The latest Republican debate was held as Newt Gingrich’s second ex-wife spoke out for the first time since their 1999 divorce. Speaking to ABC News, Marianne Gingrich said Newt Gingrich asked her if she would consent to being in an open marriage so he could continue seeing his mistress at the time, Callista, who is now his current wife.
Marianne Gingrich: “I said to him, ’We’ve been married a long time.’ And he said, 'Yes, but you want me all to yourself. Callista doesn't care what I do.’”
Brian Ross: “What was he saying to you, do you think?”
Marianne Gingrich: “He was asking to have an open marriage, and I refused.”
Brian Ross: “He wanted an open marriage.”
Marianne Gingrich: “Yeah, that I accept the fact that he—he has somebody else in his life.”
Brian Ross: “And you said?”
Marianne Gingrich: “'No. No. That is not a marriage.'”
Marianne Gingrich said Newt Gingrich made the request shortly after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Gingrich’s previous wife, whom he had left to marry Marianne two decades earlier, has said Gingrich asked her for a divorce while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer. During the South Carolina debate, Gingrich lashed out at moderator John King of CNN for asking him about his ex-wife’s claims.
Newt Gingrich: “I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office, and I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that. To take an ex-wife and make it, two days before the primary, a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.”