CHARLESTON, S.C. - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford may be keeping his office, but he is losing his marriage.
Jenny Sanford capped a tumultuous week by filing for divorce yesterday, 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 with 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 yesterday that their 20-year marriage could not be repaired.
"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 is a great person, and has been a remarkable wife, mother and first lady," he said in a statement.
Both Sanfords mentioned their four sons, who have lived with their mother at the family's coastal home on Sullivan's Island since she moved out of the governor's mansion in August.
"While our family structure may change," Mark Sanford said, "I know that we will both work earnestly to be the best mom and dad we can be to four of the finest boys on earth."
Jenny Sanford's divorce complaint on the grounds of adultery did not mention money, property, or custody arrangements.
No one answered the door at the Sullivan's Island home yesterday, and Jenny Sanford did not respond to messages left with her and her spokeswoman.
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 hiking the Appalachian Trail. He returned and tearfully confessed the affair at a rambling news conference.