote about their break-up within a year.

    December 11, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  18. Wydok

    That's sad.

    December 11, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  19. GIBBS

    bet mr stanford and mr. woods are going to become good friends!

    December 11, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  20. Susan

    This is one cool lady. For once, we see a woman, strong and confident, taking the lead in her family where the male/husband/father so pathetically failed. Best of everything to this woman. Perhaps she'll replace him as governor and give the people of South Carolina an adult instead of an adolescent leading their state.

    December 11, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  21. Fred

    Good for you Jenny.
    That guy is a slime bag and can be replaced in a New York minute

    December 11, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  22. kim barres

    Good for her!!!!!!

    December 11, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  23. Reagan was wrong

    The GOP: the party of morals and family values.

    December 11, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  24. Selena

    It's about time as you have suffered long enough

    December 11, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. Kitchen Police

    Her husband is a lizard brain.

    December 11, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
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