Sanford broke the news on Facebook. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
In an epic Facebook post, Rep. Mark Sanford announced he is calling off his engagement with Maria Belén Chapur because of the stress of an ongoing custody dispute with his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford.
The South Carolina Republican famously left the state as governor for a secret tryst with Chapur while claiming he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. When he was caught, the incident interrupted an ascendant political career and ended his marriage before he made a comeback.
In the 2,346-word Facebook post, Sanford details the stress of his ongoing custody disputes with his ex-wife, including a new suit seeking to limit his access to one of his sons — something Sanford said he already doesn’t have because she has full custody and has been limiting his access already.
“I cannot do this anymore,” he says at one point. Here’s a key passage:
“In their summons I am ‘restrained’ from the following:
“Consuming or being under the influence of illegal drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol in the presence, or while responsible for, the care of the minor child.” This really is crazy. Why would one throw out the need for restraint if it were not a problem – or if one did not want to raise the specter of a problem? On this one all I can ask is that you talk to anyone who has seen or known me over my entire 54 years in the Low Country. 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.
“Restrained from entering or attempting to enter the property of Plaintiff.” We have already been through this with the Super bowl and my taking our youngest son Blake home from a Super bowl party two years ago when his mom was out of town. I made the wrong call (though I thought the right call as a dad to be with him and not to just drop him off) and have never set foot on her property since then. I don’t know why this is being brought back up again.
“Exposing the minor child overnight to a member of the opposite sex not related by blood who could be reasonably construed as a paramour.” Though Jenny herself has certainly not lived up to this clause it is clearly aimed at me given near everyone knows about Belen and in that regard it seems designed to create intrigue where none exists. 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.”
If the Palmetto State bachelor needs help completing the catharsis, maybe this Spotify playlist compiled by the Roll Call newsroom will help.
Sanford Steps Out With Fiancee at CNN Party
Fantastic Sanford-Appalachian Trail Gala Timing
Mark Sanford, Baby He Was Born to Run
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