June 24th, 2009
09:07 PM ET
13 years ago

Sanford's wife: He's earned a second chance

(CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's wife Jenny released a statement Wednesday afternoon.

Full text:

Statement from First Lady Jenny Sanford

I would like to start by saying I love my husband and I believe I have put forth every effort possible to be the best wife I can be during our almost twenty years of marriage. As well, for the last fifteen years my husband has been fully engaged in public service to the citizens and taxpayers of this state and I have faithfully supported him in those efforts to the best of my ability. I have been and remain proud of his accomplishments and his service to this state.

I personally believe that the greatest legacy I will leave behind in this world is not the job I held on Wall Street, or the campaigns I managed for Mark, or the work I have done as First Lady or even the philanthropic activities in which I have been routinely engaged. Instead, the greatest legacy I will leave in this world is the character of the children I, or we, leave behind. It is for that reason that I deeply regret the recent actions of my husband Mark, and their potential damage to our children.

I believe wholeheartedly in the sanctity, dignity and importance of the institution of marriage. I believe that has been consistently reflected in my actions. When I found out about my husband's infidelity I worked immediately to first seek reconciliation through forgiveness, and then to work diligently to repair our marriage. We reached a point where I felt it was important to look my sons in the eyes and maintain my dignity, self-respect, and my basic sense of right and wrong. I therefore asked my husband to leave two weeks ago.

This trial separation was agreed to with the goal of ultimately strengthening our marriage. During this short separation it was agreed that Mark would not contact us. I kept this separation quiet out of respect of his public office and reputation, and in hopes of keeping our children from just this type of public exposure. Because of this separation, I did not know where he was in the past week.

I believe enduring love is primarily a commitment and an act of will, and for a marriage to be successful, that commitment must be reciprocal. I believe Mark has earned a chance to resurrect our marriage.

Psalm 127 states that sons are a gift from the Lord and children a reward from Him. I will continue to pour my energy into raising our sons to be honorable young men. I remain willing to forgive Mark completely for his indiscretions and to welcome him back, in time, if he continues to work toward reconciliation with a true spirit of humility and repentance.

This is a very painful time for us and I would humbly request now that members of the media respect the privacy of my boys and me as we struggle together to continue on with our lives and as I seek the wisdom of Solomon, the strength and patience of Job and the grace of God in helping to heal my family.

Filed under: Mark Sanford
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Laura G.

    I agree with Tom.

    June 24, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. TJ

    It is one thing to have an affair with a co-worker or someone you can't help but see everyday.But this was an act of choice- to get on a plane and spend hours traveling to see her. I do not feel sorry for him nor do I believe what he says.He clearly made a choice to participate in this affair .If he really wanted to stop he did not have to get on the plane!He is a weak, weak, man.

    June 24, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. robert bock

    mrs sanford you are something special,you are what most people should be. thanks for the message it was great.

    June 24, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |

    He does not deserve you woman...throw him out and let your boys know the consequences of cheating.....HE DOES NOT DESERVE A FAMILY...worthless piece of trash...he probable saw men in his family do it and the women put up with it...its time to show the men the consequences of them bringing diseases home.

    June 24, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. Holly

    Mrs. Sanford, I admire your courage and forgiving heart. However, the people of South Carolina do not have that luxury. The hypocrisy, on his part, is stunning.

    June 24, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  6. Phil Smith

    Unimpressive, to be sure.

    June 24, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. Tim

    Unlike democrats who like to make excuses for their scumbag politicians caught with their pants down, I, as a republican, publicly ridicule this scumbag and my position is that he should step down and get out of politics. We don't need him or his kinds serving our country. I do impose my morality on others.

    He left his wife and children to be with another woman on fathers day. There is nothing less defining of a father than someone who would do this on fathers day, other than fathers who aren't around on any day. I want role models running our country, not poor soles who can't seem to commit to their family. I feel sorry for his kids, hopefully they are too young to understand. I feel horrible for his wife, she has to feel like zero if her husband would do this to her on fathers day. Obviously, he is the one that is a zero, with my appologies to his kids for saying so.

    June 24, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. Peggy

    Very nice message she wrote I think. She took some stabs but sounds like a very graceful, pleasant and honest person. Marriage is hard especially in the public eye. I hope she finds happiness.

    June 24, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. bill

    This lady, as well as the wife of Senator Ensign, has more class and dignity in her little finger than he has in his whole body.

