August 17th, 2009
06:29 PM ET
13 years ago

Jenny Sanford on her husband: 'The ball is in his court'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Jenny Sanford is interviewed in the upcoming issue of Vogue magazine."](CNN) - For the first time in nearly two months, Jenny Sanford is opening up about the affair that turned her life upside down.

"Mark is not a bad person," she says of her husband, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, in an interview with Vogue magazine hitting newsstands this week. "What the world saw in that press conference is someone who is struggling. None of us are perfect. We are all trying to do the best we can."

Despite her acknowledgment of her husband's imperfections, Sanford makes clear in the interview that divorce remains an option. Two weeks ago, she moved out of the governor's mansion with the couple's four boys to spend the upcoming school year in the Charleston area.

"I have put my heart and soul into being a good mother and wife," she says. "Now I think it's up to my husband to do the soul-searching to see if he wants to stay married. The ball is in his court."

She said the man who carried on a year-long affair with Maria Belen Chapur was not the man she married. "It never occurred to me that he would do something like that," she said. "The person I married was centered on a core of morals. The person who did this is not centered on those morals."

Sanford said her husband's relationship with Chapur was almost like an addiction.

"Over the course of both pastoral and marriage counseling, it became clear to me that he was just obsessed with going to see this woman," she told the magazine. "I have learned that these affairs are almost like an addiction to alcohol or pornography. They just can't break away from them."

Sanford says she feels sorry for Chapur. But the Vogue piece also reports that Sanford said of Chapur after looking up a picture of her on the internet: "She's pretty."

"I am sure she is a fine person," she says of Chapur. "It can't be fun for her, though I do sometimes question her judgment. If she knew the newspaper had those e-mails back in December, why did she want him to come in June? But I can't go there too much. All I can do is pray for her because she made some poor choices. Mark made some poor choices. A lot of people were brought down by this, and I am sure that is not what they wanted."

Sanford says her husband - currently on the defensive after reports that he flew in style overseas on the taxpayers' dime and used state aircraft for personal use - "has got some issues that he needs to work on, about happiness and what happiness means."

"You wish it wouldn't come to a crisis like this, but I think when a lot of men get to this midpoint in life, they start asking questions that they probably should have asked a long time ago," she says.

"Midlife aging is different for men than for women," she says. "Mark is worried about what his next job is. He worries about making money, running for office again, his legacy. I know my legacy is my children. I don't worry about that."

Filed under: Jenny Sanford • Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (307 Responses)
  1. Greg

    Why do we card and why is this news?

    August 17, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. No Incumbents 2010

    Jenny sure has balls. So clearly the balls are in her court. Repugs love Mark Sanford our family values governor.

    August 17, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Jimmy

    Dump the loser. How can you ever trust a cheater? She deserves better.

    August 17, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. shoegazer

    "The person I married was centered on a core of morals".....yeah right.

    August 17, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. Enough

    Why would anyone want to stay married to a cheater?? Once a cheater always a cheater. NO man is better to have than a lousy cheater that you can't trust!

    August 17, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Mississippi Mike

    $10 bucks says he stays married. He made a mistake (repeatedly) but you what. I guarantee all of you break the speed limit. What's the difference?

    August 17, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. demwit

    She sounds just like Hillary..

    August 17, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. Ted

    Mark Sanford is the epitome of those GOP family values we have heard so much about. He is a moron.

    I hope Jenny Sanford divorces Mark and leaves him penniless. Serves the jerk right.

    August 17, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    Sure sounds like Mark is determined to destroy his marriage with Jenny, despite her apparently being willing to forgive him for almost everything and anything, from betrayal to public humiliation.

    Anyway, on the matter that should be the more important issue for the public, the SC legislature should pick any of a number of impeachable offenses committed by this self-righteous-failure-of-a-governor and get him out of office asap.

    Seems like Gov Sanford is using his personal problems with his wife to deflect the public conversation away from the fact that he should no longer be in office.

    Thank goodness he revealed himself as a fraud and a failure as public servant before he got to the point of becoming a presidential nominee of a major political party!

    August 17, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. Kathy

    I really feel for Jenny, many of us have suffered the results of men's mid life crisis.

    August 17, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. RealityKing

    It takes a lot more than heart and soul to keep a man faithfull...

    August 17, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  12. Zaley

    Let him go Jenny. . . he's gone fowl.

    August 17, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. midwest liberal

    the last paragraph of this article is the saddest of all. yes, midlife aging is different for men than for women, BUT...using that as an excuse to justify her husband's behavior in readers' (and her own) mind is just plain pathetic. mark sanford is living proof that all pigs don't wear lipstick.

    August 17, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Darth Vadik, CA

    Oh for the love of God, pleaser keep this drama at home.

    August 17, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. xcusme

    The man you marry is not the one you divorce... New rules, you will not beat or cheat on your wife. Wish her the best but she should really move on. She can do better than a liar and a cheat. Also he needst to step down.. better yet disappear.

    August 17, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. TTChaz

    Good for you Mrs Sanford. I know this is extremely painful for you. Nice to see someone taking the high road these days.

    August 17, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. vic nashville , Tn

    Can they play this game till 2010 Nov

    As a democrat I will be grateful Sanford family

    August 17, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. GRACE

    Once a cheater, always a cheater. . . you'll find happiness elsewhere. You're not his soulmate!

    August 17, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. carol

    Enough with the train wreck....

    August 17, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. Claudia in Houson

    Midlife crisis, addition to alcohol or pron, stop making excuses for the unexcusable. Her husband plotted and planned as he travel thousands of miles to be with his soul mate, it's not like his actions were just spontaneous and not thought out. Mrs. Sanford needs to realize her husband is the same man she married, he just got caught.

    August 17, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  21. Billy from NC

    He's not the first to get sidetracked by a hot piece of tail. Seems like at that age though it wouldn't be as bad. Heck his wife ain't half bad.

    August 17, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. Cece

    Poor ole Mark won't have to worry about his job, money or his next campaign, he gave all that up for something he probably really didn't want in the first place. Oh well, it cost him dearly.

    August 17, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  23. David

    I think she does need to consider what SHE may have done to make her husband tempted in the first place.

    August 17, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. ken

    And my legacy is going to school and mark sanford taking care of the business in my state. I don't worry about his affairs but i worry when he uses my tax money to go see his mistress...

    August 17, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. the barbther

    OMG! He is in love! since when being in love is bad? Gosh, just get a divorce and go live with your life with the love of your life. Enough!

    August 17, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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