todd and sarah palin

Todd M. and Sarah L. Palin in 2010/Wikimedia Commons

A certain TMP has filed for divorce from a certain SLP in the Anchorage Superior Court.

The initialized filing was unusual enough that some court watchers took note. Not only are the names of those involved disguised, the names of the attorneys representing the plaintiff and defendant are absent from public viewable, online, court filings.

The case was filed Friday. Fridays are considered the day when news is most likely to slide under the radar of Alaska’s mainstream media.

Further, the use of initials made it impossible to even find case number 3AN-19-09716CI by name search on the court’s website. The court’s search engine requires the use of both first and last names.

Several sources said they are sure the filing is the oft-rumored divorce of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the north’s biggest ever polebrity, and her Irondog snowmachine race-winning husband Todd.

By Sunday, the state’s word-of-mouth tundra telegraph was atwitter with speculation that the divorce some have long expected has officially begun. But no one claimed to have been specifically told that by either Sarah or Todd.

Sarah’s full name is Sarah Louise Palin. Todd’s full name is Todd Mitchell Palin.

At this time, the unusual filing cannot be fully confirmed as the Palins. A former state lawmaker from the Valley well acquainted with them suspects it was their divorce filing, and two friends of Todd said that though they couldn’t officially confirm the filing, a divorce wouldn’t surprise them in the least.

A motorsport enthusiast, Todd was scheduled to appear with Sarah at a Sturgis, South Dakota motorcycle rally in early August, but was noticeably absent. Sarah said he was out flying around Alaska.

The press contact at was not responding to messages.

Little detail

The online court file in TMP v. SLP describes a “complaint for divorce (with children).” The Palins, who married in 1988, are the parents of five. Four of them are now adults and would be of no interest to the court system during a divorce filing.

But their youngest child, Trig, is but 11-years-old and was born with Down syndrome.

The court file includes a “child custody jurisdiction affidavit,” and a note that the case is being filed per “confidential document per Civil Rule 90.1(f)(1).” The rule allows parties to a divorce to keep confidential certain financial records when child support is a  major issue.

“Each parent in a court proceeding at which child support is involved must file a statement under oath which states the parent’s adjusted annual income and the components of this income…,” the rule says. “This statement must be filed with a party’s initial pleading (such as the dissolution petition, divorce complaint or answer, etc.),
motion to modify, and any response to a motion to modify. The statement must be accompanied by documentation.”

Under the rule, parents are required to stipulate “whether the parent has access to
health insurance for the children and, if so, the additional cost to the parent of the children’s health insurance.”

Many special-needs children face lifelong health issues and require support long after they become adults.  The courts tend to be protective of those individuals.

Court rules stipulate that in child-custody cases, “a statement under subsection (e)(1) of this rule must be accompanied by a confidential information sheet as described in Civil Rule 90.1(f).”

The court file indicates the filing of such an “information sheet.”

It is possible the sources saying the mysterious TMP and SLP are the Palins could be wrong, but the evidence appears to lean toward their being right.

Rumors past

Rumors of divorce have swirled around the couple for a long time. Citing stories “published on several Alaskan web sites,” PEOPLE magazine a decade ago reported alleged “extramarital affairs on both sides and an impending divorce, and claim(s) the 45-year-old politician is considering moving her family to Montana afterward.”

An unnamed “Palin rep” was reported to have emailed the magazine, “No truth to any of the rumors. No divorce. No affairs. No land in Montana. Nothing! All lies and fabrications!”

The Sarah Palin Facebook page at that time posted “yet again, some so-called journalists have decided to make up a story.”

 A year later, as the Palins rolled out the short-lived TV series “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” Sarah told PEOPLE they had mixed feelings about divorce rumors. Sarah was left “steaming,” the story said, but she told the magazine Todd got a laugh out of the latest rumor in a tabloid magazine:

“I call Todd on the cell phone, and I say, ‘Todd, you won’t believe this cover!’ And he says, ‘(A) $20 million (settlement)? Write me a check.’ He’s good about laughing some of that stuff off.”