    For these two Republican "holier than thou conservative" idiologues to even remain in active in politics is beyond me. Their wives deserve better and so do their constiuents.

    June 24, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. soupster

    What is wrong with asking for forgiveness and giving forgiveness? It takes a strong committed wife to keep the marriage going. It would be a great example to the children and to the world.

    June 24, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. Snuffy

    Apparently an apology means nothing in this day and age and any mention of God makes one an idiot. I now understand how this country got to this level.

    June 24, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. David

    WhoCares?.............she is showing strength you only wish you had.

    June 24, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. Kelley in TX

    I sure would like to see a political wife grow a spine for once and leave the jerk in the dust.

    June 24, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. KT

    I am glad to FINALLY see wives (Sanford & Ensign) NOT standing next to their husbands while they boo hoo and ask for forgiveness and QUOTE THE BIBLE after they have publicly humiliated their families. And these are the people who believe in the "sanctity of marriage bewteen man and woman" but deny same sex partners benefits of marriage. What is so terribly sacred about marriage in America? At least politicians who can't keep their pants zipped are bipartisan.

    June 24, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  15. WhoCares?

    Thank you Karuna.

    People have different meaning of a "strong woman" than I apparently do.

    June 24, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. CHBIII

    The question is, Did he end the relationship with the other woman?

    June 24, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. Amy

    Wait, let me get this straight. They separated to rebuild their marriage, and during that time he went to see his mistress? How is that working on his marriage? How is that respecting his wife? How is that deserving of a reconciliation? Why is it that these women keep taking back the men who embarrass them in front of the entire nation? And why is that considered the Christian thing to do?

    June 24, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. Fr. Mark

    Thank you, Mrs. Sanford, for bringing forgiveness to the front of this issue for you. As people of faith, forgiveness is what we are called to do; for our own good!

    God's continued Blessings on YOU and your family,

    Fr. Mark

    June 24, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Pragmatic

    If he will lie to his wife, break their wedding promises, he will lie to the people of South Carolina and the nation. He already lied to his staff or had them lie for him.

    He's a cheater and a hypocrite. Love may be blind but it does not have to be stupid.

    June 24, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. It's happening to me too

    What a class act. I do not think she could have expressed herself any better. I respect her decision.

    June 24, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. One Woman

    I think that every single woman that 'stands by their man' after they've cheated DESERVE EVERY BIT OF WHAT THEY GOT. When will women wake up? When will we ever see a woman take a real stand and get rid of the loser? Hillary, I'm speaking directly to you. You women are already raising your family alone because you're men are out with their other women. You look like fools. And you're not helping your children out either. Especially your daugthers, what kind of message are you sending? And I can't take another Christian message about forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean being someone's doormat. WAKE UP.

    June 24, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. DL Wilson

    Translation: "He's still my husband, he's still pretty hot, my future is better with him than without him, and so will my family's, but I've got him by the short ones and am going to be calling the shots around here from now on, and he's going to be a whipped dog. I can be as sanctimonious as I want and people will still be nice to me because it's their code I'm talking about. Girls, if you keep your cool, you too can end up ruling the roost when something like this happens. It's not so bad. "

    Of course, if she was ever indiscreet herself, or has some other chink in her armor, then it becomes a real comedy.

    June 24, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. tess

    this is not a democrat or republican issue – however, if we tallied the numbers i think the dems would win by a landslide! the best thing about todays sordid announcement is that at least his wife did not stand there being made a fool of and allowing herself to be portrayed as the long-suffering woman like hillary, spitzers wife, and all those other idiots who should put out their own statement about what a sleeze the men are and that NO they cannot continue to use their families as props!! more power to mrs. sanford and i hope the mistress rots in hell!!!!!

    June 24, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. morefromLA

    I don't agree with the Governor's politics or his infidelity. his betrayal was both personal and political. Given his condemnation of Clinton's infidelity, his actions were also highly hypocritical. Forgiveness and acceptance lie in both the personal and political arenas, between the Governor and his wife and the Governor and the people of South Carolina. His wife sounds like a decent, intelligent and caring human being. I trust the Governor will work to repair their relationship and in the process learn the lessons of tolerance and forgiveness.

    June 24, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  25. judy

    Am I the only person who guessed what he was doing the minute he went missing.

    June 24, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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