In U.S. scandals, wives don't stand by their men

Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:02am EDT
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By Tabassum Zakaria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Standing by your man suddenly seems to be going out of fashion for some American women in the public eye.

This month, the wives of at least two famous men caught cheating -- sexually and financially -- very openly declared that their spouses' behavior was actually quite scandalous.

Ruth Madoff, reacting to her husband Bernard being sentenced to 150 years in prison for bilking investors with a massive Ponzi scheme, said she felt "embarrassed," "ashamed" and "betrayed" by a man she had known for half a century.

"The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man whom I have known for all these years," she said in a statement shortly after her husband's sentencing on Monday.

Last week, after South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford tearfully admitted to an affair with a woman in Argentina, his wife Jenny -- who was not by his side at his public confession -- left little doubt about her feelings.

"His career is not a concern of mine," she told reporters at a vacation home. "He's going to have to worry about that. I'm worried about my family and the character of my children."

Political analysts said the new attitude reflects generational and social change -- at least for some women in the United States.

"The old model didn't work," said Karlyn Bowman, an analyst of U.S. public opinion at the American Enterprise Institute.   Continued...

<p>South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford arrives with his wife Jenny at a White House dinner held by U.S. President Barack Obama for the National Governors Association in Washington, in this file photo taken February 22, 2009. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst</p>