|Then-South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford arrives for a dinner held for the National Governors Association by U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, in this February 22, 2009 file photo. (Reuters/JONATHAN ERNST)
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford said on Sunday he is engaged to marry his Argentine girlfriend, Maria Belen Chapur.
“Yes, it’s true and I stand by my statement,” Sanford told Reuters by telephone.
He referred to a statement given to CNN in which he said, “Yes, we are engaged, and I’m both happy and excited for what that means. I have long expressed my feelings for her, she’s a wonderful person. My closest friends have met and love her, and I look forward to introducing her to still many more that have yet to do so.”
In the summer of 2009, then-Governor Sanford disappeared from his office for a week on a trip to Argentina to visit Chapur. Aides said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. When Sanford returned, he gave a tearful, State House press conference admitting he had been unfaithful to his wife and calling Chapur his “soul mate.”
He served out the rest of his term until January 2011.
Sanford and his wife, Jenny Sanford, were divorced in 2010.