Jenny Sanford, soon-to-be ex-wife of disgraced South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, said she looks to her Christian faith and to God during times of crisis.
In an interview with CNN’s “Larry King Live,” South Carolina’s first lady talked about her new memoir, Staying True , which hits bookstores Friday and recounts her 20-year marriage and the affair that ended it.
“I think it is an honest account of the values I hold dear and the things that I turn to in times of crisis or in a busy political life to keep myself very solid and grounded in my faith, my values,” Sanford said Monday night. “I look to my faith, I look to my God, I look to my friends, and I look to my relationship with my family.”
Sanford rejected the suggestion that she wrote the book out of retribution, using instead the word catharsis to explain her motive for writing Staying True. She also said she hopes when her four teenage sons are ready to read the book, they will understand why she made the decisions she did and understand the values she holds dear.
Sanford found out about her husband’s affair with an Argentinean woman in January 2009, months before he held a press conference and admitted to the relationship. After her discovery, Sanford forgave her husband and tried to reconcile. She offered to remain silent about the affair if he promised to end the relationship, but the governor refused to end it.
Even after that rejection, Sanford remained quiet and it was the governor who confessed to the media in June, after reporters discovered he had been missing for several days. Upon his return, Sanford’s husband admitted he was in Argentina visiting his mistress and “soul mate.”
The scandal sparked a media storm, which was made worse due to the governor’s reputation as an outspoken Christian linked to evangelical groups. Sanford later admitted to more affairs.
In Monday’s CNN interview, Sanford described her husband as someone who has lost his moral values and said there was nothing she could do to “wake him up.”
“I still believe he was a good person. … Somewhere along the lines, he got off track,” she said. “He can get back on track, but it’s too late for the marriage.”
After trying for one year to mend the marriage, including several counseling efforts, she filed for divorce in December and the marriage could legally end as early as later this month.
"Nobody takes a 20-year marriage and decides in [a] snap minute to throw it away," she said. "I came to the decision very prayerfully and carefully over a number of months."
Sanford, who has been lauded for being both strong and gracious despite difficult circumstances, said she will focus on raising her four sons.