Mark Sanford reflects on 'the valleys in life'
August 16th, 2011
02:06 PM ET
7 years ago

Mark Sanford reflects on 'the valleys in life'

(CNN) - Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said he could have been on the path to the White House had he not been involved in a scandal that derailed his rising political career two years ago.

"I don't know where my life would have gone, but it could well have been in the presidential mix just because I care deeply about these issues and I've long been talking about them," Sanford said Monday in a live interview on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

After disappearing on a trip unknown to his staff or family in the summer of 2009, the two-term Republican governor admitted he had gone to Argentina to see his mistress–a woman he called his "soul mate."

Months later, his wife, Jenny Sanford, was granted a divorce. And while the governor fought impeachment battles and received widespread pressure to step down from office, Sanford stayed until the end of his term this January.

Since leaving office, Sanford said he's largely stayed out of public life to spend time with his four sons.

"In the valleys in life, you do a whole lot more soul searching and thinking than when you're going from mountaintop to mountaintop," Sanford said.

He spoke candidly on the reactions from his close friends and family, who were disappointed in him but supported him through "the storm," he said.

And while he's still seeing the Argentinean woman with whom he had an affair, Maria Belen Chapur, Sanford didn't say whether there were any plans for marriage in the works. When asked about a potential wedding, Sanford simply responded: "We'll see."

“Would it be a nice ending to the saga for you?” Morgan asked.

“I think so,” Sanford said.

But the former governor repeatedly insisted he's learned several life lessons, not only in his marriage but also in judging others.

Sanford, who voted as a congressman to impeach former President Bill Clinton for lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, said he's no longer as quick to call foul.

"Now you look at things, and you say, by the grace of God, I'm going to worry about the log in my own eye before I worry about the splinter in somebody else's," Sanford said. "I've learned a lot about grace."

In terms of marriage advice, Sanford said he's gained a better understanding of what women need in a relationship.

"I didn't properly love my wife," Sanford said, "Fundamental to a woman-and I'm not trying to be a chauvinist, here-is a need for security, whether it's emotional or financial or a nest. And if she gets that, she's happy and playful and encouraging. If she doesn't get that, she can be some other things."

In return, men have a need for respect, and if a husband and wife can meet each other's needs, then "some really great things happen," Sanford said.

At the heart of it, Sanford said he blames himself for the failure of his marriage, but he's now a better person going forward.

"I probably have more to offer a human being than I've ever had in my life," Sanford said. "But I probably have a smaller canvas to paint on, and I accept that as a reality."

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.

Filed under: Mark Sanford • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    “In light of my own failures and in light of the reflection that’s come with it, I think it pales in comparison to the great calling for all of us, which is love God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself,” Sanford said.

    Talk about rationalizing! He still thinks what he did was OK. And the loving your neighbor as yourself: Does that mean he believes in social program spending?

    Or is he warning us to keep him away from our daughters and wives?

    August 15, 2011 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Parry dated his wife for 16 years before they got married; who does that?

    August 15, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. KC

    Well, at least he had the "love your neighbor" part down–what happened to her, anyway?

    August 15, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    Oh Lord – another fake christian crying in his beer. Spare me the pity party words.

    August 15, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  5. Larry L

    As a Democrat I'm forced to hold my elected officials to the same standard. He can't be trusted – even by his wife. Flush the feces.

    August 15, 2011 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  6. Dirk Wladon

    Question? How come these slugs bring 'GOD into their reflection on life when they are CAUGHT? Did he feel this sorry for himself when he was all the way down there in South America with his 'hoe? Didn't he confess his love to Ms Thang? End of Story!

    August 15, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  7. trex

    Mistake? I made mistakes like not carrying the 3 in a math class, or spelling spell with 2 p's, but lying your way for weeks as the leader of SC, ...that was once refered to by a SC Congressman as........."to small to be it's own country,...and too large to be an insane asylum"..............go ahead ...look it up

    August 15, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  8. Moe NY

    Hey Sanford...go take a hike, only this time for real. Do not want to hear your fake, as far as I am concerned, boo hoo, woe is me BS.

    August 15, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  9. Moe NY

    Again, I am in that crazy English PM bringing down free sppech after all? Just curious! If this one goes into moderation I believe it may be food for thought. Scary!

    August 15, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  10. 21k

    oh jeez. he's preparing a run for the white house, isn't he?

    August 15, 2011 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I'd not to like to hear from this turkey. If he really was an American favoring all things American, he would have cheated on his wife with another American.

    August 15, 2011 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  12. Former Republican

    I love how these GOP hypocrites always throw "GOD" into the mix.... After they get caught!

    August 15, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  13. Barbara j Westcott

    Met Mark in Habersham , close to Beaufort, several times. Glad to see him back on his feet and sharing great times with the boys. Hope to see the 5 of them at the Beaufort Twilight Run again. Barbara

    August 15, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  14. mike

    Why does anybody interview this looser? Or Gingrich, or Clinton, or all those other men who cheated on their wives?

    August 15, 2011 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  15. ja

    just shut up, you exact justice on others, that commit lesser crimes, any state trooper that would misused funds would be in jail, cnn please don't give him a news program

    August 15, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  16. Wanderer

    Mr. Sanford, if you can’t be true to yourself or don't know who you really are, you can never connect to anyone or anything. The only thing you think you have relationship with is your own imaginary God.

    August 15, 2011 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  17. LouAz

    Here it comes . . . Oh jeebus ! Forgive me ! I love you so much ! Hallelula !
    Please put whatever money you can in the BARRELS by the Exit Doors as you leave.
    Bless you all . . .
    (Hey, catch the Haboobs on that gal from Aridzona in the third row !)

    August 16, 2011 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  18. Noel Harshman

    It's always so nice when someone can just dismiss their actions by deciding all that matters in life is loving God and others. Did he mean others other than his wife? Because that's what seemed to happen. If he were truly repentant, it seems t.o me he would have totally severed his relationship with his bimbo. Oh, excuse me, soul mate. It's always easy to say nice things about the person you trashed in a relationship so others will think better of you. I'm not buying it. At least, he's not trying to get back into politics. Good news! He's only done a couple of interviews. And certainly that means nothing. And we have his word. Oh yeah. The word of someone who betrayed his wife and family and disappeared from work to be with his bim...darn....soul mate.

    August 16, 2011 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  19. Lori

    this is a joke, right!

    August 16, 2011 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  20. thomas

    Please !

    it's not all about you !

    August 16, 2011 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  21. neil

    Another repub hypocrite,what a shock.This sounds like a comeback try.Where do these dopes come from.If you are in the public eye you have to be circumspect.That's politics 101.

    August 16, 2011 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
  22. princess njoku

    lyf is full of mistakes nd no man can exceed it because it is within it shapens ur lyf nd helps u out

    August 16, 2011 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  23. Howard

    Clearly, this was a case of Sanford taking a biblical passage ("love your neighbor") much too literally. For all those who trumpet the Bible, it's interesting to note that passage Sanford quoted says absolutely nothing about loving your family and giving them priority in your life.

    August 16, 2011 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  24. checis

    Apparently God lives in Argentina.

    August 16, 2011 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  25. Switters

    Sanford, Gingrich, Vitters, Ensign, Perry – aren't they all part of the new "Adultery Party".......?

    August 16, 2011 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
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