It was a talk that was intended to focus on public education, but in a rare personal moment, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa used the stage at Loyola Marymount University to express that his greatest regret as mayor was the way he handled the breakup of his marriage.
Villaraigosa and his wife Corina Villaraigosa filed for divorce in June 2007 after almost 20 years of marriage. At the time, the mayor was romantically involved with a Telemundo reporter. The marriage officially ended in 2010.
The mayor made his remarks last night at the first in a series of conversations at LMU.
“The way I handled my breakup, obviously,” Villaraigosa replied when asked his biggest regret during his two terms as mayor. “It’s the one thing I regret the most … the way I handled it.”
“I think that’s what I regret the most. Everything else, you do the best you can,” he said.
In an interview with KPCC after the event, the mayor said he believes it is possible to succeed politically while maintaining a strong marriage and family life.
“I think there are a lot of people who have done that a lot better than me. My staff would like me not to answer those questions, but I do it anyway because I think it’s important to be real, and I do think that was the one thing that I looked at and I just didn’t do it right,” Villaraigosa said.
“There are a lot of people who have been able to balance the two. I think sometimes what happens is you get so immersed that you just … you know.”