June 24th, 2009
05:20 PM ET

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: 360° Radar
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Tracy Solomon

    Jen and her children should have the privacy they ask for. As for the marriage, I guess anything is possible as long as all honesty is, at some point put on the table and their marriage is between them. That can be respected.

    The fact he is Governor, what he was/is doing as long as he is on state time, is not just his business as long as he remains Governor. If this was something that came out 5 months ago, this could have and should have been cleared up privately without him wondering off to Argentina and disappearing for a few days. This could have stayed a private matter.

    Instead, he disappeared, then came back and made a public announcement giving a lot of details and now it is completely not private.

    I feel bad for Jen and her boys.

    June 25, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  2. Christy

    You are a perfect example of what many women need to be. You will come through and the grace of God will be sufficient for you. I will be praying for strength for you and the world will see how differently christians handle issues and the victory we enjoy in God!

    June 25, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  3. Leigh, Charlotte, NC

    Her husband has thrown away a political life and future she helped him build as well as a wife and children. His behavior will always mark him and follow her. But divorce is not an easy option and kicking him to the curb will not end things because they do have children. A divorce separates her from them during visitations and split holidays and is generally a painful process. If she chooses to consider whether she can forgive and move forward, then she is showing some restraint. It is up to her. But no one knows whether she will be successful or whether he values the marriage enough to stay. No political reason for him to stay.

    June 25, 2009 at 7:04 am |
  4. angelina go

    Is this some form of damage control ?

    June 25, 2009 at 7:00 am |
  5. Sam

    Apparently she thought the trial separation would be a wake up call. Now she is going to take him back. She is teaching her sons that a respectable man can lie and cheat and visit his mistress on the day that should be reserved for his children. Wake up Ms Sanford and follow through. If he will cheat with a woman in another hemisphere you can be sure she isn't the only one.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  6. linda

    he did it once he will do it again, if he loved u at all, why did he do it to begin with!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  7. kris

    I think she gave it to him right in the heart in her letter. It is sad to see a marriage break up , especially with four young boys to raise. I know she must have plenty of wealth– sell the house a the beach! And move on with your life. Let's face it– he isn't coming back, and that would be really GOOD thing for the state of South Carolina.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:00 pm |
  8. Mickie Bowman

    This marriage has been in trouble for a long time. Because of that, an email correspondence, once innocent, can turn into a love affair. You write, you tell your problems to and seek advice from a sympathetic listener, you share your unhappiness with someone removed from the reality of your everyday life, obligations, frustrations. Over time, that person can seem the soul-mate you feel you are missing. As Bogart said, "It's the stuff that dreams are made of."–except, in real life, that romanticized dreaming can and has turned into a nightmare for the Sanford family.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  9. Tina J.

    If a man doesn't want you then you shouldn't want him. Let him go to the other woman. He'll soon discover how much he's lost but by then it will be to late.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  10. lisa

    he makes me want to puke in my mouth. he doesn't deserve another chance with his wife after this last violation of their agreement, where he chose to spend this "time of reflection" with the other woman.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  11. jim

    I think he was in Argentina to tell his Lover that it's all over. He said he spent the last 5 days crying in Argentina. He was crying because he knew he had to end it with the love of his life.

    This is why Jenny said he's "earned" the right to reconciliation. Mark ended it and now he's trying to win her back through religion and counseling.

    They will stay together and he will likely run for President in 2012.

    This incident will turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to him politically. He will be a reformed adulterer. Someone that flawed Americans can relate to.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  12. Classicsouth

    Two weeks to work on a crippled marriage. Doing so on Father's Day in another country with another woman. The state funds paying for the transportation. Teaching male children that when a man cheats it is best to forgive immediately even while he is still in the arms of another woman. All of these are great examples for the children.

    Plain and simple: Mark Sanford took an huge ego beating at home and in the state house. He gets on a plane for his Argentine honey and she makes his ego all better. Give me a break !!!

