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Rep. Charlie Crist is divorcing his wife, Carole (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG — After more than eight years of marriage, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist has filed for divorce.

"I think the world of Carole. She's an amazing person. It just didn't work out for us," the former Florida governor told the Tampa Bay Times. "I wish all the best for her."

Crist, 60, said the divorce should have no impact on his service.

He and Carole, 47, own a Parkshore condo in downtown St. Petersburg, and details about whether he will continue to live there have yet to be worked out.

"The marriage of the parties is irretrievably broken," says the divorce petition Crist filed Friday in Pinellas County.

His filing states that he anticipates a "collaborative law process" in which the divorce is settled without dispute and antagonistic court battles. He said also that he expects both will abide by a prenuptial agreement they entered into shortly before their 2008 marriage.

Mrs. Crist, who did not respond to a phone message, has two daughters in New York from her first marriage. Crist has no children and married once before, in 1979, for less than a year.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Meet Carole Rome, the governor's fiancee

Crist met Carole, a wealthy and glamorous fixture on the New York and Hamptons social circuit, in the fall of 2007. The longtime bachelor became engaged in July 2008 when he was a Republican governor widely seen as a top contender to be Sen. John McCain's vice presidential running mate. They married that December in St. Petersburg .

From the start, the New York businesswoman and Georgetown graduate had enormous influence on Crist. She joined the governor on overseas trade missions and later helped guide what became his roller coaster political career.

That included his ill-fated decision to forgo a second term as governor in 2010 and run instead for U.S. Senate, only to wind up dropping out of the GOP to run unsuccessfully as an independent. He narrowly lost his 2014 campaign for governor, but won his congressional seat representing much of Pinellas County this past November.

Former Florida Republican Chairman Jim Greer, a close friend of the Crists before he pleaded guilty in 2013 to stealing money from the party, believed Mrs. Crist played a key role in moving Crist toward the left.

"Carole was very liberal in her thinking. She was a Democrat, and she had no understanding of the political ramifications of what she was trying to do. Nor did she understand a thing about the party and the organization I governed," Greer said in his biography, The Chairman: The Rise and Betrayal of Jim Greer, by Peter Golenbock.

Longtime political allies, Democrats and Republicans alike, have fallen from Crist's orbit over the years after antagonizing Mrs. Crist, who late last year went on her husband's campaign payroll as his campaign director.

Crist has faced criticism for a rocky start to his congressional term, including a late opening his district office and pushing out his well-regarded district director, Vito Sheeley, weeks after announcing his hiring.

Crist said he and his wife separated earlier this month.

Mark Puente contributed to this report. Contact Adam C. Smith at asmith@tampabay.com. Follow @adamsmithtimes.

Rep. Charlie Crist is divorcing his wife, Carole (w/video) 02/24/17 [Last modified: Friday, February 24, 2017 2:52pm]
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