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. freethinker

    Merry Christmas Mark

    December 11, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. bill

    Finally! A woman with self-esteem! Jenny, your husband is a weasel. You're doing the right thing.

    December 11, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. B Iyer

    What do you mean "ESTRANGED"? The article should've read "Wife of unfaithful, cheating governer".

    December 11, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. Carlos

    Good for her, now it would be funny if she changed her mind and ran against him for governor.

    December 11, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. dave

    good for you, lady. you can do so much better.

    December 11, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. Mary

    Good for her! Now let's see if Sanford marries his 'soulmate'! Or maybe his interest will fade now that he's a free man!

    December 11, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. T. Jo

    My dear Jenny....Been there, done that, and may I encourage you by saying that you and your boys will be ok. You have made the right decision, and God will be faithful to you. Love ya.

    December 11, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. Connie

    Good for her. I now live in Wyoming but lived in South Carolina for many years and can only say what are men thinking?

    December 11, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. Foreign affairs

    Apparently she has impeached him.

    December 11, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. LBW

    Good for her! Guess he wasn't able to make himself fall back in love with her. At least he has his soul mate.

    December 11, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. Ken in NC

    I guess now if the Gov. resigns his post he would be free to go back and hike or hump the Argentine trail or tail he was on earlier but for some reason I suspect the thrill of it all will not be the same. It is a shame that people of stature and not so much stature can't commit to one person.

    December 11, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. Nevada dude

    about time she dumped him, i only wish the state legislature had done the same.

    December 11, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Tracy

    Good for her. She was humiliated and embarrassed enough by her husband and his "soulmate". I hope she and their sons get through this difficult time ahead of them.

    December 11, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Debra

    Good for her! Once a cheat, always a cheat. How can you ever trust them again?

    December 11, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. Steve

    Perhaps Mr. Sanford will have his ties ended to the Christian group The Family. His hypocrisy and "high morals" are his political capital and now that is spent. He joins other illustrious folks like Newt "Serve Divorce Papers to Wife in the Hospital for Cancer" Gingrich (who followed that up by having an extramarital affair on wife number 2 with one of his pages and now current wife). With "leaders" like this that vote with their pants it is time we MoveOn and do better!

    December 11, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. Flex

    Good for her, but she should also apologize to the millions of gay people that she used as political pawns to facilitate republican homophobia for their political gain. She didn't have any credit pushing for gay marriage bans then, and she has negative credit now!

    Best wishes in your new life, Ms. Sanford!

    December 11, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. SAI

    Now that the inconvenient wife and kids, and the pesky attempt at impeachment are all behind him, the good governor of South Carolina can sit down and write his 'GOING AWOL' book a la Palin and see if that can be parlayed into a place on the 2012 GOP Presidential ticket – after all, prior to the outing of his divine romance, he was an anointed favorite of the right wingers! With his transgressions absolved, he should be ready to say – GOING AWOL.

    December 11, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. Luke Brown

    Obviously, she still loves him and wants to keep her family in tact ... but enough is enough. The guy is a Worm.

    December 11, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. Memphis Liberal

    "Mark Sanford told the Associated Press on Thursday that he still wanted to reconcile with his wife." He also told them he belives in Compassionate Conservatism, Santa Claus, that the Moon is made of Green Cheese, That George W. Bush didn't lie about our reasons for going to Iraq, that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, and that someday Lucy will let Charlie Brown kick the football.

    To say this man has a tenuous grip on reality is an understatement...

    December 11, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. montag24

    Good for her. Dump this loser.

    December 11, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  21. Mary

    Full marks to her for trying to work it out. Sometimes though, it's just not worth the effort. I wish the best for her and her children and hope that her ex will just stay out of the news.

    December 11, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. toni

    Good for her.

    December 11, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  23. ANGIE

    You go girl. You deserve better! he is such a loser and a liar.

    December 11, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  24. Dawn

    Mark Sanford needs to be removed from office, not because he committed adultery but because he abandoned the people in his state for sex. This man used state funds to pay for his trips to see the love of his life, if anyone else tried to use company money to pay for such trips they would have been fired from their job already. This guy is a joke and I can't believe that the GOP is allowing him to stay in office, I mean don't they consider themselves the moral party?

    December 11, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  25. robert l gray

    no republican has ever did anything wrong

    December 11, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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