Once the center of a nation’s focus for her attacks on the nation’s “lamestream media” and her efforts to undermine the presidency of Democrat Barack Obama, the failed Republican candidate for vice-president has been noticeably absent from the public stage in the past year. Her Facebook page was long ago converted into a news aggregator that posts links to right-leaning news stories.

Sarah’s website largely echoes the Facebook page these days but does run a sidebar of her Twitter posts. The last was Aug. 6 when she posted that she was pleased the courts had reinstated a defamation suit she filed against the New York Times in 2017 falsely claimed her  “political incitement” contributed to an Arizona mass shooting that left nine dead and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords seriously injured in 2011.

At the time of the shooting, it was suggested a Sarah Palin political ad with crosshairs drawn over Democratic congressional districts, one of which was Giffords’, might have inspired the shooter. The investigation of the shooting showed there was no connection; the shooter had been targeting Giffords long before the ad.

The latter fact was well known years before the 2017 Times story appeared. A federal district court judge ruled the Times made a huge error, but in the exercise of First Amendment free speech, “mistakes will be made, some of which will be hurtful to others.”

He tossed the case in the belief public figures must be prepared to accept those mistakes. An appeals court disagreed. It was that case to which Sarah’s Twitter feed linked.

That came almost a month after Sarah’s Tweets slowed dramatically and changed tone after years of running a steady stream of links to stories supporting President Donald Trump, attacking Democrats, and promoting national defense.

All of that ended July 9, and Sarah Palin @ Sarah Palin USA, which had Tweeted at least every couple days and often more than once per day, went quiet for 11 days before shifting to a  more personal tone with less frequent posts.

On July 20, Sarah (or whoever she might have been hired to work for her) posted her next Tweet, a tribute to the passing of millionaire heiress Marylou Whitney, 93, who in 1997 married Alaskan John Hendrickson, a friend and contemporary of Sarah’s.

Sarah did not post again until Aug. 6 when she popped up at the Buffalo Chip Sturgis Rally in South Dakota. A gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts, the Buffalo Chip bills itself as “the best party anywhere.”

Sarah’s two Twitter posts from Sturgis showed her in jeans and t-shirt arm in arm with two legends of motorsport, stock car racer Rusty Wallace and dragster driver Don Prudhomme.  Nothing has appeared on her Twitter feed since.

Strange silence

A month-long gap in Sarah’s Twitter posts is unprecedented, and Sturgis organizers had expected Todd at the rally along with his wife.

In a videotape posted by KOTA-TV, Sarah gave Todd a shout-out as a big motorhead and four-time winner of Iron Dog, adding that “he’s out flying across Alaska.”

In a video interview, she also told KOTA Territory News she was looking to get back into politics with most of the children out of the house.

“It’s all a matter of timing,” she said, “and thankful (sic) that our youngest daughter, our fourth child, she just graduated high school. That kind of frees us up to be out and about.”

Her Sturgis appearance attracted little media attention outside of South Dakota. The Rapid City Journal, the state’s largest paper, covered Sarah in Sturgis but focused mainly on photographs of her driving a Polaris Slingshot SLR three-wheel motorcycle with car-like, side-by-side seating; attending what was described as a press conference; and greeting fans, including one who handed her a “Make America Great Again” hat.

The Wall Street Journal in an opinion column mentioned her as part of the “Trump Train” rolling into the Black Hills.

Sarah’s last post on Instagram, where she has been more active, put her at a Kid Rock concert in Crandon, Wisc., six days ago.

Crandon is the home of the World Championship Off-Road Races. Palin appears to have attracted no media attention there, but did get a mention on the Instagram page of off-road racer Dan McMillin.

“If someone said they were at a Kid Rock concert in a town of less then 2,000 people in Northern Wisconsin for a World Championship off-road race and Sarah Palin and Rusty Wallace were amongst the attendees, you’d think they made it up,” he wrote. “But that actually happened, in no other than Crandon, Wisconsin! Wow. What a weekend and what a hangover!”

