Lawmaker’s wife reminisces about Dianne Bentley

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Muriel Farley, the wife of Republican Rep. Allen Farley, did some soul searching over the weekend.

Farley published a blog post over the weekend waxing nostalgic — and expressing some regret — about her relationship with former Alabama First Lady Dianne Bentley, who has faded from the headlines some eight months after her divorce from embattled Gov. Robert Bentley.

Rep. Farley, a longtime friend of Bentley’s, had personally been lied to by the governor after rumors of his affair with former staffer Rebekah Mason began to circulate.

When more allegations came to light about the governor, media outlets once again started contacting my husband for an interview. Not only were they asking about the letter to [Attorney General Luther Strange], but now they were also very interested in a telephone call Allen received the night of August 31, 2015 from the governor. You see, when the governor called my husband, the world had not heard the audio sext tapes. And, during the governor’s telephone conversation with Allen, he told my husband he had not been involved in an affair and he didn’t believe Allen needed to get Luther involved in it personally.

That political impropriety on the governor’s behalf unduly damaged her warm personal relationship with the First Lady, Farley wrote.

During an interview with GQ Magazine about the scandal:

I explained that Dianne would invite members of the Legislative Spouse’s Club to a monthly bible study along with other lady friends from Tuscaloosa and around Alabama. (I also mentioned that I considered Dianne Bentley my friend.) Jason asked me if I had reached out to my friend Dianne Bentley during this devastating time. I said no. (I actually hung my head in shame and said no.) This stayed on my mind the rest of the day. How could I have not contacted my friend. This lady who lead me in prayer month after month. The sweet grandmother (our First Lady) who would walk the halls of the State House bringing her granddaughter to page, as I had also done with two of our granddaughters and a grandson.

Sitting in the gallery of the Alabama State House last Thursday, I asked my friend Danna Standridge if she had reached out to our friend Dianne Bentley. (Danna is the wife of Rep. David Standridge.) She is also a member of the Alabama Legislative Spouse’s Club. She said no, but she wanted to. I believe she and I both just didn’t know how or what to say. We were both hurting. But, we decided right there we were going to find out how to contact our friend, and we did. 

The two gave Dianne Bentley a call and spoke with her from Montgomery, which Farley said was cathartic, but did not fully assuage her guilt over abandoning her erstwhile friend.

Despite more bad faith by the governor, Farley writes, she should have been there for her fellow political spouse.

Toward the end of our 2014 Legislative Session my husband had a private meeting with Governor Bentley. Allen soon began to understand that the man he had reached out to as a fellow Christian and friend was not who he had believed him to be. And, within a few weeks, Allen’s private meeting with the governor was being absolutely misrepresented on a weekly political talk show. That did it for Allen, he stepped back from the governor he once trusted. Something was definitely different inside the governor’s office and my husband did not want anything to do with someone he knew he could not trust.

I know, that is no excuse for me to stop attending Dianne’s bible studies. But, I saw how Governor Robert Bentley had hurt my husband, and I did not want to be in a position to see him and have to pretend everything was alright. However, knowing what I know now, I should have been there. Maybe, just maybe, I could have picked up on something different about her and been there to help. Maybe, just maybe, her eyes didn’t glitter like they had in previous years. Maybe, just maybe, she needed a shoulder to lean on. So, I now regret my poor decision.

Farley concludes, simply:

“Dianne Bentley, I want you to know that we are in your corner. We are on your side.”

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