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. Finally

    About time. The marriage was over when he said his mistress was his "soul mate". How could you repair a marriage with that statement?

    December 11, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. Of course

    Good for her!

    Too bad he was not found guilty of wrong doing. Only some are made an example of totally loosing their careers and credibility while others make millions writing books and continue on with their careers. Some actually have served time, but because they are of the priviledged race, they are still looked upon favorably and are able to continue their careers or even create new ones.

    December 11, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  3. Laura Kotting

    I sure hope Elin Woods does the same thing. And John Ensign's wife as well.

    December 11, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Sandra Stroup

    This is quite a women, and I'm glad that she is doing what she has to do. There is something wrong with her husband Mark. He surly should of known better than this. I think he is in need of some mental counseling. This is not normal, Who the hell does he think he is. He needs to be tarred and feather and beaten all the way down Main Street with a CANE....

    December 11, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. stwebb

    What took so long???

    December 11, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Derek Nixson

    Unfortunate that it ends in divorce, but help me understand the Republican party's tough stance on defining marriage and protecting that definition?
    Seems they should be fighting to ban divorce since it seems to be such a common occurrence.
    The ritual and sanctity of marriage has been made a farce, I seriously don't know why people are so up in arms about defending who can marry who when it's so easy to dissolve with a divorce.

    December 11, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. Lee

    Good for her.

    December 11, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. ao

    Good for you Sister!! Kick him to the curb!!!

    December 11, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. Agatha Tran

    Good for her. It would be extremely hard to reconcile after your husband said he had met his "soul mate"

    December 11, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. Vincent Petrosino

    Good for Jenny! Women get it and men need to learn it. Now all South Carolina has to do is impeach him and the story is over!

    December 11, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. JC in SC

    I am so sorry, but not surprised. This is very sad, but nothing left to be done. It would be very difficult for Jenny to overcome the statements he made privately, much less publicly, about the woman in Argentina with whom he is having an affair. I think when he leaves his job next year, he'll be moving south.

    December 11, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. Ali

    Good for her. I'm so sick of wives of politicians who have been screwed, very publicly – usually multiple times – who stand there with their husbands patting them on the back at their 'apology' press conferences. Finally, a strong woman who is standing up for herself and her family.

    December 11, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. FAYE, NV

    Jenny you have every right to decide what is best for you and the boys. It's your choice and by all means don't feel as thou you've let anyone down.

    I am glad to see women/men to let the world know this adultrous lifestyle is unacceptable and will not be tolorated. And people can chose to stay or leave.

    You have my support.

    December 11, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. So cal

    Wow! I'm impressed... no stand by your man baloney? I'm sure this is difficult, but she will be better off for having done this....

    December 11, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. Nick San Diego

    Good for you Jenny. What a peice of work your soon to be X is..
    Now it;s time for Tiger Woods wife to do the same.
    These 2 did more than a one time CASUAL fling.

    December 11, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. kentucky

    took her long enougn

    December 11, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. Sherry

    I'm the victim of my ex's infidelity - we did divorce and we have two sons. After family thereapy, my sons and I are doing fine. Therapy is so beneficial to all parties, especially children, though they may not act upon some of their benefits until later in life (as it is with my sons). They are able to confront their father without hesitation (though respectful - more than I can say for his actions). When you play, you pay - and the price is steep, especially if there are children involved. I don't blame Ms. Sanford - the trust is gone. Divorcing this type of person was the best thing I ever did and any person (man or woman) going through these types of situations don't have to tolerate it – unless you want to.

    December 11, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. Bridget "family values" Republicans can devalue marriage by getting divorces, but my friends who have been together 30 years can't get married because they are gay and their committed relationship would somehow devalue marriage. Whatever.

    December 11, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. quickphil1943

    Good, now he can be with the woman that he loves.

    December 11, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Good, leave the bum!

    December 11, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. Ann Mitchell

    Please forgive the misspelled words!!! Mrs Sanford! I wrote in haste.

    December 11, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. Rob V.

    As a South Carolina resident I must say this sad story doesn't surprise me. This state pretends to be so "conservative" that there is a church on every corner yet people of different colors still don't worship together. This state is so conservative that the local grocery stores devote more shelf space to beer, and wine than they do to beef and chicken... and our conservative governor is so "driven" by his morals that he couldn't in good faith take the federal stimulus money... but he can in good faith abandon his post, and family to go have some fun. Wow.

    December 11, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. Dan

    This is really sad, particularly for their four boys. I feel badly for her, and she seems to have given him every opportunity to cut off his relationship and get it together. She was way more forgiving than most women would be.

    The Argentine woman must really be hot because Jenny is a very attractive woman.

    December 11, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. bill

    Good for her. She deserves better than that embarassing creep.

    December 11, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  25. Republican Against Mark Sanford

    Good for her! Dump that loser scumbag! Go Jenny

    December 11, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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