Former S.C. governor Mark Sanford is engaged to marry Maria Belen Chapur, according to a report on the website of a newspaper in Argentina.
Sanford proposed in a restaurant last Wednesday, said a report published Friday on clarin.com, the website for Argentina’s largest daily newspaper.
The report, which was in Spanish, describes how Sanford arrived at the Bella Italia Grill, a restaurant in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires, ahead of Chapur.
The report said Sanford gave the waiter a bag containing an engagement ring and then hid in a bathroom for more than an hour, waiting for her to arrive.
When Chapur walked in, the waiter told her she had won a prize for being the 100th customer of the day. She opened the bag and found the ring, at which point Sanford emerged from hiding and asked her to marry him, according to the report.
Sanford, a former U.S. congressman who served as South Carolina’s governor from 2003-2011, was considered a likely contender for the Republican presidential nomination until July 2009, when a scandal involving Chapur derailed his political aspirations.
Sanford had been unable to be reached for almost a week. His staff told reporters the governor was hiking the Appalachian Trail.
When he returned, Sanford admitted he had been out of the country, in Argentina, having an extra-marital affair with Chapur, a former Argentine television journalist.
Sanford said the two met in 2001 in Uruguay and became friends and that their relationship became sexual in January 2009.
Sanford and his ex-wife, Jenny, were divorced in 2010. They have two sons.
Reached today at her home on Sullivan’s Island, she said she has yet to speak with Mark Sanford to confirm the report of his engagement, but that she was not surprised to hear the news.
“I’ve been preparing myself and my kids for it for three years,” she said. “I wish them well.”
Several attempts to reach Mark Sanford have been unsuccessful.