A Thursday night ABC “Nightline” interview with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s second ex-wife, Marianne Gingrich, is set to reveal that Gingrich asked her for an open marriage so that he could carry on an affair with one of his staffers, current wife Calista Gingrich.
The allegation was revealed by ABC’s Brian Ross on “Morning Majority,” a radio show on WMAL in Washington, D.C. The interview, set to air on Thursday night, could perhaps have an immediate impact on the contest for the Republican presidential nomination.
“I think we start by knowing that what an ex-wife has to say we all take with a grain of salt, I hope, because that’s what ex-wives can be known for,” Ross said. “But I think the most dramatic thing from the point of view of people looking at Gingrich in his campaign about character, and that he’s asked for God’s forgiveness and that he believes in the sanctity of marriage, is her allegation that what Gingrich wanted from her was an open marriage.”
“He came to [Marianne],” Ross explained, “and said, ‘I want to stay married to you and still have an affair with Calista, his current wife. And according to Marianne, he said ‘You need to share me,’ and she said ‘I don’t want to share,’ and the marriage ended.”
Ross said that efforts to interview Marianne Gingrich date back to November, when reporters sought more information about an aborted FBI investigation in which she was accused of trying to collect money to buy influence from her husband.
Ross explained that he didn’t secure the interview until last Friday, and that’s why the timing of its broadcast is set so close to Saturday’s primary contest in South Carolina.
As far as the timing was concerned, Ross said the interview will air Thursday night in order to adhere to the ABC’s “24-hour rule,” which mandates that news that may change the course of an election won’t be aired in the 24 hours before the election.
“She said she wanted to come forward now because she said these are things the voters should know,” Ross added.
Ross said that has far as Gingrich’s tenure as speaker of the House was concerned, his ex-wife said he acted in an ethical matter.