Newt Gingrich's Ex-Wife Finally Speaks

Marianne Gingrich on the proposal, the divorce

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 11, 2010 9:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – With a 2012 bid looking more than likely, John Richardson asks himself, "just who is Newton Leroy Gingrich, really?" The answer, as written for Esquire, is a story both "epic and bizarre"—and gossipy. Though Richardson interviewed Gingrich for the profile, some of the biggest revelations come from his ex-wife, Marianne, in her first time discussing "what happened." The highlights:

  • He proposed while he was still married: "He asked me to marry him way too early," she says, within weeks of meeting. "And he wasn't divorced yet. I should have known there was a problem," When Richardson calls the speedy proposal flattering, she replied, "It's not so much a compliment to me. It tells you a little bit about him."

  • And then he did it again, 18 years later: "I know. I asked him. He'd already asked her to marry him before he asked me for a divorce. Before he even asked," she says of his proposal to congressional aide Callista Bisek.
  • She doesn't think he'll run for president: "There's no way," she says. Writes Richardson, "She thinks he made a choice long ago between doing the right thing and getting rich, and when you make those choices, you foreclose other ones."
  • As for his first wife, who was his high school geometry teacher...: "To this day, the official story is that he started dating Jackie when he was 18 and she was 25," he writes. "But he was really just 16, she says."
  • As for Newt telling Richardson, "Callista and I kid that I'm four and she's five and therefore she gets to be in charge..." "Her eyes go wide when she hears his line about being four to Callista's five. 'You know where that line came from? Me. That's my line. That's what I told him. I'm sorry, that's so freaky.'

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, gestures during a speech at Goucher College March 14, 2007 in Baltimore, Maryland.   (Getty Images)
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, pauses while speaking to the press before a speech at Goucher College March 14, 2007 in Baltimore, Maryland.   (Getty Images)
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