By Tamara Luch and Evan Berland, Associated Press Writers
June 30, 2009, 1 a.m.
Now Sanford is attempting to salvage his personal and professional lives. He and wife Jenny, parents of four sons, say they are trying to reconcile their 20-year marriage but have not been sharing the same house for several weeks. Jenny Sanford found out about the relationship in January when she discovered a letter the governor had written to his mistress.
She did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday, but she told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that her husband had repeatedly sought permission to visit Chapur.
"I said absolutely not. It's one thing to forgive adultery; it's another thing to condone it," she said.
The governor said he met Chapur in Punta Del Este, Uruguay, in 2001 after his final term in Congress and before his first term as governor. He said the two struck up an e-mail correspondence after meeting on a dance floor _ a chance encounter during which he counseled her into the night about her failing marriage.
For the next seven-plus years, Sanford said, the two exchanged messages, sometimes sporadically.
They met in New York two more times in 2008: two nights in Manhattan in September and three nights in the Hamptons in November. Each time, Sanford claims he flew coach, paid for it himself, paid for the hotels in cash and told his staff he was reachable by cell phone.
"At that point I was very careful, everything was paid for in cash," Sanford said. "And you won't find a credit card record."
In early 2009, after Jenny Sanford discovered the affair, the couple went into counseling. She has told The Associated Press that he asked her several times to visit the mistress and she refused.
But the governor claims he wanted to end the affair in person and, with his wife's permission, went to New York with a "trusted spiritual adviser" serving as chaperone. The three went to church and dinner together and parted ways the same night.
But he visited Chapur again in Argentina on June 18, the trip that brought the whole affair to light.