Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) is getting extremely deep and personal Friday afternoon on Facebook. In a lengthy note to constituents regarding a new lawsuit being brought against him by his shrew of an ex-wife, Jenny, he lays out his laundry list of problems. Among them: He appears to be calling it quits with Belen Chapur, the Argentinian journalist with whom he fell in love with and had an extramarital affair.
At the moment, he’s still fighting with Jenny regarding the custody of their kids. Shockingly, Sanford says he learned about the lawsuit through the media. He’s being summoned to the courtroom Monday. This time around, he’s being asked to undergo psychiatric evaluations and to “restrain” from doing illegal drugs or drinking to excess in the presence of a child.
To which Sanford says, “I have never taken any illegal drug in my life. I did not drink in high school or college and though I do drink now, my consumption is so limited that my friends give me a hard time about it. I will have but one beer or two when out at a social occasion.”
Sanford and his ex-wife divorced in 2010. The affair occurred in June of 2009. He was a congressman from 1995-2001, then a governor from 2003 until 2011 and again a congressman since last year.
Much of Friday’s long, emotional and religious outpouring over Facebook is dedicated to what he describes as no visitation with his children even though his ex-wife already has full custody.
Three graphs are incredibly striking. The first of which almost sounds suicidal.
“I cannot do this anymore. In all life there comes a point wherein lines must be drawn in the way that we attempt to respond in ways that don’t invite more in the way of conflict and add more in the way of modeling Christ’s humility in giving in every instance. I’ll never get that mix right, none of us do, but I believe it’s what we are to pursue in all of our responses to the inevitable reality of conflict in our lives.”
And this on why he’s spilling his guts to voters and what he plans to do about fighting for the custody of his children:
“So here are a few thoughts that hit me: One, in as much as you sign my paycheck and you have elected me to represent you in Washington, I think I owe you my thinking on this personal, but now public matter. More than at any time in my life, I believe I am subject to not just the laws of God, but the authority of my fellow man.
Two, I am going to get a lawyer to defend me on this case. I will instruct them not to fight back, to work to de-escalate and defuse and to look for measured justice and an end to controversy. At the time of the divorce I did not get a lawyer because I could not imagine standing in a court room with one in some adversarial form against the mother of our boys. Since then, and almost as clock work over the last four and one half years since the divorce, unfortunately there has been either the threat of lawsuit or actual lawsuit about every six months. In every instance I have either settled, represented myself or gotten two longtime friends to help me in responding. I have always tried to quiet the matter because at so many different levels I wanted to do anything to avoid conflict. I didn’t want to further hurt or embarrass the boys, Jenny, the people I had once represented…or even myself with more talk on my personal life. In fact more public conflict after the events of five years ago was the last thing in the world I wanted.”
Sanford dishes about their divorce settlement — incredibly, he says he literally gave his ex-wife the farm.
“I just folded all the cards in giving Jenny what she wanted at that time. She wanted a certain financial number that I didn’t have, and so I gave her pieces of our family farm that my dad and mom assembled in the 1950’s and 60’s. They were obviously not ‘marital assets’ normally divided in a divorce, but the only way I could manage to get to her number. She wanted full custody of the boys, I gave it. She wanted full control of their custodial accounts which were very significant in size, I gave it.”
He also eventually (toward the bottom) writes that there is an intrigue surrounding his relationship with Chapur where none ought to exist:
“The younger boys have never spent a night housed under the same roof with Belen and with the exception of one night and a major conversation that lasted well into that night, the same holds true for the older boys. I was primarily motivated to do so by a love for the boys and wanting to go to great lengths to never again put them in an uncomfortable spot. I was also motivated by fear because there was very frequently a consequence in not being allowed to see the boys if I did something my former wife disliked.
No relationship can stand forever this tension of being forced to pick between the one you love and your own son or daughter, and for this reason Belen and I have decided to call off the engagement. Maybe there will be another chapter when waters calm with Jenny, but at this point the environment is not conducive to building anything given no one would want to be caught in the middle of what’s now happening. Belen is a remarkably wonderful woman who I have always loved and I will be forever grateful for not only the many years we have known and loved each other, but the last six very tough ones wherein she has encouraged me and silently borne its tribulations with her ever warm and kind spirit.”
Memo to Jenny: He cheated on you. Get over it. It seems possible your sons might want both a mother and a father, whether you like him or not.
Read the letter in full here.