Jennifer Sullivan Sanford (b. 11 September 1962 in Winnetka, Illinois ) is the former First Lady of South Carolina, heiress, and former investment banker. She was married to Governor Mark Sanford, whose initial campaigns she substantially funded. On December 11, 2009, she announced that she was filing for divorce, after it became known that Governor Sanford had flown to Argentina to have an affair with Maria Belen Chapur, a 43-year old divorced mother from Buenos Aires. The divorce decree was granted on February 26, 2010. The couple's divorce was finalized on March 19, 2010.
She was raised in Winnetka, Illinois, an upscale suburb of Chicago. She is the second of five children born to an Irish Catholic family. Sanford's family was prominent in the area. Her great grandfather, Joseph W. Sullivan, co-founded Skil Corporation which manufactured the first portable electric saw. Her uncle and another grandfather, both lawyers, headed the Winston and Strawn law firm. Sanford also has familial ties to Rushton Skakel, the brother of Ethel Kennedy.
Sanford attended Woodlands Academy, an all-girls Catholic school in Lake Forest, Illinois. She graduated magna cum laude, earning her bachelor's degree from Georgetown University in 1984.