Ex-Virginia governor talks about troubled marriage

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Ex-Virginia governor talks about troubled marriage
Former Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell was sentenced to one year and one day in prison during a sentencing hearing Friday afternoon.
RICHMOND, VA - AUGUST 18: Maureen McDonnell walks to her corruption trial at U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, August 18, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. McDonnell and her husband Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell are on trial for accepting gifts, vacations and loans from a Virginia businessman in exchange for helping his company. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 24: Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (2ndR) and his wife, Maureen (2nd-L) leave the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, on January 24, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. McDonnell and his wife Maureen pleaded not guilty to a 14 count criminal indictment from federal grand jury charging that the couple violated federal corruption laws by using their positions to benefit a wealthy businessman who gave them gifts and loans. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 24: Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen leave the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, on January 24, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. McDonnell and his wife Maureen pleaded not guilty to a 14 count criminal indictment from federal grand jury charging that the couple violated federal corruption laws by using their positions to benefit a wealthy businessman who gave them gifts and loans. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - AUGUST 29: Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell (C) leaves her trial at U.S. District Court house August 29, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. McDonnell and her husband, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, are on trial for accepting gifts, vacations and loans from a Virginia businessman in exchange for helping his company, Star Scientific (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 3: Maureen McDonell arrives separately from her husband as jury deliberations in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen, on September, 03, 2014 in Richmond, VA. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who was once on the short list of potential Republican vice presidential nominees, was sentenced to two years in prison by a federal judge in Alexandria on Tuesday.
RICHMOND, VA - AUGUST 29: Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell leaves his trial at U.S. District Court, August 29, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. McDonnell and his wife Maureen are on trial for accepting gifts, vacations and loans from a Virginia businessman in exchange for helping his company, Star Scientific. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA JULY 31: Witness Jonnie R. Williams Sr. departs the Spottswood W. Robinson III and Robert R. Merhige, Jr., Federal Courthouse following a day of testimony in a federal corruption charge against former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, in Richmond, Virginia, on Thursday, July 31, 2014. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 3: Former Governor Bob McDonnell departs the courthouse after a second day of jury deliberations in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen, on September, 03, 2014 in Richmond, VA. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 09: U.S. Army Sgt. Wesley Watkins of Union Bridge, Maryland, reads from Jill Biden's 'Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops' as Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (C) and his wife Maureen McDonnell visit the KinderCare Learning Center August 9, 2012 in Alexandria, Virginia. A 21-year veteran of the U.S. Army, Gov. McDonnell's visit to the center is part of KinderCare's Honoring the Troops program taking place at the end of August in Virginia and Maryland. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 09: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (C) and his wife Maureen McDonnell (3rd R) say hello to a young student while visiting the KinderCare Learning Center August 9, 2012 in Alexandria, Virginia. A 21-year veteran of the U.S. Army, Gov. McDonnell's visit to the center is part of KinderCare's Honoring the Troops program taking place at the end of August in Virginia and Maryland. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
In this courtroom sketch at the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell, center, and his wife, former first lady Maureen McDonnell, second from right, Judge James R. Spencer, left, presides during jury selection Monday, July 28, 2014, in Richmond, Va. Bob and Maureen McDonnell are charged in a 14-count indictment with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from the CEO of a dietary supplements company in exchange for helping promote his products. The defense team is gathered at a courtroom table and includes Victoria Taraktchian, John L. Brownlee, Robert McDonnell, Henry W. "Hank" Asbill, Marjorie Fargo, Maureen McDonnell, and William "Bill" Burck at left. Foreground figure, third from right, is Stephen Hauss. (AP Photo/Dana Verkouteren)
RICHMOND, VA - AUGUST 28: Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (C) leaves his trial at U.S. District Court with his son Bobby (R) August 28, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. McDonnell and his wife Maureen are on trial for accepting gifts, vacations and loans from a Virginia businessman in exchange for helping his company, Star Scientific. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - AUGUST 18: Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell walks to his corruption trial at U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, August 18, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. McDonnell and his wife Maureen are on trial for accepting gifts, vacations and loans from a Virginia businessman in exchange for helping his company. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - AUGUST 18: Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell walks to his corruption trial at U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, August 18, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. McDonnell and his wife Maureen are on trial for accepting gifts, vacations and loans from a Virginia businessman in exchange for helping his company. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - AUGUST 18: Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell walks to his corruption trial at U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, August 18, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. McDonnell and his wife Maureen are on trial for accepting gifts, vacations and loans from a Virginia businessman in exchange for helping his company. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, center, arrives at federal court with his attorneys, John Brownlee, left, and Henry Asbill, right, in Richmond, Va., Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. McDonnell presents his defense in his corruption trial today. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell , right, is swarmed by the media as he arrives at federal court in Richmond, Va., Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. McDonnell presents his defense today. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell, center, is flanked by daughters Rachel McDonnell, left, and Cailin Young, right, as they arrive at the federal courthouse in Richmond, Va,, Monday, July 28, 2014, on the first day of jury selection in the corruption trial of former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife in Richmond, Va. Bob and Maureen McDonnell are charged in a 14-count indictment with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from the CEO of a dietary supplements company in exchange for helping promote his products. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, left, is escorted out of Federal court by a security officer after a motions hearing in Richmond, Va., Monday, May 19, 2014. The Republican former governor and his wife are charged in a 14-count indictment with accepting more than $165,000 from Jonnie Williams, the former CEO of dietary supplements maker Star Scientific Inc., in exchange for helping promote his products. They have pleaded not guilty. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
RICHMOND, VA. - JANUARY 16: Virginia Governor-Elect Bob McDonnell with his wife Maureen, pause during the Pledge of Allegiance prior to being sworn in as the new governor of Virginia at the state capitol building in Richmond, Va. on January 16, 2010. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who was once on the short list of potential Republican vice presidential nominees, was sentenced to two years in prison by a federal judge in Alexandria on Tuesday.
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