Sarah’s own Instagram page is now heavily focused on Trig and family, including a short video of her picking him up at school three weeks ago along with this cryptic post:

“My 25th consecutive 1st Day of School‼️ BIGGEST darn deal ALL week = backpack: Harley Davidson? or camo? Trig needed to see ‘em at EVERY angle, every day to decide🤔 What’s YOUR choice? Swipe to see his. Swipe again to see how that 1st day went 😬🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♂️”

Todd is noticeably absent from the dozens of photos posted on the page in the last six months. He appears in only one. It is a reference to kids making faces in family photos, and in those family photos Todd is partially cropped out.

Correction: An early version of this story misidentified Instagram.


52 replies »

  1. I hope that everything works out best for the youngest Palins. Growing up with the media attention that this family has had over the past 15 years has got to be absolutely stressful to everyone.

  2. Who gives a crap about Sarah Palin. She seemed to have promise when first elected governor but showed her incompetence soon after. Thank you Katie Couric and Tina Fey!

  3. Just sad a couple wants to divorce after 31 yrs of marriage & 5 kids. Wasn’t a fan of either, but never like to see folks cut their vows.

  4. Folks, no matter what your opinion is of either of these two people the fact, if true, that after 31 years of marriage they are divorcing is sad. (My bride and I have also been married for 31 years) They have certainly had their ups and downs over those many years all played out in the public sphere is tough.
    I wish them both health and happiness.
    Thanks Craig for your even handiness in reporting this very sad information.

  5. I find it delusional that folks would comment that the Palin’s are such a great family. Numerous media stories and police incident reports would have most reasonable folks believing otherwise.

    • They’ve been pretty badly abused by media for a decade and prior to unwanted fame, there weren’t big or real problems. They’re good people. They’re incredibly slandered people as well.

      • I don’t relish in their break up, and I agree that the media coverage likely affected their marriage adversely. However, they seemed to have plenty of problems prior to fame. The whole Troopergate issue was around vindictive revenge within the family. Track Palin had plenty of problems since high school. Neither had been focused on family, in spite of efforts to make it seem otherwise, but fortunately they had a supportive extended family. Can’t blame it all on the media or Obama.

      • agreed. the media certainly didn’t start that infamous South Anchorage brawl either or… well, that list is too long to start. i’d be tied up here all day.

        the Palins were never perfect nor as flawed as some tried to make them out to be. in some ways, they are just very human.

      • “unwanted fame?” i’m willing to accept your opinion on the rest of it.

        but “unwanted fame” is simply untrue. Sarah ran for governor; she tried to become VP; and after that, she quit being governor to go chase fame like a hungry bear in pursuit of Alaska salmon.

      • To Spenard, let’s not add lies to anything. None of her kids had major problems and all were decent students. And if you knew even half of the media abuse and slander they’ve suffered, you’d award them a medal. I said the family never sought fame. That is true and even Sarah’s Heath relatives have been brutalized. You have no idea what Troopergate was. That trooper just lost custody of his son THIS year and said son cheered.

        What is true is, the palins have NEVER acted better than anyone, they’ve never pretended to be without flaw, Sarah herself consistently highlights her own flaws. What is also true is this is a VERY family focused family. Family is #1 to them and always has been. Their kids are successful and have never needed parents $ post high school.

        Just please stop slandering her kids.

      • I wonder who you really are, HomerAK. You’re all over the internet trying to make the Palin sound like decent people (which most of us know they are in fact not).

  6. Uh oh. Trouble in Paradise, after all. Good job, Craig, on this sleuth reporting. You should be writing again for the newly revived ADN, and getting paid for all the great reporting and commentary you do.

  7. I hope Todd and his lawyers “take her for all she is worth”…
    Especially after Mcguiniss’s book was published detailing episodes of her extra circular affairs…and those are the ones which came to public light.
    “The National Enquirer published details from Joe McGinniss’ hotly anticipated Sarah Palin biography today, including an NBA player’s claim that he slept with Palin shortly before her marriage.
    Since Rice apparently confirms the fling to McGinniss, I’m leaning towards “true” on this one.
    Sarah Cheated on Todd Repeatedly: Not only was Palin “more in the picture at the time of Sarah’s romp with Glen Rice,” but she also banged Todd’s business partner, the Enquirer says McGinniss says.”
    This was all occurring while she was singing the “right wing” religious banner under God…
    God Bless America…The Palins too!

