The bridge scandal that has embroiled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie caused some “soul searching” that led him to spend “a lot more time at home than I ever have,” the governor told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview.
“It’s brought me closer to my family. It’s brought me to reevaluate some of the way I spend my time. I think you can get caught up in this world and this life so easily,” Christie said.
The governor said he’s rediscovered something about his home life: “I really like my family.”
Christie and his wife, Mary Pat, have four children, born between 1993 and 2003. The scandal has led his children to support him, and to some interesting moments at home, Christie said.
The governor has been embroiled in controversy since it was alleged that top aides closed key lanes to the George Washington Bridge to create a massive traffic jam in Fort Lee, N.J., in some kind of political punishment of the town’s Democratic mayor.
“Right after it happened, our oldest son was home on break, and he asked me, ‘Did you do this?’ It was a tough question that your son would ask you, and I said, ‘No, I didn’t,’ and he said, ‘Good, I’m glad,’” Christie said. “My oldest daughter asks me, just, all the time, ‘Are you okay?’”
Christie seems to have a more sober outlook on life and mortality, in general.
“I’m on the back nine,” Christie said, alluding to the second half of a golf course.
“I’m talking about my life, not my career,” Christie said. “When you’re younger, you always feel like you’re invincible and life’s never going to be over. You get to be 50, and you understand that there’s an end point coming. You don’t know when, but it’s coming.”
Mary Pat, who also spoke with Diane Sawyer at the Christies’ home, said she was worried about her husband’s health — although not because of the stress of the scandal.
“Not because of this issue at all. No,” Mrs. Christie said. “I mean, a year ago, I was worried about his health, but he’s very healthy right now.”
She didn’t specify what caused her to worry, but a year ago Christie’s weight was at an all-time high. Since then, the governor underwent gastric banding surgery that he’s called a “life-changing decision.” Christie now openly boasts about the inches that have had to be trimmed from his suits.
Update: An earlier version of this post stated incorrectly that Gov. Christie has said he’s lost over 100 lbs since his surgery. The governor has not specified how much weight he has lost.