    June 24, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  13. M.K. Kilgore

    Watch all of the right- wing hypocrites that will find some way to tie this stupid Governor's actions to something other than what it is. Sean Hannitty, and Fox news will say he's a good christian, just mis guided a little bit, and not near as wicked as Bill Clinton. All the rest will try and sweep it under the rug and make him look more like the victim than the rogue he is.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  14. atalanta

    By the way...God was with Gov. Sanford in Argentina. Jen is a classy lady...in denial.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:42 pm |
  15. kw

    after watching the liberal (msnbc) media shows this afternoon it seems that they are happy about it. they seem bitter from the clinton years and they see this revenge.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:40 pm |
  16. Pam Fandrich

    Mrs. Sanford is confused if she believes Mark went to Argentina to reflect on his marriage and its positive aspects. Mark was reflecting on an argentinian woman whioe he as married to Sara Sanford Fire him.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:08 pm |
  17. J.B. LA

    While I do support and am impressed by the first lady's class, I must also state that to maintain that class, she should not allow that man to return home. In his several weeks of looking internally, he escaped. This is not a character trait of a partner you wish to keep around the house, even if it's for the kids. The children will be stronger knowing their mother was not a doormat.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:08 pm |
  18. debbie

    What a sad day. My heart goes out to Governor Sanford, his wife and boys. I am amazed at how cold and heartless people can be. This is a family in pain and who are we to throw stones. Thank God that my mistakes are not of interest to this world. The Bible clearly tells us that we are all sinners.
    I pray that the Lord will heal their broken hearts, restore their marriage and bless their children through these hard days ahead.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:07 pm |
  19. Alice

    Very nice letter, I feel sorry for her and her children, but this kind of stuff happens all the time. Its obvious he is in love with this other woman. He should proceed and end his marriage as soon as possible. The longer it takes, can only cause more pain to them all.

    Men are generally cowards, they want to leave but don't want to be accused of leaving their family, so they wait to get caught so SHE can tell him to leave. Now he can say that he didn't leave them, " she threw me out". She will be fine someday and so will the kids. Just move on Gov, and remember to be a good dad even if you weren't a good husband. Good Luck Mrs. Sanford, hey the men in Argentina aren't bad either. You Go Girl!

    June 24, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  20. Huston, Downey, CA

    He is human and made a mistake. His wife is the most affected by his infidelity and if she chooses to forgive him, she's a better person for it. She wants to keep her family together and that is probably her priority. Temptation is strong and those of you who are repulsed by the actions of an unfaithful better be careful that YOU don't fall or that your partners aren't tempted. Let's face it people, this happens more often than we want to admit. Let's give them the privacy they deserve to resolve their issues.

    June 24, 2009 at 8:16 pm |
  21. Teresa, OH

    Lovely letter, Mrs. Sanford: now, pull up your big girl pants, cuz it's time to FORGIVE yourself. Yes, girl, I said that. You tried, you tried, you tried.... but it didnt work. Time to get going and be stepping.

    You have been treated with the utmost of disgust and disrespect a God-abiding wife can be treated to. Love does not have another tucked away in Buenos Aires. Nope. Please do not use Bible verses to make adultery correct. God, in His incredible WISDOM, allowed only one reason for divorce. Adultery.

    If you want to teach your sons value there is only one lesson here: VALUE YOURSELF. Never let your boys see you put your stamp of approval on this type of treatment.

    Keep your head up. You did nothing wrong. : )

    June 24, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  22. Joanna

    Wow! No Brainer here First Lady! I don't think he is working on the marriage...... Hello?! Let's see the divorce filed and quickly! Why on God's green earth does she care about his political career when he is ruining her life? Go figure.

    June 24, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  23. Annie Kate

    A very classy well written response. I feel for her in this difficult phase of her marriage and her life. I hope the press will do as she asked and respect her and her children's privacy as they try to get some normalcy back in their lives. And whether the marriage survives or not, I don't think this is something for the press to report on or for us to judge – give her what she very nicely requested please – some privacy!!

    June 24, 2009 at 7:50 pm |
  24. DavidPun

    This lady is far too good for this slob. However, fidelity and forgiveness aside sometimes we have to make a clear, unambiguous statement about certain behaviors and Sanfords actions are reprehesible. I suspect there will be additional fallout once people look into how he funded all his trips to his mistress and his wife may want to consider whether she has the energy to run up to the state Penitentiary every week to visit him.

    June 24, 2009 at 7:40 pm |
  25. Linda B., Ga.

