Todd filed for divorce in September 2019 and, in November, Sarah said the two were in counseling

By Adam Carlson
July 07, 2020 04:17 PM
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Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband of more than 30 years, Todd Palin, quietly finalized their divorce this spring, according to court records.

Though the case has long been sealed from view, the docket shows their divorce was granted on March 23 after a non-contested hearing, which an Alaska court official confirmed.

Todd first filed for divorce on Sept. 6 — his 55th birthday. In his initial complaint, he cited “incompatibility of temperament between the parties such that they find it impossible to live together as husband and wife.” (Such language is not dissimilar from “irreconcilable differences” in other divorces.)

Todd was seeking joint custody of their youngest son, Trig, and fair division of their assets, according to his complaint. Other documents in the case were kept confidential after it was sealed, though the docket shows no child support order was issued.

Sarah, Todd and their attorneys in the split did not return messages seeking comment this week.

In her only public interview about the end of her marriage, Sarah, 56, told Dr. James Dobson in a podcast last fall that “a week after our 31st anniversary is when he [Todd] filed.”

“It’s not easy to talk about,” she said then. “It was devastating," she said. “I thought I got shot.”

Still, she said at the time, “We’re going through counseling now” and “it’s not over over.”

“My kids are cool because they don’t like it and that that helps me, you know. It helps me. They’re not ones to say, ‘Oh, it takes two to tango,’ ” she said on Dobson's podcast in November. “No, they’re mad, because they have been brought up with that teaching that you have made a covenant with God.”

The couple, who first met in high school before eloping in August 1988, share five children including Trig, who is 12 and still lives at home.

From left: Sarah and Todd Palin in 2010
Kevin Mazur/Getty
From left: Sarah and Todd Palin in 2010
Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock

Sarah was elected in November 2006 as Alaska's governor after serving as a small-town mayor, but she left office less than three years later after an unsuccessful run on Sen. John McCain's ticket as a vice presidential candidate.

She later became a reality TV star and political commentator who recently appeared on Fox's Masked Singer; Todd, who also appeared on TV with Sarah, competed on NBC’s 2012 series Stars Earn Stripes and had a small role in a 2018 episode of the TBS sitcom The Detour.

Their daughter Bristol went on to her own fitful reality career, including a stint on MTV’s Teen Mom.

Family friend Dean Cain, who was on Stars Earn Stripes with Todd, had dinner with Todd and Sarah at their Alaska home just a few months before Todd filed for divorce.

“They seemed wonderful together,” the actor told PEOPLE last year. “I’d hate to speculate on the cause — what happens behind closed doors and how people grow and change over time is something no one can ever predict or understand, save those two people.”

Another friend, John Coale, who is married to TV host Greta van Susteren, told PEOPLE last year that “before a couple years ago, they were happy. It was up to three years ago I knew they were happy.”

“From the time I met them, they were a couple in love, a good marriage,” Coale said then. “Todd supported Sarah 100 percent, especially the last couple years.”

Sarah and Todd have continued to spend time together, however, including when daughter Willow gave birth to twins in November.

“I know that they’re both extremely devoted and wonderful parents,” Cain said in September, “and I’m certain that they’ll both remain dedicated to Trig and their other children.”