Newt Gingrich & Wife
Revenge is a dish best served cold. And former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's wife Marianne, no doubt, has been dishing out some very frigid servings in a couple of headline-grabbing interviews. Up to this point, the former Mrs. Gingrich had been fairly circumspect about her relationship with Newt. But now, just two days before the South Carolina primary, she has talked in a tell-all fashion to both ABC's Brian Ross and the "Washington Post."
Ross's interview, which was previewed on Thursday's "The View", ran in its entirely on "Nightline." In the interview Mrs. Gingrich, who was married to the Speaker for eighteen years, said her husband wanted an "open marriage," explaining that he asked her to share him with his mistress Callista, a Congressional aide. Marianne Gingrich refused. Callista is now the former Speaker's third wife.
Marianne Gingrich also described her "shock" at Gingrich's behavior, including the fact that he conducted his affair with Callista "in my bedroom in our apartment in Washington." "He always called me at night," she recalled, "and always ended with 'I love you.' Well, she was listening." At the same time he was having the affair, Gingrich was giving speeches across the country about the importance of family values.
In the Ross interview, Marianne also said Newt initiated divorce proceedings just months after she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. "He was advised by the doctor when I was sitting there that I was not to be under stress. He knew," she said. Gingrich divorced his first wife, Jackie, as she was being treated for cancer. His relationship with Marianne began while he was still married to Jackie but in divorce proceedings.
Marianne, who says she is a conservative Republican, claims she had spoken out at this time about her former husband because she does not think he has the moral character to be President. She also said that she was concerned derogatory things might be said about her during the campaign and wanted to get her side of their story out. Newt had never, she added, apologized to her or expressed regret for his behavior.
Some Newt supporters are already saying that Marianne was known as a difficult woman during their marriage and now is a typical bitter ex-wife. They also have theorized that although she has previously been discreet about the end of her marriage, the possibility of Gingrich being the Republican candidate and her rival becoming First Lady has made her lash out. Both of Gingrich's daughters from his first marriage have written ABC to ask them to spike the interview. Some supporters have also complained that ABC's running the interview so close to the primary, in which he is now leading, will help both Mitt Romney's chances and the President's.
Gingrich, who has converted to Catholicism, has made no secret that he has behaved badly in various ways in the past. But hearing exactly how badly from Marianne Gingrich is likely to concern many voters, especially women. I once met the ex- Mrs. Gingrich and found her, at that time, very calm when talking about her marriage.In fact, she told me she had backed away from a book deal because it meant she would have had to trash her ex-husband. Brian Ross also told the co-hosts on "The View" she seemed very measured during their interview. Obviously Marianne Gingrich believes that better than getting mad is finally getting even-and she has done it in a rather spectacular way.
Myrna Blyth is editor-in-chief of ThirdAge.
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