As Herman Cain headed home on Friday to Georgia to face his wife for the first time since Ginger White alleged an affair with him, a new report surfaced stories of the couple having deep marital unrest long before Cain's presidential campaign was rocked by allegations of sexual harassment.
"It never felt like a real marriage when I was around them," someone close to the family told the Daily Beast. "Mostly he was always gone and his wife seemed to be OK with it. Not being together seemed the norm for their marriage, and Gloria didn't seem to mind. His kids didn’t seem to mind either."
The Cains have been married for 43 years. They have two children and three grandchildren. Sources told the Daily Beast that Cain's attraction to other women has always been a strain, and the couple has even lived apart during periods of their marriage.
Cain previously told HuffPost that Gloria supported him throughout the sexual harassment allegations that surfaced last month, but he has acknowledged that his wife never knew about his friendship with Ginger White or that he was giving her money and gifts over the years. He insists their relationship was not sexual. White has apologized to Gloria for having sex with Cain.
Gloria told FOX News last month that the sexual harassment charges other women have leveled against her husband don't ring true because he "totally respects women."
But a campaign worker told the Daily Beast that she was pressured to do the interview and won't defend her husband again against Ginger White's story.
"She doesn't want to be forced to do that again because she knows he's had girlfriends for many years," the source said. "She just looked the other way. But if he won't get out of the race, she may have to."
In light of the Ginger White allegations, Cain is reassessing his candidacy and his conversation with his wife Friday may be pivotal in his decision whether to remain in the race.
"It is having a toll and anybody would do the same thing," he told FOX News.
Meanwhile, "Women For Herman Cain" launched Friday and Gloria is listed as the group's National Chairperson. The site uses an image of several ethnically diverse women giving the thumbs up; these are not Cain supporters but models for a stock photo. Actual female supporters have posted words of encouragement for the couple and harsh attacks against Cain's accusers. Here are some words from Barbara Dayan of Nipomo, Calif.:
Dear Mrs. Cain Don't pay attention to these pathetic husbandless women who are jealous of women like you in happy long-term marriages. These vindictive women can't find a husband or keep one. They are like stalkers who try to latch on to any man who shows a bit of kindness or attention to them. When these unstable women come out of the woodwork to make accusations about Herman just say, "Honey, get a life, I believe my husband." We want you to be our First Lady Mrs. Cain!
The initiative's press release follows:
"Women For Cain" is an online national fellowship of women dedicated to helping elect Herman Cain as the next President of the United States.
Mr. Cain has been a strong advocate for women throughout his lifetime, defending and promoting the issues of quality health care, family, education, equality in the workplace and many other concerns so important to American women.
Gloria Cain is the National Chairperson for "Women for Cain" and is the very special woman who Mr. Cain devoted his life to many years ago. Mr. Cain and Gloria celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary earlier this year. The couple has two children and three grandchildren and a legacy of family, friends, and community and church involvement.
"Women For Cain" was formed to inspire a national women's alliance in support of Herman Cain 2012 and Friends of Herman Cain. Please join our conversation to learn of volunteer opportunities and to be informed of issues and events surrounding the Herman Cain campaign.
Thank you for your support. We welcome your thoughts and encouragement for Mr. Cain. We also welcome your involvement in our effort to renew America with the common-sense solutions and principled leadership that Mr. Cain provides. Join us as we work to bring true opportunity and prosperity to all Americans.
Here are the women who have been linked to Cain:
On Oct. 31 Politico broke the news that two women had filed sexual harassment claims against Herman Cain when he ran the National Restaurant Association 20 years ago. At the time the story was published the women wished to remain anonymous, but one, Karen Kraushaar, came forward on Nov. 8, the day after a third woman, Sharon Bialek, held a press conference alleging she was sexually harassed by Cain. Kraushaar, a Treasury Department spokeswoman, was an employee at the National Restaurant Association during the time Cain was head of the group. She did not discuss the details of the claim, but her attorney described the story Bialek told as familiar. "I'm not authorized to give specifics, but the conduct is similar and it's corroborating evidence for the complaint my client filed." Kraushaar received a settlement of about $45,000.
One of the first women known to have filed a sexual harassment claim against Herman Cain has shown no interest in revealing her identity or publicly discussing the accusations. The woman, who works for a New Jersey lobbying firm, has deliberately dodged reporters and turned down requests to hold a joint press conference with the other women accusing Cain of sexual harassment. The woman filed a complaint accusing Cain of inappropriate behavior in 1998, while working at the National Restaurant Association. She left the job after receiving a $35,000 settlement.
Shortly after the story broke that two women had filed sexual harassment claims against Herman Cain, a third woman, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press she also considered filing a complaint while working at the National Restaurant Association. The woman accused Cain of making sexually suggestive remarks and gestures, even inviting her to his corporate apartment for a private visit. She described his behavior as aggressive and inappropriate, similar to the claims made by the previous accusers.
Sharon Bialek was the first woman to go public with accusations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain. She held a press conference on Nov. 7 in New York, and claimed Cain made inappropriate advances toward her in 1997, while she was seeking a job. Bialek said that while the two were sitting in the car after dinner and drinks, Cain stuck his hand under her skirt, and also grabbed her head and pushed it toward his crotch. She said that when she protested, Cain responded "You want a job, right?" Bialek, a single mother, appeared with celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred. She said, "I'm coming forward to give a face and a voice to the women."
Atlanta businesswoman Ginger White came forward on Nov. 28 alleging she and Herman Cain had a 13-year extramarital affair. White said in an interview with Fox 5 Atlanta that she first met Cain in the late 1990s when he was president of the National Restaurant Association, and the affair ended shortly before Cain announced he was running for president. Before the Atlanta TV station reported the news, Cain, who was in the middle of a segment on CNN, broke the story himself. He told anchor Wolf Blitzer, "This individual is going to accuse me of an affair for a specified period of time." Cain denied any wrongdoing, calling the woman "an acquaintance who I thought was a friend."
A far cry from the typical campaign wife, Herman Cain's wife, Gloria, has stayed out of the public eye during her husband's campaign, even after the sexual harassment claims were reported. But on Nov. 13, as the scandal continued to unfold, Gloria Cain finally came forward and gave her first interview since her husband announced his bid for the presidency. Appearing on Fox News, Cain said the sexual harassment accusations against her husband didn't ring true. "I know the type of person he is. He totally respects women," she said. "I'm thinking he would have to have a split personality to do the things that were said." Gloria Cain has not responded publicly to the most recent claim, Ginger White's announcement that she and Cain had a 13-year extramarital affair.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated Cain's home state as South Carolina, not Georgia, and also incorrectly claimed the Cains have two sons. The Cains have one daughter and one son. We regret the error.