Brendan McDermid/REUTERS/Landov
March 17, 2008 02:50 PM

As she remains out of the public eye following her husband Eliot Spitzer’s sex scandal, friends believe that wife Silda Spitzer is a woman who takes the phrase “for better or worse” seriously.

“Maybe she wanted to kick the guy out of the house but she’s in the public eye and a person who takes responsibility,” David Patrick Columbia, a friend of Silda’s and editor of tells PEOPLE. “I think she’s a woman who was there because that’s the vow: ‘For better or for worse.’ She’s a woman who lives those words.”

Friends of the former first lady of New York, who told PEOPLE in 2004, “The most jarring thing for me is to read these negative things about [my husband] in the papers and try to reconcile that with the person that we know and love,” are giving her space.

No ‘Hasty Decisions’

“She’s in a state of shock right now and she’s not going to make any hasty decisions,” adds high school friend Lina Gibson of Concord, N.C. “She’s not going to throw 20 years of marriage away based on one week of reports. She has to wait until this does down and decide what she wants to do, not what the media decides she should do.”

Her friends “have been very concerned about not making it anymore difficult on her than it already is,” says Columbia. “I feel very bad for her to go through a crisis with her relationship in public. She is such a nice woman who doesn’t deserve this embarrassment.”

It certainly has not been easy. With photographers camped outside the family’s Fifth Avenue high-rise in the wake of Spitzer’s apology and then resignation Wednesday, the couple remained in their apartment last week as their three daughters, Elyssa, Sarabeth and Jenna continued to attend classes at an elite private school in New York City.

Retreated to Country House

On Saturday, the New York Daily News reported that the family had retreated to their country house in Gallatin, New York. (The girls are off for Spring Break this week.) And Eliot and Silda, who told PEOPLE in 2004, “We don’t disagree about much,” continue to work out their issues behind closed doors.

“She’s quietly a woman of principle,” says Columbia. “People criticize her for standing by her husband, but she’s the type of person who takes responsibility for things no matter what. She is his partner. I feel she is the type of person who honors that obligation no matter what.”

Reporting by STEVE ERWIN

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