Just two days before the South Carolina primary, Newt Gingrich‘s ex-wife Marianne has given an interview to ABC News wherein she claims his positions on marriage and family values do not line up with how he was during their 18-year marriage, which ended in 1999.
Marianne says that when Newt admitted to her about a six-year affair with a Congressional aide, he asked her if she would share him with the other woman, Callista, who is now Gingrich’s wife.
“I just stared at him and he said, ‘Callista doesn’t care what I do. He wanted an open marriage and I refused,” Marianne tells ABC News.
Marianne also details how Newt was conducting this affair while publicly condemning President Clinton for his lack of moral leadership, Newt filed for divorce just months after she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and that her relationship with Newt began before his divorce from his first wife Jackie was finalized. Oh, and he left Jackie while she was undergoing treatment for cancer.
Newt responded to this interview on Thursday morning’s (Jan. 19) “Today Show,” saying, “I’m not going to say anything negative about Marianne. My two daughters, Kathy and Jackie, have sent a letter to the president of ABC News saying from a family perspective, they think this is totally wrong. They think that ABC should not air anything like this. And that intruding into family things that are more than a decade old are simply wrong … I think that my two daughters are very credible on my character, I think the people who have known me a long time are credible on my character. I think we have lots of folks willing to sspeak on this, I’m not going to.”
The letter of which he speaks that his daughters wrote says, “The failure of a marriage is a terrible and emotional experience for everyone involved” and that their father “regrets any pain he may have caused in the past to people he loves.”
The full interview with Marianne Gingrich airs Thursday night on “Nightline” at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT.