Palin divorce: a painful death

Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin

Anyone who has been through a divorce knows this: It’s a death in the family. It’s a painful death, and when children are involved, it’s a death for them, too.

When there are children, the death just keeps happening throughout their lives as they try to navigate the birthdays, the holidays, and the other big moments, creating an emotional state of grieving that seems to last a lifetime. Because kids want their parents together — they just do.

But in politics, divorce is fair game. It’s a moral flaw. It’s fodder, and there is no escaping it. Especially if your last name is Palin; there’s nothing like Palin to sell clicks on a website, and try as we may, even Must Read Alaska cannot avert its eyes from the news of this pending divorce.

What Todd and Sarah Palin have been through in their marriage, no one really knows. They’ve had good times, rocky times, and tragedy, much played out in the public eye and some of it of their own making. As with almost all couples, what the world sees and what the world thinks it knows is not the whole story. Not even close.

Craig Medred broke the story on his news site He updated it hours later with information that indicated a court clerk may have fudged a bit by allowing the Palin divorce to be filed by their initials only, while the rest of the divorcing public must file using their full names. That is a small sin, perhaps, but annoying to everyday Alaskans who tsk at such privilege. Rules should be applied evenly and Alaska royalty should not get special treatment. Their lawyer should have advised them better.

Todd filed on a Friday, hoping perhaps to stay out of the limelight. No such luck. Sarah Palin is the favorite punching bag for the liberal media, and she gives it back in spades, typically. She seems to have thrived on the battle with the “lame stream media,” as she has been known to call it.

Living in the spotlight is hard on a marriage, and harder on a divorce. If they get it right, they’ll remain friends, and they are the type of people who can get it right, even while breaking up the camp and going separate ways.

For now, the real sin committed is by those who throw stones at a marriage that has fascinated the world, a marriage that has simply ended sadly. The sin is committed by those who drag the children into it and use them as a battering ram against their parents.

In the beginning, the two were high school sweethearts who eloped in August of 1988 after Sarah finished college and had started a career in sports reporting. The first of their five children was born the following April. She ran for city council of Wasilla, and started a political career that eventually led to a nomination for the vice presidency of the United States. Todd was seemingly always Todd, the sportsman, the businessman, the steady husband coping with the churn of fame and fortune of his wife, who was governor, television star, author, and icon.

In the end, the years and the realities of All Things Palin wore down the love.

The end of the marriage isn’t the end, however. The couple has children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, parents, sisters, and brothers. These are ties that bind forever, especially around holidays, birthdays, and those big life events, such as birth and death.

You never know … Todd and Sarah could get back together someday. Couples do. But for now, there’s been a death in the family, and plenty of heartache to go around, and some voyeuristic handwringing: Even the beautiful people, it turns out, don’t really live charmed lives.

As for the news cycle, there’s the 24 hours when this is grist for the mill, and then we’ll all be off to another piece of salacious fascination — until the Palins do something else that captures us once again. Because we cannot get enough of them, can we?


  1. I wish all reporters were as respectful as you, Susan. With no clue as to the merciless hell of public pressure that Palin’s endured, plenty of folks will slander and gloat with enthusiasm. I wish better for the Palins. May peace eventually find them.

    • Thank you for your respectful comment Steve. The Palin’s lives were turned upside down by a rabid media h*ll-bent on destroying first the Palins, then DJT-elected POTUS, now our country. Yes, divorce is a death that never ends in a family. I choose to pray for Todd and Sarah Palin. I love them, and their family dearly. Their children and grandchildren certainly need our prayers and love as well, because no matter how old they are, their parents are their rock; their world. ?

    • Thank you Steve, well said, and I second your comments. And thank you Suzanne for excellent writing as always. One can only imagine the strain they have been through the past several years.

  2. Amen Steve. Divorce is never fun. Love or hate them, it’s sad and hard on a family. It won’t happen, but I can only hope people will just be kind and leave them alone.

  3. They have enjoyed the spotlight, I’m sure. Wealth, notoriety, fame. They soaked it up. Unfortunately, Alaska is the wrong place to live like a movie star. Average folks up here cannot relate to that. When you go to Carrs and see The Palins on the cover of the Enquirer, or the Globe, you just scratch your head. These people live down the road in Wasilla. Sarah will get 1/2 of Todd’s snowmobiles, and Todd will find a younger chick. Family reunions ought to be interesting too. Lots of illegitimate kids and opioids on the menu. Come to think of it……they probably feel at home here in Alaska.

    • It’s embarrassing when Lower-48’ers – types – here locals call them snowmobiles Besides; it sounds so weird. They’re snowmachines, sleds, sno-goes, Ski-Doos or whatever… if you’ve been around a minute. Please don’t embarrass us. We are not not Lower-48’ers. This ain’t Minnesota or Wisconsin or wherever.

  4. Experiencing a divorce is a moral flaw? Truly?

    Infidelity is a moral flaw. Experiencing a divorce though? I think we might be giving too much credit and fodder to the pundits.

    • Funny, I haven’t seen one reference in either Craig or Suzanne’s coverage to infidelity. The only place I’ve ever heard it was from snarky leftists. Why do you bring it up. When the US was a better place, divorce was considered a moral flaw unless it was motivated by a concrete cause, infidelity was one, but so was abuse, criminal behavior, and insanity, which had to be proven in a court. The pill and no-fault divorce took care of all that by the Seventies and since then half of all marriages have ended in divorce and half in death, and the illegitimacy rate ranges from the high forties to the mid-seventies percent of all births. At most these days infidelity might be some sort of breach of a contract and there is a good argument that except in the most devoutly religious circles there is no such thing as a moral flaw because there is no such thing as morals.

      • Art, you know why the Lefties bring it up. It legitimizes all of the immoral behavior that Lefties themselves live with. It gives Lefties a chuckle to see a Conservative practicing the kind of behavior that Lefties practice……even if it’s a false accusation. Look at the Clinton’s behavior. Do any of your Lefty acquaintances ever discuss the immoral behavior and code the Clinton’s live by?

        • Homosexuality was also a moral flaw. And being transgendered guaranteed a one-way trip to the sanitarium. That was yesterday. We now celebrate these flaws and provide special protections for them. And if you show a scintilla of disapproval, you are subject to a hate crime or a civil suit, or both. This is political progress?

  5. For once – and this a rare event – I agree with the words of Ms. Downing.

    Perhaps more political progress could be made if similarly compassionate attitudes were held by those writing, reading, and commenting on these MRA pages…

  6. Well written. I cannot imagine the pain they have suffered. I’m only sorry that they ran out of strength. I know that divorce goes against their faith. I only hope this doesn’t destroy it as well.

  7. Well she was one of the most Liberal, tax and spend Governors Alaska ever had. When she was selected to be a VP candidate, she became a Conservative overnight. The Leftists in Alaska loved her until that point, perhaps that explain their enduring hatred of her. The pressure of always being under attack by these Commie Hyenas I’m sure wore on the marriage. The lesson; beware of making political friends with Marxists.

  8. Fame fever and nasty politics (both sides) and cesspool rag media had something to do with this, not the regular reasons for divorce.

  9. Can you imagine a menopausal Palin ?
    OMG…..the horror. Todd deserves a medal.

    Let’s see if she hooks up with a political putz. Whether its Hollywood or DC, the drama never ceases.

  10. Senator McCain did Palin a serious disservice by selecting her as his running mate. It revealed her flaws and lack of experience / knowledge leaving the country to see she was not up to the task. And her gaffes provided the ammo for vicious media attacks. Had she not been considered by McCain she would have likely served out a term or two and simply be remembered as a past Governor like others. Imo the pressures that came with such close and ugly media scrutiny provided the recipie for escalating family disfunction.

