20 Jan 2012

Gingrich denounces open marriage claim

10:10 pm on 20 January 2012

US Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich has angrily denied his former wife's claim that he once wanted an "open marriage".

At the start of a key debate before the South Carolina primary on Saturday, Mr Gingrich told CNN's debate host that even raising the issue was despicable.

He called the American media "destructive, vicious and negative".

Mr Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum took part in the debate in Charleston after a dramatic day, the BBC reports.

As Mr Gingrich gained on Mr Romney in the polls, his former wife Marianne Gingrich revealed in an televised interview with the ABC that he wanted an "open marriage" so he could freely commit infidelity with Congressional aide Callista Bisek, the woman who would become his third wife.

Marianne Gingrich said she refused and told him that was not her idea of a marriage.

Mr Gingrich said during the televised debate in South Carolina that the allegations were false and there was no evidence to back up his former wife's claims.