It’s been over two years since former Alabama First Lady Dianne Bentley quietly slipped into the shadows following her exit from the governor’s mansion at the end of her 50-year marriage with former Gov. Robert Bentley, but she’s slowing coming back into the light with the help of her faith and a small group of friends.
Dianne’s exit from the public spotlight was a painful one. Stemming from her uncovering a scandal surrounding her ex-husband’s alleged affair with Rebekah Mason, his senior political adviser, Dianne faced endless questions from the media.
According to the Tuscaloosa News, she had always doubted what the public truly thought of her while serving alongside her ex-husband. It was only in the wake of the scandal that she realized how much the Yellowhammer State was on her side.
“I was thrust in the role of first lady and when I went places, I knew that they didn’t care about me; they cared about the position of first lady,” Bentley said in an interview with The Tuscaloosa News. “However, I didn’t realize until I went through this how much I was loved.”
Nevertheless Dianne dealt with the pain of the divorce on her own.
“When I was split in half and lost my one, I was an open wound,” she told the Tuscaloosa News. “I think that’s why I shut myself off for that year, because I didn’t want anyone opening that wound again.”
But after a while her faith, which held her together during the scandal, and a small group of friends drew her out of isolation and back to a familiar place —her longtime church, First Baptist Tuscaloosa. There, she joined a Bible study group and began volunteering in the nursery on Sunday mornings.
During her time as Alabama’s First Lady, Dianne made her platform speaking out against domestic violence. Today, she’s back in the spotlight tackling the issue once again.
Over the past few weeks she’s traveled the state during October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“I wish there were no more victims, but unfortunately the problem is growing and it’s growing on our college campuses,” Bentley said at a candlelight vigil last week in Tuscaloosa. “It is sad that Alabama has the No. 1 football team, but we also rank in the top four for domestic violence.”
What comes next for Dianne remains unknown. But one thing’s for sure, she’ll continue to put her trust in God as she moves forward.
“All I ever wanted to be was a wife and mother,” she told the Tuscaloosa New. “Right now, I don’t know what my career is going to be, so I’m just going to have to trust the Lord that he is going to show me the path.”