Governors wife announces shes filing for divorce after his affair with Argentine woman

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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CHARLESTON, S.C. - South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford may be keeping his office after his affair with an Argentine woman was revealed, but he is losing his marriage.
First lady Jenny Sanford capped a tumultuous week by filing for divorce Friday, two days after state lawmakers stopped short of recommending her husband's removal for a top-secret June rendezvous with his Argentine mistress. He will not say whether he is still in contact Maria Belen Chapur, the woman he famously called his "soul mate."
Jenny Sanford, a former Wall Street executive who helped launch her husband's political career, said Friday their 20-year marriage could not be repaired. The couple have four sons.
"This came after many unsuccessful efforts at reconciliation, yet I am still dedicated to keeping the process that lies ahead peaceful for our family," she said in a brief statement released as her divorce complaint was filed in family court.
Her husband, who a day earlier told reporters he still hoped they could reconcile, blamed himself for what he called "the moral failure that led us to this tragic point."
Jenny Sanford moved out of the governor's mansion in August and lives with the couple's sons at the family's coastal home on Sullivans Island. Her divorce complaint on the grounds of adultery did not mention money, property or custody arrangements.
Nobody answered the door at the Sullivans Island home Friday and Jenny Sanford did not respond to messages left with her and her spokeswoman. Mark Sanford's spokesman also said he would not speak publicly.
Mark Sanford, 49, disappeared for almost a week in late June to see Chapur, leaving his staff and his wife in the dark about where he was. His staff told reporters he was on a hiking trip within the United States. He returned and tearfully confessed the affair at a rambling news conference.
Jenny Sanford said then she was willing to reconcile with the two-term governor, once mentioned as a possible 2012 Republican presidential contender. She weathered the publication of passionate email exchanges between her husband and Chapur, and an Associated Press interview in which he called his mistress his "soul mate" and admitted "crossing the line" with other women.
Jenny Sanford, who is working on a memoir, said she learned about the affair in January when she found a copy of a letter her husband wrote to Chapur. In the months following, he asked several times to visit his mistress. His wife said no.
"It's one thing to forgive adultery; it's another thing to condone it," she told the AP two days after her husband revealed the affair.
On Wednesday, a legislative panel considering whether to impeach Sanford instead recommended a formal rebuke.
The panel said his trips to see Chapur in Argentina and his use of state planes for personal and political trips brought "ridicule, dishonour, disgrace and shame" to the state he was twice overwhelmingly elected to lead.
Sanford is term-limited and will leave office in January 2011. Asked Thursday whether he had cut off contact with Chapur, a divorced mother of two who has worked as an English interpreter and market researcher, he declined to answer.
She has made only one statement, appealing for privacy last June after the affair became public. A friend who had been acting as her spokesman declined to provide any information Friday about where things stand between her and Sanford.

Organizations: Associated Press

Geographic location: CHARLESTON, Sullivans Island, United States Argentina

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