Former governor Bob McDonnell spent hours talking about his marriage yesterday while on the stand at court for his federal corruption case, saying that as his political career advanced, his marriage deteriorated and by the time he was governor, the two eventually were barely talking.
“38 years in public service I never thought I would have to be testifying in a trial like this, so it’s difficult.”
He took the stand yesterday and spoke about what started out as a happy couple and turned into a nightmare. McDonnell went through a long timeline of events and shared experiences with Maureen.
Bob said that the trouble between the two started brewing in the early 90’s, when he became more of a senior member of the General Assembly. He said that by the mid 1990’s, the tension and anxiety between the two of them continued to grow, and they argued more frequently.
McDonnell said he became physically and emotionally unavailable as he ran and was elected for attorney general and governor. After he became governor McDonnell said “we had trouble making decisions about some of the most rudimentary things.”
The former governor said that things got tougher for Maureen when her father died in June 2010, one year after her mother, saying she told him, “I feel like an orphan.”
McDonnell says they fought over how to use $25k left to Maureen by her dad, saying he wanted to pay down debt, but Maureen wanted to buy stocks for the kids. He says he won the fight and afterward, Maureen left the room and came back crying, slamming the check down and said “here, pay the bills.“
McDonnell said he knows now it was the wrong decision for his family and his marriage, because it was her money. He continued, then talking about a letter the mansion staff drafted to Maureen, threatening to quit.
He said that he was surprised by the letter and that he is a “pretty strong guy but, but that was a lot… I had a lot on my plate.” He described the first lady’s office as a disaster and “constant chaos.” He said that on top of these issues, he was dealing with the budget, gridlock in the G.A., his father’s estate, his sister’s divorce, helping Mitt Romney and the Republican Governors Association. Bob said that the first lady would ask him to help edit her speeches and that he turned her away, saying, she has a Chief of Staff and a speech writer to do that for her.
He says he proposed marriage counseling several times, but Maureen was never receptive.
McDonnell said on Labor Day weekend in 2011, he made it a point to take three days off to spend with Maureen.
He says they both had a big fight that Friday, calling Maureen’s anger uncontrollable. He added that he wrote her a long email, which was shown in court, because she would not talk to him but, he says she never responded. McDonnell says he thought it was the end of his marriage and one of the lowest points in his life.
That same day, Maureen had been in contact with Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams four times.
McDonnell said that he was emotionally unavailable to Maureen at this point. McDonnell admitted about his wife, “I wasn’t very good with her… I pushed her away.”
An already emotionally revealing testimony was unraveling, but it’s only the beginning. What came out next on the stand from Bob McDonnell was intimate.
McDonnell said that he had taken the weekend off to spend time together and that Maureen didn’t engage with him. He said that he ended up spending Saturday apart from his wife.
McDonnell said at this time he thought, “maybe this was the end of our marriage, maybe we were done.”
McDonnell said he sent Maureen an email on Monday. McDonnell said that he felt the need to send the email because Maureen had made “threats to wreck my things.”
In it, he asked for forgiveness for anything he had done to hurt her. He continued, “I am so spiritually and mentally exhausted from being yelled at…”
When asked if he ever get a response from the email, McDonnell said no. He later learned that Maureen had contacted Jonnie Williams four times that day.
McDonnell said he is no longer living at home with his wife, that he has moved in with a priest.
Stay with 8News for the latest on this story as we provide continuing coverage. Follow 8News reporters Mark Tenia and Parker Slaybaugh on Twitter for up-to-the minute updates live from the courthouse.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond.