Newt Gingrich asked his ex-wife to agree to an “open marriage” so he could carry on an affair, Marianne Gingrich told ABC News in an exclusive interview set to air Thursday evening.
“He was asking to have an open marriage, and I refused,” Marianne said. He asked “that I accept the fact that he has somebody else in his life.” According to excerpts of the interview, Marianne expressed her “shock” at Newt Gingrich’s behavior, including learning that his affair with his current wife Callista took place “in my bedroom in our apartment in Washington.” Marianne told Esquire magazine in 2010 that Newt Gingrich asked her to tolerate the affair, and that she refused.
According to a scoop on the Drudge Report Wednesday evening, ABC News struggled over the timing of the interview. Brian Ross, who conducted the interview, told WMAL in Washington that the interview was conducted last Friday. The network didn’t want to air the interview the day before the South Carolina primary and settled on Thursday night, after a Republican presidential debate concludes.
Marianne said she wants to come forward now because she wants voters to know the truth before heading to the polls. And the interview comes just as polls show Newt Gingrich gaining steam ahead of the weekend’s primary. The tough interview might be padded by the news that Rick Perry is dropping out of the race and giving his endorsement to Gingrich.
Watch the interview excerpt below:
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com