1. Headline
  1. Headline

Video: Sanford says she should’ve seen signs

  1. Closed captioning of: Sanford says she should’ve seen signs

    >>> how you feel?

    >>> back now at 8:07 with new details on the troubled marriage between south carolina governor mark sanford and his wife jenny . she has filed for divorce after he admitted to having an affair with a mistress from argentina . we're going to talk to one of jenny sanford 's longtime friends in just a moment. but first, here's nbc 's norah o'donnell.

    >> reporter: jenny sanford says she felt ugly, unwanted and dirty after learning of her husband's cheating.

    >> i've been unfaithful to my wife.

    >> reporter: and now, for the first time, she reveals there were questions about her husband's fidelity from the very beginning of their marriage, writing in her new book, "staying true," jenny sanford reveals her husband insisted the word "faithful" be removed from their wedding vows . she writes, "he was worried in some odd, nagging way that he might not be able to remain true to that vow. in retrospect, i suppose i might have seen this as a sign." still, the sanfords were married for 20 years and had four children. among the revelations in the book, jenny sanford says her husband once gave her a diamond necklace for her birthday and then returned it just days later. she says when she sat her four boys down to tell them their father was having an affair, her 12-year-old son, bolton, said, "oh, my gosh, this is going to be worse than eliot spitzer !" former governor eliot spitzer admitted to paying for sex with prostitutes, but unlike spitzer's wife, jenny sanford did not stand by her man while he confessed publicly in an extraordinary, tear-filled press conference.

    >> oddly enough, i spent the last five days of my life crying in argentina . i hurt her, i hurt you all, i hurt my wife, i hurt my boys.

    >> reporter: in painful detail, jenny says her husband even turned to her for advice about his romance and how to deal with the media. after that bizarre press conference, he called immediately and asked, "how'd i do?" now, jenny sanford has filed for divorce and written a book she hopes is inspirational. it's about never giving up on her faith, her family and morals, but some want to know, is she giving up on politics or will she run as a candidate herself?

    >> it wouldn't be at all surprising to see her interest in a political career based on the way she's acting.

    >> reporter: jenny sanford tells nbc news she's done with politics for now, but some wonder if "staying true" may lead to a career in politics for this clearly different kind of political spouse. for "today," norah o'donnell, nbc news, washington.

    >> denise is a longtime friend of jenny sanford , with us along with psychologist judith sills. good morning to you both.

    >> good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> denise , if i can start with you. after all the public embarrassment that jenny and her family have gone through, why did she decide to write this book now?

    >> well, i think that, number one, it was very cathartic for her to to do, but secondly, during the summer she was going through it, the media put a lot of attention on her, and particularly the way she handled herself through such a public and embarrassing ordeal. and i think people wanted to know more about jenny , what made her her and how she managed herself through the whole ordeal.

    >> you encouraged her to write the book.

    >> i did. i did. i did. i said, jenny , you know what, i think this is a really great story that a lot of people will be able to take something away from. you're showing a tremendous amount of courage in what you did and you're continuing to show courage in moving forward alone with your children.

    >> you know, in the book, jenny describes their marriage as solid, not overly romantic, but certainly strong, is the word she uses. what was your impression of that 20-year relationship?

    >> my impression was, you know, they made a terrific team, a terrific partnership. she was very instrumental in his political career. he relied on her tremendously for advice. she's a brilliant person, a brilliant business person , a great strategist. and you know, i was stunned when i found out what was going on.

    >> and yet, there were the red flags . she points out the wedding day, him not wanting that word faithful used in the vows, and she went along with that. you were in the wedding party . did she ever bring that up to you?

    >> i didn't know that until i read the manuscript. and when i talked to her about it, she said, you know, i was concerned, so i addressed it with mark. mark and i sat down, we had a long discussion about it, and at the end of the day, we both agreed that marriage vows implies fidelity.

    >> what did it say to you, the fact that he would want that word removed?

    >> it says that he was in conflict from day one and the conflict leaked. he was making a companionate friendship marriage, which can be very strong, tremendous support. in the back of his mind, he's going, am i going to go with that passion for the rest of my life? i don't think so. then he tried to tell her, then he tried to take it back.

    >> and fast forward 20 years into the marriage, jenny discovers these e-mails between him and his mistress from argentina . she confronts him, he admits to the affair, and then he says i want to go see her one last time, and she agrees to that. why would she do that, denise ?

    >> to know mark, you'd have to know mark. mark is -- he's relentless. and when he wants something, he's not going to stop asking for it. and he can wear you down. and so, jenny was worn down. she finally said, fine, if this is the only way that you can end it, go, but you're going with a chaperone.

    >> but she believed somehow it would all work out?

    >> yes, yeah.

    >> because she was -- you're locked in a role for 20 years. she was his brilliant support person. what you want and need i will help you make happen. now he comes and says what i want and need is this other thing. and in his story, he's actually thinking to himself she'll understand. she understood everything else. she's a wonderful woman and i love her. and he goes to her and he says help me with this.

    >> and then in june, when it is exposed to the public, he turns to her again for her advice on how to deal with the media, and after the press conference says "how did i do?"

    >> right. he relied on her tremendously for just for all advice. i mean, she was his go-to person for everything.

    >> but there's the other piece, the utter self-absorption. this is all about me, my pain, my suffering. i cried for five days. help me. it's all about being in that bubble.

    >> right.

    >> so, what was her breaking point? because after that press conference, they did go into counseling, she says in the book, and finally, she realizes this is not going to work. what was it that finally said to her i have to end this?

