Bob Filner’s former fiancée, Bronwyn Ingram, spoke exclusively to NBC 7 on Wednesday about her break-up with Filner and the massive scandal that followed, plaguing San Diego City Hall for six weeks.
“It was a really, really impossible situation to be in,” Ingram told NBC 7’s Gene Cubbison of her decision to end her relationship with Filner, her boyfriend of three years.
“To be actually accomplishing things, and at the same time, see your partner behaving in ways that are not consistent with an exclusive relationship, it’s a really impossible situation to be in.”
Ingram broke off her engagement to Filner more than two months ago, publicly announcing their split on Jul. 8.
Days later, on Jul. 11, Filner’s former allies – Donna Frye, Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs -- made a major move and publically accused the mayor of sexually harassing several women.
From there, things quickly escalated, with more than a dozen women coming forward over the course of six weeks accusing Filner of sexual harassment and misconduct.
After a two-week stint in therapy and ongoing pressure to resign from all angles -- including a public plea from Ingram -- Filner announced his resignation on Aug. 23. His last day in office was Aug. 30.
Now, nearly two weeks after Filner stepped down from office, Ingram visited the NBC 7 studio to discuss the demise of her relationship, the whirlwind that followed and the future.
Bronwyn said breaking up with Filner and walking away from her role as First Lady of San Diego was very difficult, but the relationship had to end.
She had heard rumors of Filner’s alleged sexual misconduct time and time again leading up to their break-up, but said Filner denied any wrongdoing.
“I’d catch a little something of a rumor and when I’d ask Bob, he’d say, ‘Absolutely, that’s not true.’ But, it got to the point to where there was enough suspicion. When we were in Paris and I actually saw him texting, it was like, ‘Okay, that’s confirmation.’ And now I have to get home and deal with this.”
“When I really had enough confirmation to really feel that he was not being honest in our relationship, then that was difficult and it was very hurtful. And, there were tears and I was angry but I am also a person who doesn’t hold onto anger. You know, I deal with it. I say what I had to say, I make my decision and that’s it. I don’t hold onto the anger. “
Toward the end of their three-year relationship, Ingram said she and Filner were fighting more often, signaling the end.
Then, when the allegations of sexual harassment surrounding Filner broke wide open, Ingram said she was shocked and deeply hurt.
“I was pretty stunned with all these women coming forward and wondering when he had time to do all the work that he accomplished. It was like, ‘Wow, really?’ It’s hurtful. It’s hurtful,” she explained. “It’s just really disappointing because we had such serious things to work on. And to see this kind of behavior undermine everything that we wanted to accomplish. I was just really sad and disappointed.”
In the aftermath of the scandal, Ingram said her former fiancé is “a man grappling with the seriousness of what he has done. “
“A lot of people have been hurt -- he has hurt himself the most. He had a wonderful career in Congress that is essentially gone. I don’t know how much people will remember, all of the great things he did. They’re going to remember this. I think he himself is going through quite a bit.”
Ultimately, Ingram hopes Filner will get the therapy and help that he needs to move on.
“Once he completes treatment and gets help, he’s still going to be useful in some way to society. He’s very smart; he has a lot of great ideas. Perhaps in some completely different and appropriate venue he can be very productive and helpful,” she added.
“He has to deal with himself first. Then, look around and see where he’s going to fit in, and that may not be in San Diego. I know he loves San Diego and that’s his home, but I have talked to him about potentially relocating to somewhere where people haven’t been so hurt by him. You know kind of a fresh start.”
As for her future, she’s ready for a clean slate and says this ordeal has undoubtedly made her stronger.
“My personal philosophy is that when something happens in your life that’s painful and hurtful you just have to process that, take a lesson and move forward. It sounds cliché, but that’s really how I like to live my life. You go on, you move forward and you keep your priorities in balance.”
Finally, in regards to recent rumors that she and Filner have rekindled their relationship, Ingram confirms that simply is not true. The pair was recently spotted in San Francisco having dinner together, but Ingram said it was merely a casual reunion.
“That’s what it was – dinner. I was in San Francisco visiting my niece and he wanted to apologize in person. I allowed him to go and do that. It’s not newsworthy or that interesting. It was dinner with an ex, and I’m actually friends with all of my exes. I’m not a person who holds anger or bitterness,” Ingram explained.
Despite everything, Ingram said she’ll always care about Filner to some degree.
“I’ll always care about the person that he is, absolutely,” she said.
In time, and with treatment, Ingram believes there’s hope for redemption for Filner.
“I think he has pathology to deal with. I don’t know if you want to call him a monster or not – those were his words. But he certainly has some troubles and issues in himself that he needs to deal with, and I think he is doing that.”