    • Perhaps you are right, but I believe Palin could have chosen differently. I was not a fan before she was elected Governor. Her failure to stay the game wasn’t surprising. I suspect her pride told her she could run with the big dogs, even though she struggled to even speak well as governor of the state. She was destined to be eaten alive as VP nominate. Her blunders could have been forgiven if she hadn’t continued to prove her arrogance and her ignorance again and again. I agree with the premise of this article though, and wish that everyone would leave personal attacks out of it.

  11. More articles written with respect to the individuals is needed!! I am sad to see this happen but I can totally understand why it would happen! I hope for the sake of the whole family they can remain great friends and continue to be a tight knit family! Great article!!

  12. I intend to give this drama all the attention it deserves– which is very little. One small item: IMO, there is no such thing as “Alaska royalty.” If you think that such a thing exists, also IMO, you have become part of the problem. Individuals and families in Alaska that try to elevate themselves over others are almost always on shaky ground. Good fortune in Alaska is usually based on luck; success does not equal wisdom. I value the thoughtful and informed over the flashy and empty.

  13. Well said Suzanne. All divorces are a real tragedy, no matter what the reasons are.
    The whole family needs their privacy and space to morn. Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

  14. Depends what your definition of “political progress” means, Dog. I’m sure we could debate that definition all day. Back to the Palins……the only thing I truly remember Sarah Palin for was when she told Frank Murkowski to stick it……and she resigned from her $120K position on the Oil and Gas Board. After that, came Mayor Palin, Governor Palin, and almost VP Palin. She wasn’t prepared for any of it, intellectually, emotionally, or psychologically. Totally out of her element. She was far too immature……and still is to this day. Her kids have lots of problems too…..and, she is raising a young, special needs child. It’s a bit of a sad chapter for Alaska. But still, I loved what she did to Frank Murkowski…….exposed the King down to his underwear.

    • You can make it up if you like; all the lefties do, but you don’t know what you’re talking about. She had already been mayor and was out of government. She wanted to be US Senator and Frank tried to shut her up by giving her the AOGCC position which was the highest paid pure patronage job the State had at the time. It didn’t shut her up. Nothing she says about what happened between her and Randy Ruedrich is true, and unlike you, I was there and involved in it. She quit the government and became every Democrat’s favorite Republican because they thought she’d be the easiest to beat. All she was to Frank was a pest that he couldn’t make shut up and go away.

  15. Thank you for your compassionate treatment of what is ultimately a personal situation. That is all we needed to know.

    • Mike, human nature disagrees with you. Why do millions of people buy the Enquirer? They want the particulars of the matters at issue…….WHY are they divorcing. Give us the true smut. It’s the nature of the beast.

  16. They loved the attention, especially Sarah. They wanted to painted their whole life as being of the moral Christian high ground. It would put it on display and fly that banner it must be able to bear closer examination. They want a privileged life all while attacking other people. The reality is, who cares? Why is this news, because they want it to be! Its time for the Palin’s to go away.

  17. I wonder if Todd was abusive and a drunk like his dad was with his wives. He had a hell of a temper as was evident anytime he was walking through an airport and somebody looked at him with the stink eye.

    • What the hell are you talking about Gregg? Todd’s father Jim is not a drunk nor is he abusive to women.. He is a wonderful man and husband of the same wife for over 25 years. He is liked and respected by everyone. He ran Cooper Valley Elec cooperative and was associated with Mat Elec. And did a great job.
      Your comment is slanderous and you should be at least ashamed if not barred from this site.

      • Shortly thereafter I was remarried. I dated this guy who could provided better financially for us. Hindsight is 20/20 and we lived so poorly in my first marriage that I was looking for security. And I found it. And then I worked on the pipeline. And when I became financially secure I left him. By then the drinking… it was alcoholic drinking by then.

        DANTE: For both of you?

        ELAYNE: For both me and my second husband … It was, the drinking had escalated and by then I had four kids. It seemed like every time I got a divorced I ended up with one more kid and less money than when I went into the marriage. (…)”

        In conclusion, following Elayne Ingram’s own words, her second husband, James (Jim) Palin, who is also the father of Todd Palin, was an alcoholic, at least during the time when he was married with Elayne.

