On Friday, as the rest of us were trying to decide whether to give in to Hermine hysteria, a lawyer for the Hon. Marjorie “Midge” Rendell was busy filing divorce papers against Ed Rendell at the Montgomery County Courthouse.
The couple announced their separation back in February 2011, one month after Ed ended his second term as Pennsylvania governor.
“Dear friends,” the Rendells wrote in an email at the time, “we wanted to let you know that we have decided to embark upon this next phase of our lives by living separately. This has been a difficult decision, but we both believe it is the right thing to do. Our parting is amicable, and we will remain friends and continue to be active in our community, sometimes together, sometimes separately … Please do not hesitate to include both of us in social occasions as we will not find it awkward or uncomfortable.”
For the last five years, the couple’s separation has remained largely amicable, by all accounts, with Ed buying a new East Falls home in 2015 less than a half-mile from their longtime marital abode, where Midge still resides.
The Rendells reportedly spend holidays together along with son Jesse and his family. Jesse and Beka Rendell gave Ed and Midge their first grandchild in 2012 when Dean Thompson Rendell was born.
And the couple has continued to make public appearances all through their separation.
In 2013, they joined forces to launch the Rendell Center for Citizenship and Civics at Arcadia University, smiling at each other as they announced the initiative at the Constitution Center. Last December, they were photographed together at the Pennsylvania Society dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, where they were honored with the society’s 2015 Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement.
So why file for divorce now?
“They could have kept this Italian divorce going on forever,” says one person familiar with the couple.
If there are any juicy details to be had, Montgomery County Court takes care of that by sealing all divorce records. Midge’s Norristown-based attorney Cheryl Young, who represented reality star Kate Gosselin in her divorce, wasn’t immediately available for comment, but Ed, long dogged by rumors of his womanizing, insists there’s nothing to see here.
“The separation has been amicable, and the divorce will be too,” he told us, adding that the pair recently traveled to Jamaica with Jesse and family. “As amicable a divorce as you’ve ever seen. This was just inevitable.”
The divorce case is being presided over by none other than the Hon. Risa Vetri Ferman, who recently became a judge in Montgomery County after serving as Montgomery County district attorney for eight years. (She’s also the sister of chef Marc Vetri.)
Ed and Midge, both Penn grads, married in 1971. Ed, now 72, went on to become Philadelphia’s district attorney and then mayor before serving two terms as governor of Pennsylvania. Most recently, he’s been criticized for some of his commentary on the 2016 presidential race.
Midge, who earned a law degree at Villanova, was appointed federal judge by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and later became an appeals court judge. Midge, 69, reduced her judicial workload in 2015 to spend more time on her philanthropy.
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