(Reuters) - Missouri Governor Eric Greitens said he had an extramarital affair before his election in November 2016 after a St. Louis television station aired a recording of a woman confessing to a sexual encounter with him to her now ex-husband.
Greitens said in a joint statement with his wife, Sheena, late on Wednesday that "there was a time" before he became governor when he was "unfaithful in our marriage," and his wife had forgiven him.
"This was a deeply personal mistake," the couple posted on Twitter. "Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately."
Greitens, 43, is a Republican and former Navy SEAL.
KMOV-TV in St. Louis aired a recording late on Wednesday of the unidentified woman with whom Greitens admitted having the affair as she confessed the March 2015 encounter to her then-husband.
KMOV did not identify the woman or her husband in the recording that it said was made just days after the encounter, but said the two were no longer married.
In the recording, the woman also told her husband that Greitens had taken a picture of her while naked and threatened to publicize it if she ever told anyone of their affair.
Greitens' lawyer, James Bennett of St. Louis, denied the governor threatened to blackmail the woman.
"There was no 'blackmail,' and that claim is false," Bennett said in a statement posted to Greitens' Twitter account. "This personal matter has been addressed by the governor and Mrs. Greitens privately years ago when it happened."
(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)