Jenny and Mark Sanford
Photo: AP
In June 2009, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford seemed to have disappeared without a trace. After he told his staff he'd gone hiking on the Appalachian Trial, those close to the governor became concerned when no one had heard from him in five days. His wife, however, suspected Mark was much farther from home.

Six months earlier, Jenny Sanford says she discovered her husband was having an affair with an Argentinian woman, Maria Belen Chapur. "I found a letter that Mark had written to his lover," she says. "I literally was in shock. My stomach felt gut-punched."

Though Jenny says Mark agreed to end the affair, he pleaded with Jenny to let him see Maria one last time to say goodbye. Jenny eventually gave in, but asked for a chaperone to accompany him on the visit to New York.

Still, Jenny says that goodbye was not enough for Mark, who continued to pine for his mistress. Jenny then asked Mark to leave for a month, hoping it would give him time to reflect on their marriage. Instead, he flew to Argentina to be with the woman he called his soul mate. "I was hoping he was on the Appalachian Trail," Jenny says. "I was hoping he was alone, too."

FROM: Former South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford and Gavin de Becker
Published on July 22, 2010

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