Jenny Sanford wants us to know she's doing fine after divorcing her cheating hubby, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, and that she might trust a man enough to fall in love again.
"I just have to make sure I pick someone who maybe loves me back," she tells Dr. Phil, the TV therapist, in a show airing Thursday.
Actually, the former first lady has already found a new beau, and went very public with him in Washington on May 1. Meanwhile, her ex spent the May 8 weekend in the Florida Keys with his "Argentine Soulmate" mistress
, reports the Associated Press. It was that affair, including Mark Sanford's secret tryst with Maria Belen Chapur in Buenos Aires last summer, his subsequent declarations of love and refusal to give her up, that wrecked the Sanfords' 20-year marriage.
Jenny Sanford became something of a heroine when the affair became public, and she chose not to appear with him at his too-much-information news conference. She moved out of the governor's mansion with their four sons and worked to save the marriage. "I did the best I could in the marriage and he didn't really pull his part," she told Dr. Phil.
And might she be able to trust another man in the future? asked the shrink. "I can't predict anything, but I think you have to choose to be open to it again. I've chosen to move on, and I've chosen to be happy about it. I loved, and I gave fully in that marriage. There's no reason in the world why I can't do it again. I just have to make sure I pick someone who maybe loves me back."
Perhaps she's already found him, because it's clear she's dipped her toes into the bay of bliss with Georgia businessman Clay Boardman, whom she met at a speech she gave in Charleston two months ago. They were much in evidence at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner and at the exclusive Bloomberg/Vanity Fair after-party at the French ambassador's home.
"We're happy to be here, and we're happy to be together," Sanford, in a slinky blue frock with a plunging neckline, told The Washington Post, which reported in detail on their body language:
"His arms were around her waist as they talked with another couple. And then they were holding hands. And then his arm was draped the length of her back, his hand gently grazing her behind... If you assumed this sudden relationship was a rebound/revenge charade -- well, half of the professional thespians in that room would not be capable of such a good acting job. We're totally buying it."
Sanford, who achieved a measure of fame, fortune and revenge writing and promoting "Staying True," her post-separation memoir, appears on Dr. Phil with another betrayed wife, Cindy Shackelford. In March, Shackelford won a $9 million alienation of affection judgment
against her husband's lover in North Carolina, after 33 years of marriage and two children.
When Dr. Phil asked Sanford if she still loved her ex, she said, "I love the Mark Sanford I knew, the one I fell in love with when we married. Can I ever be married to him again? Absolutely not." But she concedes he's a much better father to their sons, now 17, 16, 14 and 11. "He sees the children more now than he ever, ever has."
And what about his relationship to Chapur, the Argentine mistress?
"Frankly, I make a point of not asking. I have no idea," said Sanford, who may have taped the Dr. Phil show before the recent reunion with his lover. "I've not heard that he's with her. And like I said, he's with the boys almost every weekend."
"Almost" may be the operative word here. The Associated Press is reporting that the governor revealed during a press conference on an unrelated matter that he spent last weekend with Maria Belen Chapur, leading to speculation that their private time in the Florida Keys may be evidence of rekindled romance now that he's single.
Both Shackelford and Sanford tell Dr. Phil they would have preferred the truth from their philandering husbands.
"I would have respected him more if he had just said, 'I don't love you any more, and I want a divorce,'" said Shackelford, who earlier in the show joked, "I would much rather he buy a red Corvette or something."
Added Sanford: "Listening to the press conference, and the stuff he said, I think he might have been respected more if he had come home and said, 'Well, I fell in love with a lady over here,' but he never said that."