      • He may be an outstanding chap now, but he was married to Todd’s mom, Diane’s mom and now a 3rd wife. Lets not make him out to be a saint. I was just asking if Todd had picked up some of his dad’s former bad habits.

  18. What sticks in my head is right after she accused Levi of going “Joe Hollywood” she did exactly that. That being said, I didn’t think she was a good gov. but did not wish them things like this.

  19. I will pray for Palin’s Family ! I hope that Todd change his mind to decide to together his Marriage ! I know , Sarah is very sad and love him very much ! Marriage weren’t easy either ! I’m support to Palin ‘s Family stay stronger and faithfulness ! God bless Palin’s Family ! ??????

  20. Ms Downing inquires at the end of this piece “Because we cannot get enough of them, can we?”

    Actually, we can, have and will.

    Drive on.

  21. Greg, where do you get your info? Your comment is disgusting. What if someone wrote in MRAK that Greg Farkner’s dad is a drunk and woman beater? How would you like that? How would your mother like it?

    • See my post above which is on the Palingates site. An interview his former wive gave . Don’t shoot the messenger. I was just asking if Todd picked up some of his dad’s earlier bad habits.

    • Elayne Ingram gave a long, taped interview in 2001 to the “Center for Alaska Native and Health Research”, which is still available online (audio and transcript).

      In this interview, Elayne describes in detail her battle with alcoholism and also the alcoholism of her husbands.

      In the interview, Elayne said:

      “(…) Then I got married at age 19 and had my first daughter at age 20. And at that point in time we still weren’t heavy drinkers. But we moved out to Oregon and when my husband at the time was with his buddies then the drinking escalated. I still don’t feel like I was an alcoholic at that point in time. I was definitely a battered wife at that time. And I ended up leaving him briefly and then going back to him. We finally divorced after three kids. After I saw that in that marriage that somebody was going to die, because the beatings by then were so bad that I weighed 96 pounds, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, my mind was racing. I had attempted suicide I thought if I committed suicide that would be a way out but then at the last minute I envisioned my kids growing up with him and that thought was horrifying. It was at a point where I figured it was going to be me that died and somehow, someway God gave me the strength to get up one morning and just pack our stuff and then away we went me and the kids. But I was so emotionally distraught at that point in time. I don’t know, I didn’t have the strength personally to do what I did. You know to get out.

      Shortly thereafter I was remarried. I dated this guy who could provided better financially for us. Hindsight is 20/20 and we lived so poorly in my first marriage that I was looking for security. And I found it. And then I worked on the pipeline. And when I became financially secure I left him. By then the drinking… it was alcoholic drinking by then.

      DANTE: For both of you?

      ELAYNE: For both me and my second husband … It was, the drinking had escalated and by then I had four kids. It seemed like every time I got a divorced I ended up with one more kid and less money than when I went into the marriage. (…)”

      In conclusion, following Elayne Ingram’s own words, her second husband, James (Jim) Palin, who is also the father of Todd Palin, was an alcoholic, at least during the time when he was married with Elayne.

      So with any alcoholism, sometimes comes domestic violence. It did with her first marriage. Her second marriage with Jim, may or may not have had abuse, but according to her, he was a drunk. Sorry if the message upset folks. She doesn’t exactly say Jim beat her. I came to that conclusion on my own. Could be wrong. People do mellow with age.

  22. I wish people would confine their comments about political personalities to factual data. I have noticed that lefty commie types are are often quick to share ugly rumors.
    Fact is ,Sarah was not perfect and really was a creation of the media. A path she could have wiaely avoided.
    My heart breaks for the Palins, especially her children.

  23. As one of Sarah’s biggest supporters I see that she has ambition to use her political capital for the good of personkind!
    So I volunteer to help her. It won’t be easy and it is a real long haul to challenge the Deep State.

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