Real Life 'Good Wives' Blindsided and Betrayed
Silda Wall Spitzer
WIFE OF FORMER N.Y. GOVERNOR ELIOT SPITZER
"She and Eliot are focused on their family, and all of them are resilient, strong and doing well," a friend says of the couple, who stayed united after the shocking 2008 revelations that, during his time as governor, Eliot Spitzer was a client of a prostitution ring. Two days after the story broke in the New York Times, he resigned with his wife, with whom he has three daughters, at his side. She's now working for a woman-owned hedge fund and at Children for Children, a nonprofit she started to encourage kids to volunteer. Eliot works for his family's real estate business and teaches poli-sci at City College of New York. "All of us face challenges in life," Silda told Vogue in March. "But we have to use our internal power to move forward and try to respond the best we can, keeping in clear sight what is important to us."
EX-WIFE OF FORMER N.Y.C. MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI
She couldn't believe it was happening to her. "We've seen these situations: a person with a lot of power surrounded by fawning courtiers ... then a scandal. People are surprised that the spouse was able to live in denial," says Donna Hanover. But in May of 2000, when Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced on TV that he was ending his 16-year marriage—and would spend more time with "very good friend" Judith Nathan—Hanover was caught off guard by his going public. "I had hoped to save my marriage," she told the press hours later when she emerged from Gracie Mansion, where she continued to live while Giuliani was in office. The mayor stayed with friends.
Hanover, an actress and film critic, tried to present a brave face. But, she says, "no makeup can disguise deep sorrow." She found that focusing on the couple's two children—Andrew, now 23, and Caroline, 20—"gives you strength." After her divorce was finalized in 2002, Hanover reconnected with her high school sweetheart Ed Oster, a lawyer whom she married in 2003 (Giuliani and Nathan also wed that year). She and Ed have seen The Good Wife: "We cuddled up on the bed to watch." She's also been moved by other situations like hers that ended differently. "I have tremendous admiration for people like Silda Wall Spitzer and Elizabeth Edwards. They are both amazing women."
WIFE OF FORMER N.C. SENATOR JOHN EDWARDS
"They are not getting a divorce. Period," a relative tells PEOPLE. "She wants to keep her family together." Elizabeth recently opened a furniture shop in Chapel Hill, N.C. That fellow hauling the inventory? John (below, leaving the 2008 presidential race). Currently awaiting the findings of a grand jury investigation into payments made to campaign worker Rielle Hunter (with whom he had an affair and may have fathered a daughter), Edwards is also spending more time with his and Elizabeth's two youngest kids and honing his skills in the kitchen. "John is cooking up a storm," says the Edwards relative, "and has become really good. They've got the time now."
WIFE OF S.C. GOVERNOR MARK SANFORD
As of late September, Jenny Sanford said she's been too busy to watch the The Good Wife, but called it "a bit creepy" that Julianna Margulies's character is, like her, a Chicago native and Georgetown grad. In June—after notoriously issuing a statement that he was "hiking along the Appalachian Trail"—her husband publicly admitted to an affair with an Argentine woman he called his "soulmate." By August Jenny had moved out of the governor's mansion with their four sons. Now at work on a memoir, Staying True (due out May 2010), she promises some levity in her telling: "I have fun behind-the-scenes political stories that will give many a chuckle."
EX-WIFE OF FORMER TENNESSEE STATE SENATOR JEFF MILLER
When Jeff Miller told his wife in 2005 that after 15 years and three kids he wanted out of their marriage, something didn't smell right. "He was so religious and so conservative," says the Cleveland, Tenn., gift-shop owner. But there had been rumors around Nashville that her husband was involved with a staffer. "I started to get suspicious." (Jeff Miller, who declined to seek reelection in 2006, said he and the staffer were just friends at the time; they are now married.) Even after Brigitte filed for divorce, the couple tried counseling and going out to dinner on "date nights." "I would almost be embarrassed sitting there. Everybody knew what had gone on. I thought they were judging me, saying, 'Why is she with him?' It's not as easy as everybody thinks to walk away." Having recently emerged from a two-year depression—"I was on my couch, just getting by," she says—she doesn't second-guess the choices other political-scandal survivors make. "I don't judge those women at all. Not anymore."
EX-WIFE OF FORMER N.J. GOVERNOR JIM MCGREEVEY
"Is it the same as having your husband cheat with a woman? Absolutely not," says Dina Matos. In 2004, when a former adviser with whom he was rumored to have had an affair threatened him with a sexual harassment suit, Jim McGreevey stepped down as governor and announced, "I am a gay American." Says his ex-wife: "Infidelity is painful, no matter what. But this person was an imposter. Was that kiss real? You question everything." Today Matos, executive director of the CARES Foundation, an advocacy group for Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, and McGreevey, a seminary student living with his new partner, share custody of daughter Jacqueline, 7. Five years on, she's still tentative about falling in love. "I'm hopeful, but this has affected my ability to trust. You think you found your soulmate; once someone betrays that, it's difficult to trust again. "