    >> i believe her breaking point was, as they were going through the counseling, he wasn't showing the appropriate amount of remorse and emotions for what he had done to jenny and to the boys, and i think that she felt as though, you know, she gave it a shot. he wasn't going to come, you know, bring that emotion to the marriage, and felt as though he wasn't committed to it.

    >> what we know about jenny in the public was that she wasn't standing by her man when he made this public apology, admitted that he had had not just one affair, but actually, subsequently said many of them. does that show strength, judith , the fact that she -- because as opposed to like eliot spitzer 's wife, who did stand by her man, different strokes for different folks.

    >> strong is not whether you stay in the marriage or not. strong is a woman who, despite tremendous emotional pain, can make a realistic assessment, what's really happening here, do i have a shot at this marriage, what is good for my family, what is my financial, legal, professional situation. i can think even though i am suffering. it appears that jenny could think things through, according to her values, but maybe eliot spitzer 's wife was strong in exactly the same way and came to a different conclusion.

    >> all right. just very quickly, we have to go, but i wonder how the boys are doing, the four boys?

    >> oh, they're doing great. those children are so well mannered, grounded. they're surrounded by lots of family. they're doing great.

    >> and they have a great mother.

    >> and she has a great friend in denise .

    >> thank you.

    >> judith sills, always a pleasure. thank you so much.

    >>> and up next, how the

updated 2/4/2010 8:36:05 AM ET 2010-02-04T13:36:05

In a new memoir, South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford writes that Gov. Mark Sanford sought her advice about his romance and how to deal with the media after she discovered his extramarital relationship with an Argentine woman.

Jenny Sanford, who managed political campaigns for her husband during their 20-year marriage, writes in "Staying True" that the governor used her as a sounding board, wondering aloud whether he should follow his heart to Argentina and if he would live a life of regret if he didn't.

"Clearly those are thoughts I wish he had kept to himself," Jenny Sanford writes in the book to be released on Friday. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the 214-page book, published by Ballantine Books, on Tuesday.

In an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters, airing Friday on "20/20, " she says that from the beginning, her marriage was a "leap of faith" because he refused to include a vow of fidelity in their marriage ceremony.

"With the benefit of the knowledge I have about Mark now, I could point to this moment as a clear sign of things to come," she writes. But at the time, she found his honesty "brave and sweet" and thought he just had cold feet.

What ended it all
Jenny Sanford tells Walters that the final blow to the marriage was the publication of racy e-mails between her husband and his Argentine mistress, Maria Belen Chapur, whom Sanford called his "soul mate." The e-mails were published last year by The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C.

One e-mail from the governor to Chapur read: "I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night's light — but hey, that would be going into sexual details."

Jenny Sanford said that her children saw the e-mails and were devastated. "It just ripped me up, to see them reading these e-mails, to see them have to grow up so fast," she says.

Mark Sanford, once considered a possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate, disappeared for five days last summer.

He returned to reveal at a tearful Statehouse news conference he was not hiking the Appalachian Trail, as he told his staff, but in Argentina seeing his mistress.

The revelations he made then, and during a subsequent interview with the AP, derailed his political career and ultimately unraveled his marriage.

  1. Stories from
    1. Meet the Secret Service K-9 Heroes Who Took Down the White House Fence Jumper
    2. Ebola in New York: Inside the Apartment Building Where Dr. Craig Spencer Lived
    3. Rumer Willis Is 'Blown Away' by Strength of Younger Sister Tallulah
    4. Remains Identified as Missing College Student Hannah Graham
    5. PHOTOS: A Day on the Road with Little Big Town

Affairs with multiple women
In the book, Jenny Sanford, a Georgetown-educated, former Wall Street vice president, traces the story of the Sanfords from the time the couple met in the 1980s to the trying events of the last year. The book includes eight pages of photographs of the Sanfords' wedding and family and of Mark Sanford's political career, which included three terms in Congress and two as governor.

Jenny Sanford discovered the affair in January 2009 after coming across a letter her husband had written to his mistress. She writes in her book she was "gut-punched all over again" when she found out the governor had dalliances with still other women, some of which she learned about from his interview with the AP when he said he had "crossed lines" with a handful of other women.

The book also gives a sense of the rumor mill that exploded in South Carolina in the wake of the governor's admissions. Jenny Sanford writes that, before the AP interview, the governor called her to say "he had more explaining to do" because another woman had suggested to a media outlet she had an affair with him.

She writes her husband told her at the time the relationship was "nothing much" and nothing she needed to know about earlier.

Jenny Sanford wrote her husband had admitted only one affair until that point and now "ever businesslike, he wanted to know what I thought he should reveal in the interview." She does not say what advice, if any, she gave the governor.

"Here he was again asking for my advice instead of first considering how the news might make me feel," she wrote.

It's unclear from the book the identity of that woman. The AP never reported on an extramarital relationship between the governor and any woman other than Chapur.

Sanford's office had no comment on Tuesday.

Governor refused to sign contract
Jenny Sanford also reveals in the book that following the revelation of the affair, she had her attorney draw up a contract under which she would not reveal the affair if her husband would stop seeing his mistress. She writes that the governor refused.

Jenny Sanford moved out of the Governor's Mansion last summer and now lives with the couple's four sons at the family beach house on Sullivans Island.

She filed for divorce on the grounds of adultery in December and a final hearing is scheduled for later this month.

The outside dust jacket of the book makes no mention of the affair, or even that the author is the first lady of South Carolina.

The cover has just the title and her name and a picture of Sanford sitting on the beach in a rose blouse and blue jeans. The back of the dust jacket contains an excerpt from the book that includes what the author calls the simple truth she has come to learn.

"What matters most is how you live your life, not what you have to show for it," she writes.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments