Jan. 20, 2012 -- Reacting to his strong denials of her allegations that he sought an "open marriage," Newt Gingrich's ex-wife Marianne told ABC News, "My story is the truth."
She said she was disappointed to be told of Gingrich's angry denial on Thursday's night's CNN debate.
"If he had really changed, he could have stepped up and said he was sorry. He never has," she said in a phone interview.
As to why decided to speak now, Mrs. Gingrich said, "With everything that's going on, it's time for me to speak and get my information out that's truthful, rather than it being hearsay and innuendo and many other things."
In an interview with ABC News she recounted details of the break-up of her marriage but also said she had some fond memories of her 18 years with Newt, especially when they had little money and not much power.
"Newt and I spent 18 years basically becoming a partnership as well as a marriage and we really had a lot of fun and it was an exciting time," she said. "It really took the two of us to get through the barrage of the politics that was in Washington as we tried to change things for the better."
But she said Gingrich saw politics as an illusion.
"When Newt and I first started talking about politics, he said, 'King Kong was 3'6" but that is not what you see on the movie screen. You see a much larger figure," she recalled.
"I don't think that you can have illusions, create illusions and be saying things publicly and be doing something privately," she added in a pointed reference to Gingrich's six-year long affair while still married to Marianne. She says shortly after he asked for a divorce in 1999, he went to Pennsylvania to deliver a speech on family values.
"I said, 'Newt, how can you ask me for a divorce and then only a few days later give a speech on family values? How can you do that? And he said, "People need to hear what I have to say. It doesn't matter what I did," she recalled.
But Gingrich's two daughters, from his first marriage, Kathy Lubbers and Jackie Cushman, said their father and Marianne had "a difficult marriage, they had a difficult divorce."
Provided by the campaign to rebut Marianne's allegations, they said that while they had no firsthand knowledge of intimate details, their father is now a different person than he was during his marriage to Marianne.
"I can tell you that he is very sad that it ended the way it did, and he also I think has become much stronger," Jackie Cushman told ABC News.
"He's grown, he's gotten closer to God. His faith in God has grown," she said.
Her sister Kathy added, "Our father clearly has the character that's needed to lead this country."
Marianne Gingrich agrees her ex-husband has some strong qualities.
"I don't have just bad things to say," she told ABC News. "I think many things that Newt is capable of and has done in the past prove that he is a smart man. And whatever contribution he will make to this country, people need to make their decisions based on information that is truthful."