Even if he had asked her to, first lady Jenny Sanford said she would not have stood by her cheating man, Gov. Mark Sanford, as he publicly confessed in June to an affair with an Argentine woman.
At 10 p.m. today, the first lady opens up during a Barbara Walters' special about life in the wake of her husband's affair and its impact on her family.
Jenny Sanford is one of Walters' picks for "The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009."
The others include "Jon & Kate Plus 8" mother Kate Gosselin; former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, star NFL quarterback Brett Favre, FOX News host Glenn Beck; and Michael Jackson's three children.
In interview excerpts ABC released Tuesday, Jenny Sanford said her husband's admission to a year-long romantic relationship with another woman hasn't hurt her sense of self.
"It's been a crazy year. . . . Certainly his actions hurt me, and they caused consequences for me, but they don't in any way take away my own self-esteem. They reflect poorly on him," Jenny Sanford told Walters.
Jenny Sanford said she learned of her husband's infidelity in January. When school ended, Jenny Sanford said she asked her husband to steer clear of her and the couple's four sons - as well as the other woman, Maria Belen Chapur - for a month.
"What people didn't know was that I had asked Mark to leave . . . without permission to see his woman in Argentina or to see her anywhere, and he was to have no contact with the boys or myself for 30 days. And my hope was that he would wake up from whatever he was in the throes of and maybe see what he might lose," Jenny Sanford said in the interview.
Instead, the two-term Republican governor embarked on a secret trip to Argentina to visit Chapur. He told his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.
After his public confession, a majority of S.C. senators and House members called on Sanford to resign. But the governor refused.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Mark Sanford called Chapur his "soul mate" but said he was trying to fall back in love with the first lady.
"It hurt," Jenny Sanford said of the soul-mate comment.
Now, a panel of House members is weighing whether to impeach the embattled governor, once thought to be a possible Republican presidential contender.
Jenny Sanford has moved out of the Governor's Mansion in Columbia along with the couple's four sons to a beach house on Sullivan's Island. The governor visits the boys on the weekends, Jenny Sanford told Walters.
The first lady also is penning a memoir entitled "Staying True" due out in April.
She is scheduled to appear in an hourlong interview with Walters in April in conjunction with the book's release.
Reach Smith at (803) 771-8658.