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. Jerry

    Run Mark Run, plenty more fish in the sea for you to catch. Also please do not waste your time worrying about Jenny, she will have you replaced in three weeks or less. For those you do not believe, Name one woman who has not gone hunting after three weeks, just like I thought you do not know one.

    August 17, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. Puff the Magic Dragon

    And why is Jenny Sanford so addicted to a man who so obviously doesnt want her?

    The ball is actually in HER court. Doesnt she get it?

    August 17, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Tommy

    As I read this, one thought came to mind: I'm fairly certain that residents in South Carolina would like to have a governor.

    Aim high!

    August 17, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  4. Roger

    Mrs. Sanford we democrats in SC are so proud of you....

    August 17, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. feel the heat

    I completely understand Sanford's dilemma, for once upon a time I was so deeply in love that it was an obsession. However my wife found out and put a stop to it.

    August 17, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. JOHN

    WOW, lady, get a life. How many times does someone have to slap you in the face before you understand you have been insulted and treated like crap?

    August 17, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. djdjdjs

    She is so gorgeous, and also the "perfect" wife.
    Sadly, she's enabling him, by saying the ball is in his court.

    When it's she, who should decide if he is worth another try.

    We've all seen relationships like this...she'll cave in and take him back and he'll repeat.

    August 17, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. GRITS (Girl Raised in the South) the people of this state deal with the "disappointment" of an elected official, we should remember YOU are dealing with much more...your pain is very personal and I commend you for your strength of character. I agree with many people that said we elected the wrong Sanford.

    August 17, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Kitchen Police

    I have lived in Bolivia and she is right ; South American women are addictive. You can't just love them and leave them, you have to keep on loving them because you're addicted to love.

    August 17, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. on the sc coast

    Oh good grief! It just doesn't end for those of us who live in SC. I wish he would go away....I don't care where...just someplace where we don't have to hear any more about him...or his family...or hismistress or his trips...Just go very far away!

    August 17, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. ATL Guy

    Mark Sanford – the gift that keeps on giving.

    August 17, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  12. Ron Gary

    After reading Jenny Sanford's interview, feel like I would like her! I am sure she will be as surprised at that, as I am!
    I am a left winger, middle age gay man.
    One of my reasons I lean left is I think we should all stay out of each others bedroom activities.
    Also, I hope someday soon, the GOP'ers will support it when a gay couple wants to marry!
    I wish her and her children and yes he husband well.

    August 17, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. Steph

    Please leave this woman alone! So she married a creep, that doesn't mean she should be hounded by the media. If you must follow anyone around, follow him, and ask him how he is reconciling his behavior with his conservative Christian values.

    August 17, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. Helen

    What a poor deluded woman. Go take some classes and make a new life away from that loser.

    August 17, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. dr

    its ok, republicans can be imperfect because they have Jesus in their side, it is the Democrats who are evil and with sin because they don't put Jesus first and foremost in their part, it doesn't matter that they are better people for the most part

    August 17, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Debbie

    She is called "WOMAN!" Brave, strong, compassionate and focused!

    August 17, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  17. Frank, Las Vegas

    She should dump him. He admitted that his current love interest was not his first. The man she thought she married was just a front, a lie for the outside world to see. He will never change, so she should admit it to herself and move on.

    August 17, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. kyle from ohio

    I'm not sure the Govern did not give state secrets away to this woman who worked for a newpaper in her country, think about how gullible he seems about this woman, and now the wife is telling us, it was like an addiction.

    August 17, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. Tiffany

    Jenny Sanford needs to get a grip. The man is a dog, he doesn't care enough about you or the boys, or he wouldn't have strayed or humiliated you in the process.

    August 17, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  20. ashlee

    Very smart woman.
    I'm glad she left him and did not stay with him for the kids, or just because they are married.
    A large amount of men cheat and expect the wife to stick around, bravo for her!

    August 17, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. billp

    Dump this moral hypocrite loser and get on with your life.

    August 17, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. Dina

    Jenny Sanford is one class act! No matter what happens between she and her husband, she will be just fine. I wish more women had her class.

    August 17, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. Twice Betrayed

    Addicted? Come on, people, this word has been way overworked. Let's stop making bad behavior clinical. Mid life crisis? Reality check? I will give him credit, at least he picked a mistress near his age instead of one twenty years younger like most men in 'mid life crisis'.

    August 17, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. Linda

    Jenny Sanford is way too good for Mark, and he knows it. Mid-life crisis? Baloney. Jenny, like too many good and longsuffering wives, got shafted because she's not 20-something anymore. Mark and all men who are like him and have done this "addiction" thing ought to be ashamed, but they won't be. Cheating is part of every relationship and it's not an addiction and it's not "boys will be boys." It's an utter failure of morals and trust and it shouldn't be ignored nor should these men ever be trusted again. By anyone. I'd rather share my home with my dogs, thank you, than another man like Mark Sanford.

    Shame on him!.

    August 17, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Deuce

    The bigger you think your are. The harder you fall. No matter what Raquet you create..

    August 17, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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