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Darlene and John Ensign Marriage Profile


During a difficult time in his marriage to Darlene Sciaretta, being active in Promise Seekers and being a born-again Christian did not stop Senator John Ensign from having an affair with Cynthia Hampton, a campaign staffer and close friend. Here is more information about the marriage of Darlene and John Ensign.

News Updates:

5/11/2011: After the Senate Ethics Committee referred former Senator John Ensign's case to the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission, his attorneys submitted a 12-page letter in response.

4/21/2011: Senator John Ensign announced that he would leave the Senate on May 3rd. Ensign's resignation is in the midst of an ongoing Senate ethics investigation related to Ensign's scandalous affair with one of his staff members.


John Eric Ensign: March 25, 1958 in Roseville, California.

Darlene Sciaretta:

Wedding Date

November 7, 1987 in Clark County, Nevada


Darlene and John have three children.
  • Trevor Ensign:
  • Siena Ensign:
  • Michael Ensign:


John: Republican Senator of Nevada, veterinarian, businessman.

Darlene: Member of the Board of Directors of the Nevada Community Foundation.

Extramarital Affair Scandal

When: Between December 2007 and August 2008.

Other Woman: According to the Los Angeles Times, the woman in the affair is Cynthia Hampton, a campaign staff member married to one of Ensign's Senate office employees. She was also employed by Ensign's Battle Born leadership political action committee. Cynthia and her husband were close friends of John and Darlene Ensign.

Statements and Quotes About the Ensign-Hampton Affair:

Trish Turner: "After a 22-month investigation, the Senate Ethics Committee unanimously found that the evidence against embattled, now-retired Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., is significant enough to warrant a referral of the case to both the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission ... The Ethics Committee investigation offers revealing facts into the torrid affair Ensign carried on with his staffer's wife, Cindy Hampton, and the great lengths to which the married senator went to conceal his affair."
Source: Trish Turner. "Ensign Affair Referred to DOJ & FEC -- Torrid Affair Detailed." FoxNews.com. 5/12/2011.

Elise Foley: "Among the details in the report: 'The extramarital affair between Senator Ensign and Ms. Hampton began after the Hamptons moved into the Ensigns' home following” a burglary at their home. Senator Ensign was very persistent and relentless in pursuing Ms. Hampton. According to Ms. Hampton, Senator Ensign ‘just [wouldn’t] stop,’ and ‘kept calling and calling,’ and ‘would never take no for an answer.’ Senator Ensign told Ms. Hampton that he wanted to marry her while they attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington."
Source: Elise Foley. "John Ensign Lied to FEC, Violated Campaign Finance Laws, Obstructed Investigation: Senate Ethics Panel." HuffingtonPost.com. 5/12/2011.

Elise Foley: "Coburn, a friend of Ensign’s who confronted him about the adultery, became involved as an intermediary in negotiations between Ensign and Doug Hampton ...In 2008, the senator was one of the men to confront Ensign about ending his affair with Cynthia Hampton, according to the report. Coburn, along with C Street Christian fellowship's evangelical leaders Tim Coe, David Coe and Marty Sherman, talked to Ensign and Doug Hampton at their group house on February 14, 2008 ... When the affair ended, Coburn was part of the “team” that discussed relocating the Hamptons to Colorado and providing them with money for their transition, the report says."
Source: Elise Foley. "Tom Coburn Helped Cover Up John Ensign Affair: Senate Ethics Report." HuffingtonPost.com. 5/12/2011.

John Ensign's Attorneys: "With the love and forbearance of his wife, Senator Ensign has recovered the centrality of family in his life that he knows his own actions almost destroyed; he will strive never to lose this again."
Source: John Ensign's Response to Senate Report. Scribd.com. 5/11/2011. pg. 1.

Carol Elder Bruce: "Mr. Coe called Senator Ensign and stated "I know exactly where you are. I know exactly what you are doing. Put your pants on and go home." Senator Ensign initially said he would not leave the hotel room, telling Mr. Coe 'I can't, I love her [Ms. Hampton].'
Source: Carol Elder Bruce, Special Counsel. Report of The Prelimiinary Inquiry Into the Matter of Senator John E. Ensign. Scribd.com. 5/10/2011. pg. 13.

John Ensign: "Last year, I had an affair," the senator said outside his office in Las Vegas. "I violated the vows of marriage. It's absolutely the worse thing I've done in my life. I take full responsibility for my actions. I know I have deeply hurt and disappointed my wife, Darlene, my children, my family, friends, my staff and those who believed in me. And to all of them, especially my wife, I'm truly sorry."
Source: "Nevada Sen. John Ensign admits affair." CNN.com. 6/16/2009.