    The First Lady of South Carolina should tell that NO GOOD SOB....Hasta La Vista Babbbbbbby!

    June 24, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  26. Bruce

    Jenny, your a lady and deserve better! Cut him loose and suggest he get out of office since he doesn't respect the people of SC either... Don't fall for the "it was the pressure of my job" garbage! It's lack of self control and lack of respect for those who put their trust in him.

    June 24, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  27. patty a banks palmdale ca.

    I applaud her dignity, and pray for their marriage, and when we are weak God is strong, i respect her wanting privacy but private sins should be private ( bet. you & God, or your Pastor etc.) but unfortunately public sins are public domain!

    June 24, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  28. Kathleen

    They agree to a 2 week trial separation in hopes of strengthening their marriage. How does he justify continuing his affair during this time? What a low life.

    June 24, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  29. Marc Payan

    adroitly stated – skillful. this is first class all the way. Kate (from John & Kate plus eight) should take notes.

    via @imarriage

    June 24, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  30. Franky, Land of Lincon

    (nodding my head)...

    Can I ask you a serious question??? Why are Conservatives so good?? I mean, let's face it, there won't be another Billy...thank you Dems, LOL!! 🙂

    But for real, I'm not stereotyping conservatives because it is unfair and quite honestly, not true. But is it like that?? Do they think is a joke?? For real, do they?? I'm not saying they are responsible for what they do or so forth but let's just say it makes me us look bad for what I believe. They wanna talk about transparency but maybe the only transparency we conservatives gotta do is for starters, the ladies deserve better, and since she wants to use the Bible, I don't mind either..."But I say to YOU that everyone that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

    (sigh)...and they say we ain't honest, huh? I wish I had nickel...later guys.

    June 24, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  31. Marc Payan

    adroitly stated – skillful. this is first class all the way. Kate (from John & Kate plus 8) should take notes.

    via @imarriage

    June 24, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  32. Powodzenia

    The operative word here is, "reciprocal." Clearly, Governor Sanford is reciprocating elsewhere, specifically in Argentina. I noted that in his speech, he said that he hurt, "her," first and then said, "...and my wife." I felt so deeply sorry for Jenny Sanford in that moment. I suspect the next thing to follow will be a divorce. His heart is still in Argentina. I hope he tells Jenny and himself the truth about that.

    June 24, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  33. Michelle

    The First Lady is a lady, obviously a woman of faith. Regardless of the outcome of the marriage, I believe she will thrive without any doubt.

    June 24, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  34. liamfan

    Classy lady! I hope there will be room in this media driven culture to let her family heal in private.

    June 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  35. Anne

    Wow. A very powerful statement from Mrs. Sanford. She is very courageous. I wonder if Gov. Sanford would offer the same if the circumstances were reversed. Sadly, the children will probably suffer the most.

    June 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  36. JC- Los Angeles

    Flying to Argentina to visit a hottie doesn't seem like working toward reconciliation, humility or repentance.

    June 24, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  37. CivilRights4All

    I hate to see this. This women should be angry and silent. Instead of quoting bible verses and telling American that's it ok for her husband to cheat. She quoted that, "his trial separation was agreed to with the goal of ultimately strengthening our marriage." And what does this guy do, he flies out of the country to see the other women. But yet she still "claims" that she is willing to take him back. What I see is a women who is weak and hurting. I'm sorry folks, but this how I felt after I read this letter.

    June 24, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  38. marcia bunn

    u go girl! separations never seem to solve the problem! prayers for u and all of us continue!

    June 24, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  39. Jane of Pine, Arizona

    A very heartfelt statement. I commend her for being a classier lady than I could hope to be. I would have kicked his butt to the curb LONG ago.

    June 24, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  40. lisa

    wow! What a woman!

    June 24, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  41. An

    Hi Anderson.

    Hi bloggers.

    I am so sared of the affairs in the people life so much. The bad things hurtting others people so much.


    June 24, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  42. Carol B. in MD

    Although things are tougher for her and her children, he was* WITH* his mistress during what was supposed to be a time of reflection and forgiveness! Was the phone and his email so busted that he just had to see her for one more tryst?The Lord had nothing to do with this mess. Get real.

    June 24, 2009 at 5:40 pm |