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)

    Mid life crises? Too bad, he just threw his whole life accomplishments out the window. Hope he finds what he's looking for....dumb idiot.

    August 17, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. braktalk88

    Is that the right way to spell addiction in this case?

    August 17, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Beny

    Forget about him cheating, I want to know WHY he cheated. People are so quick to jump all over the husband, but maybe his wife turned out to be a cold fish and he left her. I was married to a chick everybody thought was so great, but she was a horrible wife. She rationed sex (once a month if I was lucky), let herself go (gained 30lbs after we got married) and laid around all day watching movies (no dinner for me when I got home). I cheated on her and never felt guilty about it.

    August 17, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Once a cheater always a cheater. Jenny Sanford is looking moire and more like a chump each day.

    Lose him PRONTO! Quit babbling about it and DO IT.

    August 17, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. michelle

    Get real Jenny! Forgiveness and all that makes for good copy and lets you sleep at night ,but if you are so worried about your boys be sure that you send the right message to them and that message is NOT that all bets are off come middle age because life is tough for a governor,making a great salary, with health, a nice family and a beautiful and supportive wife. You are beginning to sound as goofy as he is.

    August 17, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Larry


    You seem a lovely and intelligent person

    Mark appears to be a liar, self centered, in denial of reality, and unwilling to accept responsibilities for his actions

    You deserve so much better

    Let the bum swim in his own vile, he deserves it

    The kids will be just fine without him, and so will you

    He will NEVER be worthy of your faith, or any woman's again

    I as well assume the little Argentinian will not wait long to dump this loser either, if she hasn't already

    Though this is only my opinion

    Best of Everything, to you and the children

    August 17, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. blinky

    um, he's in love, so of course he seems addicted.

    August 17, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. D from SC

    Drop the slob and move on!!

    August 17, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. Olivia

    Sure, he's sorry now. He's finished politically and socially. That little piece of tail cost him dearly. Gotta love this outcome!

    August 17, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. Toby Kent

    It seems the more a person touts the Christian Party LIne of morality, family values, etc., the deeper they fall. It involves the known and the unknown, i.e. Jimmy Swigert, Jim Baker, Mark Sanford, the elder in the local church who lives down the street...the list is endless.

    August 17, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Eric

    I think Jenny is hot. C'mon Guv, what were you thinking???

    August 17, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. Kat

    The governor's wife is a class act. It's too bad her husband can't see that. I think she would be better off without him. His career is over. She still has her kids and a life ahead of her. My prayers are with her.

    August 17, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. Jenny

    Admit it Jenny-baby: He's so over you.

    August 17, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. GF, Los Angeles

    Stop making excuses for him Jenny. Your husband fell in love with another woman period. Have some self respect and move on with yours without him. A person shouldn't have to think about whether or not they want to be with somebody – especially a spouse. That decision was made when the wedding vows were uttered.

    August 17, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. Vivian

    Sanford is a heartless bum. . . "I've found my soulmate"....yea right, where is the bimbo now? SLAMMER!

    August 17, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  16. LiLa

    Good for Jenny Sanford for making her husband take responsibility for his choices. What a great example she is for her sons!

    August 17, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. Will

    She's pretty hot.

    August 17, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. Bella

    He got caught chasing tail. . . . boo hoo.

    August 17, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. demwit

    Men addicted to good sex
    –Shocking insight from SC first lady

    August 17, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. BTGH

    The thing that surprised me about Governor Mark Sanford is that he was clever enough to outsource the position of "other woman" overseas.

    Jenny should be grateful to be married to such an innovative thinker.

    August 17, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. FormerGOP

    Why is it that all the Repub are always claim to be the MORAL party, FAMILY FIRST! But yet indulging in the very immoral acts the put their family LAST! ? Can anyone answer that for me?

    And the GOP wonders why they have lost People like me?

    August 17, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. M.X. Neal

    When his mistress dumpt him, he will run like an Olymic athlete back to his wife.

    August 17, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Gloria

    Sanford's behavior is like an addiction??? OH PLEASE!!!

    Most men are a bunch of selfish, entitled, ego-driven, cry babies who spend three-quarters of their lives following the "head" in their pants instead of the one on their shoulders.

    I'm so tired of the fact that women must constantly compensate for their lack of emotional intelligence. Enough is Enough!!!

    We love them, support them, promote them, raise their children, etc. etc. But a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T is obviously too much to expect in return. It occurs to me, however, that a significant part of the problem is OUR fault. We as women give too much, accomodate too much and almost always end up running a huge "emotional deficit."

    August 17, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. david

    I could care less about him or any other politicians personal life.
    I don't need to know who is sleeping with who, or who is dating who, it just doesn't matter. Americans are sadly obsessed with this junk and all it does is blur the lines between what's important and what's utterly trivial. I'm sick of reading about the personal lives of politicians, john and kate, paris hilton..blah, blah, blah you name it etc, etc, ad nauseum. Why do we give any of these people 15 minutes is absolutely asinine.

    August 17, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. Bethie

    This has got to be the best outcome for a cheater. Gotta love how he ruined himself just for a little action in the sack. Buckup Mark, you did all by yourself! HA ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

    August 17, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13