Darlene Ensign: "Since we found out last year we have worked through the situation and we have come to a reconciliation. This has been difficult on both families. With the help of our family and close friends our marriage has become stronger. I love my husband."
Source: David M. Herszenhorn. "Senator Ensign Admits Extramarital Affair." NYTimes.com. 6/16/2009.

Senator Tom Coburn about allegations Ensign helped Doug Hampton find work as a political consultant: “John got trapped doing something really stupid and then made a lot of other mistakes afterward. Judgment gets impaired by arrogance, and that’s what’s going on here.”
Source: Eric Lichtblau, Eric Lipton. "Senator's Aid to Mistress's Husband Raises Ethics Flags." NYTimes.com. 10/01/2009.

Eric Lichtblau: "The Ensigns and the Hamptons had been friends going back to their time together in Southern California in the 1980s ... Darlene Ensign, the senator’s wife, and Cynthia Hampton had known each other growing up there. The families were so close that in 2004 the Ensigns persuaded the Hamptons to move to their expensive Las Vegas neighborhood ... watched their children’s sporting events together and shared regular Sunday dinners."
Source: Eric Lichtblau, Eric Lipton. "Senator's Aid to Mistress's Husband Raises Ethics Flags." NYTimes.com. 10/01/2009.

Where Are They Now?:

As of May 12, 2011:
Doug and Cynthia Hampton are divorced. Doug pleaded not guilty to an indictment on charges of lobbying in violation of the one-year prohibition. John Ensign resigned his Senate seat.

John Ensign: "While I stand behind my firm belief that I have not violated any law, rule, or standard of conduct of the Senate, and I have fought to prove this publicly, I will not continue to subject my family, my constituents, or the Senate to any further rounds of investigation, depositions, drawn out proceedings, or especially public hearings," the statement said. "For my family and me, this continued personal cost is simply too great."
Source: NBC News. "Nevada Senator, Facing Ethics Probe, Says He'll Resign." MSNBC.com. 4/21/2011.

Eric Lichtblau: "Doug and Cynthia Hampton are both now out of work ... The couple have put their house up for sale and hope to leave Las Vegas ... While several citizens’ watchdog groups have called for an ethics investigation into Mr. Ensign’s conduct, there are no signs of any active inquiries. Mr. Ensign’s string of apologies and his back-to-business demeanor in the months since his news conference appear to have helped him ride out the political storm."
Source: Eric Lichtblau, Eric Lipton. "Senator's Aid to Mistress's Husband Raises Ethics Flags." NYTimes.com. 10/01/2009.

Quotes About the Marriage of Darlene and John Ensign :

John: "I am truly blessed to have a wife who has forgiven me. We sought counseling last year and have built a stronger marriage -- stronger than ever."
Source: "Ensign Statement: 'Worst Thing I Have Ever Done.'" RealClearPolitics.com. 6/16/2009.

Manu Raju: "Political insiders in the Senate and in Nevada told POLITICO that Ensign began the affair with the staffer several months after he separated from his wife, Darlene. When Ensign reconciled with his wife, the sources said, he gave the aide a severance package, and the two parted ways. Some time later, a Nevada source said, Ensign met with the husband of the woman involved and had what this source described as a positive encounter. Sources said that the man subsequently asked Ensign for a substantial sum of money — at which point Ensign decided to make the affair public."
Source: Manu Raju, Alexander Burns. "Nevada Sen. John Ensign admits affair; sources say blackmail involved." Politico.com. 6/16/2009.

Betsy Rothstein: "Ensign missed votes during a family crisis in early 2002 ... Although his absence was conspicuous, all that was revealed at the time came in a curt statement from his spokeswoman, who told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the senator was “dealing with a family matter, and he’s asked for privacy” — a statement vague enough to lead to speculation over the health of his marriage."
Source: Betsy Rothstein, Kris Kitto. "Public display of heartbreak." The Hill.com. 3/04/2008.

John Ensign: "“Marriage recognizes the ideal of a father and mother living together to raise their children. Marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded ... It is not right to mold marriage to fit the desires of a few, against the wishes of so many, and to ignore the important role of marriage.”
Source: "Ensign Defends Sanctity of Marriage on Senate Floor." Ensign.senate.gov. 7/13/2004.

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