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. Lou

    Good for you Jenny! You'll do just fine on your own without that scumbag.

    December 11, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. TM in CO

    Bout time..................Any man in his position that can sit there and continue as the head of any state after what he has done should be ashamed of themselves.

    December 11, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  3. Marshall

    Really...who cares. How about real news?

    December 11, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. dak

    Good for her . . . . even though divorce is hard, sometimes it's the best option and it appears that Ms. Sanford has reached her decision. Now, if only the people of South Carolina would follow her example and also "divorce" this loser, the state might be better off too.

    December 11, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. Jefe

    Thank God, at least there's one strong, intelligent woman who married a politician. Too many examples of feeble, weak women who stand by their philandering husbands, then try to stand as an example for women. Sorry, but doormat women is not what our nation needs. Good for you, Jenny!

    December 11, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Sue

    What is it with all the powerful men in this world that they can't be true to the person they committed to in the sacrament of marriage.

    December 11, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. Padraig

    This is ridiculous, there are two things wrong here. The first is why is this headline news? The second is reading these ridiculous comments from your posters.

    December 11, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Gary, Los Angeles

    To have and to hold, from this day forward, in sickness and in health, til death do us part. Need I say more?

    December 11, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. RON

    Good for her as this guy is another republican freak.

    December 11, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. maude

    Mark Sanford is a Typical Republican Hypocrite....Good for you, Jenny, take the creep for everything you can, and don't look back. The big "love affair has probably cooled off considerably by now. What a jerk.

    December 11, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Emma

    Good for her. It is time she keeps her dignity and the respect of her children. Jenny knew it was over when she left the Governor's mansion.

    Good luck to her and her children. They deserve better!

    December 11, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Francis A. Bell

    I have always maintained that public figures have an obligation to conduct themselves above reproach. If they choose to conduct themselves otherwise then they should step down from public office. I feel that the Sanford family should iron out their problems privately and not in the public arena. Ms. Sanford and sons deserve our best wishes as well as our morale support in this time of great stress to their family. Governor Sanford, on the other hand, deserves to be flogged for destroying his own family and betraying the trust of his friends and the citizens of South Carolina.

    December 11, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  13. Trixie

    Bravo, Jenny!

    December 11, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. Fair is Fair

    Really happy to see this woman dump that dirtbag and salvage her dignity. Good for you, Jenny!

    December 11, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. Bob 139

    Well, DUH! Listen to Sanford's own statements – he still has the hots for the other woman.

    Can we finally put to rest all this crap about family values, and how the Republicans "own" that issue. The more they preach, the more tainted they tend to actually be (Sanford, Gingrich, Ensign, Coburn).

    December 11, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. Jim

    I think it's sad he felt the need to go outside the marriage to find what he needed. But, he should have known that there would be consequences. Ann Mitchell mentions the breakdown of marriage in her posts, and I think it's worthwhile to note that this is the real threat to marriage. Infidelity, divorce, and the ease with which some people exercise their divorce options are a real threat to the institute of marriage. But people will continue to point to homosexual marriage as a threat. Let me tell you, some of the most commited relationships I have ever witnessed are between homosexual couples.

    With that said, Mrs. Sandford, I wish you all the best, and hope that you can find happiness. And Mr. Sandford, I hope that you can get help for what is obviously an impulse control problem.

    December 11, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. CNN afraid of a liberal post

    Guess she's got more sense than the SC state government. But then republicans love crooked corrupt politicians, else why would there be so many.

    December 11, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Joe - Wilmington, DE

    The immature, self-centered, disrespectful, disloyal, lying pig is getting what he deserves. I hope the soon-to-be ex Mrs. Sanford takes him for everything.

    December 11, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. once upon a horse

    FINALLY a woman in the spotlight that's no longer willing to "stand by her man" after he's treated her so wrong. Are you listening Mrs. Tiger Woods?

    December 11, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. RichP the Pocono's

    About time, why did you wait for so long.

    December 11, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. Nice

    Good luck and congratulations on having the courage to take this step.May you inspire lot of long suffering women all over the world.May you rise like a star and be rewarded on this earth. Your character and integrity through the whole saga is so commendable

    December 11, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Jim

    She has much more courage than the legislators of South Carolina. Her actions are understandable. What is unfathomable is how this governor does not have the decency to resign, and worse, why legislators appear unable to do their constitutional duty.

    December 11, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. Terry - Indiana

    May she find her soul mate.

    December 11, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. RCTNYC

    She was the smart one; she made his career; now he's done.

    Adios, Amigo - and smart move, Jenny. Next time, choose a Democrat; we grow up.

    December 11, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. elizabeth1915

    It is so very sad when peoples' lives are played out in public. I truly feel sorry for this mother of four sons. These adulterous men do not realize the scars thye place on their children. It doesn't matter the money they may have, moral decency is what really stabelize children. I trust that Mrs. Sanford will recover via counseling to continue to train the boys to be morally productive men of our society. God bless her, as she struggles to get her life together.
    Oh these chearing spouses, may God have mercy on them. Mark needs some serous psychotherapy. His behavior is disgusting.

    December 11, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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