The estranged wife of South Carolina's adulterous governor said her husband's infidelities make it harder for her to raise morally conscious sons.
"My hope is in the long run they'll be better men for it, better husbands and fathers in the long run," Jenny Sanford said on "Good Morning America" today. "These are weighty subjects to have to discuss with your children."
Once the name of Gov. Mark Sanford's Argentinean mistress made headlines, the couple's four sons immediately hit the Internet and looked her up on Google, Jenny Sanford said.
"You get one good shot to raise your kids and we've had a lot of challenges thrown on our plate this year," she said, adding that she believes her husband's mistress "doesn't look too dissimilar than me."
Sanford, 47, was thrust into the national spotlight last summer when her husband publicly admitted a passionate affair with Maria Belen Chapur.
In the days before the admission, staffers for the governor told reporters he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail, when in reality he was visiting Chapur in Buenos Aires.
"The bottom line is this: I've been unfaithful to my wife," Mark Sanford said in an emotional news conference. "All I can say is that I apologize."
But that wasn't all he had to say. For the next several days, Sanford, 49, spoke to reporters about the intimate details of his affair with Chapur, telling the Associated Press that he and Chapur had "some kind of connection from the very beginning."
He also admitted affairs with other women.
Jenny Sanford became a kind of unwitting heroine for many women, who applauded her rare decision not to stand next to her husband as he publicly admitted his indiscretions.
"I wasn't thinking of anything other than what was the right thing to do for me and my family," she said.
There were questions about her husband's ability to stay faithful from the very beginning.
Sanford said she found it refreshing that her husband was honest with her about his thoughts on fidelity before they were married but that she walked down the aisle believing she was entering into a committed marriage.
"He said, 'I just have some nagging doubt about if I can be faithful for my entire life,'" she said. "I said, 'Maybe we should call off the wedding because that's what marriage is, a vow of fidelity.'"
But in the end, she said, the governor was able to reassure her of his commitment to their relationship.
Sanford said she had known for months that her husband was sleeping with his Argentinean "soul mate" after finding a letter in January 2009 that confirmed the affair.
"I felt very trapped because of the house we lived in and the job my husband had," she said. "I would rather have kept it quiet if I could and resolve it peacefully and quietly."
Sanford said she offered her husband a contract: she'd keep quiet if he'd end the affair. He refused.
"My first gut instinct was to forgive him, not to kick him out," Sanford said on "20/20" Friday. "But, I told him immediately that I wanted to reconcile, that I would forgive him, but that it had to be over, and the marriage had to be much better. I wasn't going to go back to more of the same."
But Mark Sanford insisted that Chapur was his "soul mate" and refused to end the affair; something Sanford called "morally offensive."