Without any personal acquaintance with Sinclair, Brooks said she interpreted her early proclamation of Strauss-Kahn's innocence "as a sign they have a pretty strong bond." Brooks said that after almost 20 years of marriage, "she's devoted her life to him. You're asking her to reject her whole identity and sense of self and everything great he's done in the past 10 years, politically trying to bail out the world's economy. You're asking her to say it was not all worthwhile and was a horrible joke."
One of the first political wives to publicly support a husband accused of straying from his marriage vows was Lee Hart, after Sen. Gary Hart, D-Colo., in 1987 admitted to being on a boat called "Monkey Business" with a young woman named Donna Rice. "When Gary says nothing happened, nothing happened," she asserted.
In more recent times, Suzanne Craig remained calm and composed when then-Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, addressed allegations he'd propositioned a man in a Minneapolis airport bathroom stall on June 11, 2007.
In 1992, Hillary Clinton, then a Yale-trained Arkansas lawyer, went on a PR offensive, appearing on CBS' "60 Minutes," to address allegations that her husband, then-Gov. Bill Clinton, D-Ark., had cheated on her. That's the interview in which she famously said: "I'm not sitting here, some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette," before blaming the infidelity accusations on "a vast right-wing conspiracy" seeking to derail her husband's presidential candidacy.
Some political wives have forgiven their husband's carnal sins. Wendy Vitter, wife of Sen. David Vitter, R-La., defended her marriage in July 2007, after her husband's name appeared on a Washington, D.C., madam's call list.
"To forgive is not always the easy choice, but it was the right choice for me," she said.
Cathy Paladino, wife of 2010 New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, said she forgave her husband after their 29-year-old son died in a car accident and Paladino confessed not only to an affair, but to fathering a love-child with the woman. In an interview with The New York Times, Cathy Paladino said, "When you lose a child, everything that seems so important, or that you would find disagreeable -- it doesn't matter."
Often, these wives cannot sever emotional bonds to their husbands.
"A lot of women feel the husband has been on their side for certain things that we don't know about,with financial support, emotional support, being good to them in some ways," Then said.
In some cases, when the initial shock wears off, wives feel betrayed. Dina Matos McGreevey, stood zombie-like, by her husband, then-Gov. Jim McGreevey of New Jersey, in August 2004 when he admitted he'd slept with a man, was gay and was resigning. She subsequently divorced him. In a 2007 book, she revealed she never would have married McGreevey, nor had a child with him, had she known he was gay.
"I thought it was the American dream, and it turned out to be a nightmare," she told Diane Sawyer on ABC's "Good Morning America."
When wives "begin to see that the behavior of their partner has actually been that destructive, that's when you quite often will have an internal collapse, where they fall apart, become depressed, where they feel like they've been used," Kirschner said.