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Sanford’s Wife: Governor ‘Obsessed’ with Mistress


COLUMBIA, S.C. - Jenny Sanford, wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, told Vogue magazine that it's up to her husband if he wants their marriage to survive.

Jenny Sanford also told the magazine that she feels "sorry" for Maria Belen Chapur, with whom Mark Sanford has had an affair, that her husband appeared to be "obsessed" with Chapur and may have been acting out a midlife crisis.

"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 Vogue. "I have learned that these affairs are almost like an addiction to alcohol or pornography. They just can't break away from them."

The first lady and her four sons moved out of the Governor's Mansion two weeks ago and into the family's home on Sullivan's Island. The governor said then that it was a family decision and it was best for his sons.

It was not clear whether the Vogue interview took place before or after the move.

She said she was shocked when she first learned of the affair in January. Her husband publicly disclosed the affair at a news conference June 24 after returning from a secret five-day trip to Argentina to visit Chapur, who lives in Buenos Aires.

He subsequently told The Associated Press that Chapur was his "soul mate" and that he had "crossed lines" with other women earlier in his marriage, but not with sex. The quotes about other women, Jenny Sanford told Vogue, were like "punches to the gut."

But she told the magazine she isn't vengeful about her husband or Chapur.

"I also feel sorry for the other woman" she said of Chapur. "I am sure she is a fine person. 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."

Jenny Sanford, according to the article, searched the Internet to find a photo of Chapur to see what she looked like. A friend told Vogue that she concluded, "She's pretty."

"All I can do is forgive," she told Vogue. "Reconciliation is something else, and that is going to be a harder road. I have put my heart and soul into being a good mother and wife. 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."

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