The night before, over dinner at the Campsens, we had discussed what I could say. Once home, I wrote a formal onepage statement. Now I reviewed what I'd written to see if it still reflected what I felt. It did. I wasn't ashamed and I wanted no one's pity. I asked my dad to read my statement and he suggested a few minor adjustments. Those done, I sent it to my assistant in the First Lady's Office, who emailed it to the local and national press. I also walked down the driveway and handed it to the reporters gathered there. Handing over my statement gave me a wonderful sense of release. I knew there would be endless requests for interviews in the coming days and weeks, and Mark and I would engage in more painful conversations. For that moment, though, my thinking was complete. I truly believed I would be able to enjoy a relaxed dinner with my family, and I really couldn't wait to hug the boys as they returned home. I knew in my heart that whether I reconciled with my husband or not, saying what I truly felt at this time of personal crisis would begin a new chapter in my life. I did what seemed reasonable to me and it seems to have opened new doors: doors to sharing, doors to friendship, doors to some kind of peace.
Statement from First Lady Jenny Sanford
(Released 5:19 p.m., June 24, 2009)
I would like to start by saying I love my husband and I believe I have put forth every effort possible to be the best wife I can be during our almost twenty years of marriage. As well, for the last fifteen years my husband has been fully engaged in public service to the citizens and taxpayers of this state and I have faithfully supported him in those efforts to the best of my ability. I have been and remain proud of his accomplishments and his service to this state.
I personally believe that the greatest legacy I will leave behind in this world is not the job I held on Wall Street, or the campaigns I managed for Mark, or the work I have done as First Lady or even the philanthropic activities in which I have been routinely engaged. Instead, the greatest legacy I will leave in this world is the character of the children I, or we, leave behind. It is for that reason that I deeply regret the recent actions of my husband Mark and their potential damage to our children.
I believe wholeheartedly in the sanctity, dignity, and importance of the institution of marriage. I believe that has been consistently reflected in my actions. When I found out about my husband's infidelity I worked immediately to first seek reconciliation through forgiveness, and then to work diligently to repair our marriage. We reached a point where I felt it was important to look my sons in the eyes and maintain my dignity, self- respect, and my basic sense of right and wrong. I therefore asked my husband to leave two weeks ago.
This trial separation was agreed to with the goal of ultimately strengthening our marriage. During this short separation it was agreed that Mark would not contact us. I kept this separation quiet out of respect of his public office and reputation, and in hopes of keeping our children from just this type of public exposure. Because of this separation, I did not know where he was in the past week.
I believe enduring love is primarily a commitment and an act of will and for a marriage to be successful, that commitment must be reciprocal. I believe Mark has earned a chance to resurrect our marriage.