Missouri governor, accused of threatening to blackmail mistress, admits to extramarital affair

Eric Greitens.
(Image credit: Craig Barritt/Getty Images)

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) confirmed on Wednesday that he had an extramarital affair, saying it was a "deeply personal mistake."

Greitens campaigned on being a family man, saying he's a "Navy SEAL, native Missourian, and most importantly, a proud husband and father." News 4 has spent several months working on an investigation into Greitens allegedly trying to blackmail a woman he had sexual encounters with in his home. News 4 obtained a recording from the woman's ex-husband in which the unidentified woman detailed her alleged affair with Greitens, including how after one intimate moment, he put a blindfold on her. "He stepped back, I saw a flash through the blindfold, and he said, 'You're never going to mention my name,' otherwise there will be pictures of me everywhere," she said on the tape. After he took the photo, she said, Greitens apologized and told her he deleted the picture.

The woman said her sexual encounters with Greitens were consensual, and took place in 2015. The woman did not know she was being recorded while talking to her then-husband; they tried to reconcile but divorced in March 2016. The ex-husband told News 4 he came forward with the information because he'd been approached by law enforcement and reporters, and he wanted to get ahead of the story. "Something happened, churned this, and had people hounding me, even leaving a voicemail on my daughter's phone — when that happened, everything changed," he said.

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When asked by News 4 about the alleged photo, Greitens would not comment. In a joint statement, Greitens and his wife, Sheena, said "Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately. ... With God's mercy Sheena has forgiven and we have emerged stronger." In her own statement, Sheena Greitens said she and her husband "have a loving marriage and an awesome family" and "I want the media and those who wish to peddle gossip to stay away from me and my children."

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