Missouri Governor Admits to Extramarital Affair, Denies Blackmail Accusations

Eric Greitens / Getty Images
Eric Greitens / Getty Images
• January 11, 2018 11:11 am


Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R.) confirmed late Wednesday night that he had an extramarital affair "a few years ago," but denied allegations that he threatened to blackmail the woman to keep quiet.

Greitens' admission came after KMOV-TV in St. Louis reported that he had an extramarital sexual encounter with his former hairdresser in March 2015, the year before he was elected governor.

KMOV-TV obtained an audio recording of a woman, who the network did not name, saying that she had a sexual encounter with Greitens, 43, in his St. Louis home, and that he tried to blackmail her to prevent the encounter from going public.

The woman's ex-husband provided the recording to KMOV-TV and alleged that Greitens took a photo of her bound, blindfolded, and partly undressed without her consent and threatened to use it as blackmail if she told anyone about the sexual encounter.

The woman says in the recorded phone conversation that Greitens apologized after the encounter-and told her he had deleted the picture.

The ex-husband told KMOV-TV that his marriage ended after his wife's affair with Greitens; the couple sought a divorce in March 2016. The man was on social media by Election Day in November 2016 calling Greitens a "homewrecker" and said he wanted to get in front of a story he believed would come out eventually.

"I am not after anything," the ex-husband told KMOV-TV. "I am not a part of politics. I am not a part of anything. I just want to move on with my life."

Some Missouri news outlets initially refrained from publishing stories about the ex-husband's claims because the woman declined to be interviewed or provide an on-the-record comment.

But they went ahead with the story after Greitens released statements on the matter. The Missouri governor confirmed the affair but denied any blackmail attempt.

"A few years ago, before Eric was elected governor, there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage," Greitens and his wife, Sheena, said in a joint statement. "This was a deeply personal mistake. Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately."

"While we would never have wished for this pain in our marriage, or the pain that this has caused others, with God's mercy Sheena has forgiven and we have emerged stronger," the couple added. "We understand that there will be some people who cannot forgive—but for those who can find it in your heart, Eric asks for your forgiveness, and we are grateful for your love, your compassion, and your prayers."

Greitens then released an additional statement from his wife.

Greitens also released a statement from his attorney, James F. Bennett, denying any allegations of blackmailing the unnamed woman to keep the affair quiet.

Published under: Missouri