By MATTHEW BARAKAT, LARRY O'DELL and ALAN SUDERMAN

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Former Gov. Bob McDonnell wrote a long, forlorn email to his wife three years ago trying to save his marriage, calling her his "soulmate," yet he also said he grew so weary of her yelling that he began taking refuge in his office late at night rather than go home.

McDonnell testified extensively about his troubled marriage Thursday at his public corruption trial. He and his wife, Maureen, are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his company's dietary supplements.

The McDonnells say their marriage was broken and that they were barely speaking, let alone engaged in a criminal conspiracy.

McDonnell choked up at various times, speaking in a melancholy tone and taking long pauses before answering questions from his lawyer. He became particularly emotional as he described what led him to write his wife on Labor Day 2011, after she had rejected his efforts to spend the weekend with her.

"I was heartbroken," he said, and worried "that this was maybe the end of my marriage."

He began the email "I love you" but said the weekend "was one of the lowest points of my life."

He apologized for being absent, but said "I am completely at a loss as to how to handle the fiery anger and hate from you that has become more and more frequent," he wrote.

Maureen McDonnell never responded, he testified. Meanwhile, he said he learned while preparing for the trial that she had been in contact with Williams four different times that day.

At first, he thought they shared a natural bond over dietary supplements - Maureen McDonnell had sold nutritional supplement for decades as a part-time business. She was crushed when he told her it would be inappropriate to continue selling vitamins as first lady, he said.

McDonnell testified that he doesn't believe his wife had an affair with Williams, but that they had developed an intense, emotional connection to which he had been oblivious.

The former governor's lawyers have argued McDonnell did nothing more for Williams than he would for any other Virginia businessman.

McDonnell said in April 2011, he told his wife they should start entertaining one or two couples at a time for dinner for the sake of "some sense of normalcy." Maureen suggested inviting Williams and his wife, Celeste.

"We were friendly," he said. "I wouldn't say at that point we were yet friends."

He said his daughter Cailin dropped by, and the topic of her upcoming wedding came up. A couple of weeks later, McDonnell said he learned Williams wanted to give Cailin a wedding gift - $15,000 to cover catering costs.

"I had to think about it," McDonnell said. Ultimately, he concluded that it was a gift to his daughter, so it was OK.

The check is one of the gifts prosecutors said the McDonnells received and failed to disclose. According to previous testimony and evidence, Bob McDonnell had signed the catering contract and made two payments, and a refund check from the catering company was made out to Maureen McDonnell.

McDonnell also testified that he often heard Maureen McDonnell yelling at her assistants, usually over little things.

He told her she shouldn't treat governor's mansion employees so badly.

"She would yell at me, say I was taking the staff's side and I didn't know what was going on over there," McDonnell said.

The tension at the governor's mansion and his futile attempts to smooth it over hurt his marriage, which was already strained by his frequent absences and his wife's struggle with her public role as first lady, McDonnell said.

McDonnell said that early in his career, he devoted time to being a state legislator, Army Reservist and lawyer in private practice. He said his wife resented his long stretches away from the family and the tension escalated as his political career took off. Things got worse when the family moved from their longtime Virginia Beach home to Richmond after he became attorney general in 2006.

More AOL Content:
Serious fallout for cop in highway beating
Scientists make incredible find in Antarctic ice

Read Full Story

People are Reading