McDonnell testifies that his marriage is currently “on hold”

Posted at 10:13 AM, Aug 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-22 10:13:29-04

Fearing his marriage could be over, Former Governor Bob McDonnell wrote his wife a heartfelt email professing his love for her. But, he also testified that her yelling and complaints about staff forced him to distance himself.

His political career he says put a lot of strain on his marriage over the years- communication became limited and almost solely about 'logistics'.

McDonnell wrote an email to Maureen Labor Day weekend in 2011 after what he described as a real 'meltdown' Friday night.

"Yesterday was one of the lowest points in my life," he wrote. "You are my soulmate...But I am completely at a loss as to how to handle the fiery anger and hate from you that has become more and more frequent."

McDonnell says his wife never responded. His lawyer then pointed out Maureen had communicated with Former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams four times that day.

The former Governor and First Lady are accused of accepting more than $177,000 in loans and gifts from Williams in exchange for promoting his dietary supplement.

But defense teams say the two were hardly speaking, let alone conspiring together.

McDonnell says he pushed his wife away at times and became 'emotionally and 'physically' unavailable.

Meanwhile, he says her interest in nutritional supplements drew her closer to Williams.

He admits he doesn't believe his wife had an affair but says Williams seemed to make her feel special.

He described feeling 'hurt' when the investigation revealed that Maureen and Williams had communicated nearly 1,000 times by phone calls and texts between 2011 and 2013.

Maureen's secrecy is a big part of the defense.

Defense lawyers argue she hid not only her communication with Williams, but many of his gifts.

McDonnell told the court he didn't know Williams spent $20,000 on Maureen on a shopping trip in New York or that Williams bought the Rolex watch his wife gave him for Christmas.

He blamed their marital problems for letting the things he did know about slide.

McDonnell says he didn't know about the initial $50,000 Williams loaned Maureen until after the fact. But, even then he says "I just was not going to take on that fight."

"I just learned that I needed to pick my battles with my wife," McDonnell explained.

When asked about the current status of his marriage, McDonnell told the court "it's on hold."

He says he moved in with his pastor a week before the trial.

McDonnell will continue his testimony Friday. Prosecutors have yet to question him.