    • Kid Rock. i have no idea if Todd was in Wisconsin or not. he wasn’t in Sturgis. if you have a fan pic from this year screenshot it and send it to me. anything is possible.

  8. I hope that everything works out best for the youngest Palins. Growing up with the media attention that this family has had over the past 15 years has got to be absolutely stressful to everyone.
    Cheers all!

      • They’re all pretty amazing people. Have such a great family. I hung out with Sarah, Todd, their oldest son and youngest daughter 2 years ago this month. The best group

      • I really don’t care for Sara or Todd. I feel that they are narcissistic glory seekers. However, it’s not their children’s fault that they were born into this situation. The amount of human carnage that these situations create (the divorce, fame and the focused ‘news’ scrutiny on humans) has a significant negative impact to our local and national society. I’m not gloating on someone who I disagree with having a major life event, I feel bad for the entire situation.

      • Jack,
        Glad you tossed the Philosopher’s Cap back on…
        You statement is true:
        “The amount of human carnage that these situations create (the divorce, fame and the focused ‘news’ scrutiny on humans) has a significant negative impact to our local and national society”
        Years of blah, blah, blah on the MSM while Sara was calling out the same outlets as the problem?
        Then we all lived through the “scope ring nightmare” that included the shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords and 18 others…
        I guess Bob Dylan said it best:
        “…With guns in their hands
        And God on their side…
        And you never ask questions
        When God’s on your side…”

      • Steve Stine, wasn’t Gabby Giffords shooter a looney left-wing Democrat? And since that is the case, I am pretty sure God wasn’t at his side. Ever heard of Steve Scalise? Guess the “bullseyes” made them do it. Paaaaaalease!!!

      • Bryan,
        Glad U are “on the job” defending everything Tea Party and attempting to once again blame “the left” for creating what Jack described as “The amount of human carnage that these situations create..”
        Truth is “Here is what Sarah Palin said on the Facebook page where she depicted Gabrielle Giffords in the cross hairs of a rifle scope: “Don’t retreat! Instead – RELOAD!”
        “Well, the guy who shot Giffords…managed to keep firing until he killed six, including a child, and wounded 13.”
        Unlike the Steve Scalise incident there was a history of this fb page (Palin’s) with the “scope” crosshairs over Gabby Giffords district?
        “That did not stop Palin from declaring Giffords a “target.”
        Giffords’ district office was subsequently vandalized, and the congresswoman noted that Palin had put “the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district.”
        “When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action,” Giffords said.

      • So what, Steve? I guess they had ‘it’ coming or something? I’m pretty sure that their family is miserable enough without me shitting on them some more and rubbing their nose in Mom or Dad’s shitty deeds (depending on one’s political viewpoint, of course). As far as the shooting of Rep Giffords goes, the shooter was a mentally disturbed Democrat who admitted that the commercial in question had nothing to do with his ‘decision’ to try to kill her (and all the other folks there). I was just saying that perhaps we could limit the damage that their family (and vicariously, our community) are going to be going through, not drudge up all of the political BS that’s out there.
        Cheers man!

      • Well Jack…
        Your initial comment was:
        “The amount of human carnage that these situations create (the divorce, fame and the focused ‘news’ scrutiny on humans) has a significant negative impact to our local and national society”
        I guess this means something different to me than it does to you…
        We each are entitled to our own opinions..
        I personally feel that the negative impact of the harsh Tea Party rhetoric has had detrimental effects on Society and Sarah has been front and foremost in that movement.
        Just because they are getting divorced does not negate what has been said in the past.
        Many speeches are documented on YouTube…
        You can judge for yourself.

    • I don’t understand your opinion logic but the fact is that there aren’t more authentic, humble people than this family. They have endured a decade of media abuse and slander, and managed to have such an amazing ride. While I do think this would be surprising for the kids, (Todd made a big deal out of their anniv in 2013 and gave her a new ring), there are not stronger people than their kids or their family. I don’t know anyone who would’ve survived the last 10 years as well as they have.

      • Going to side with Laurie here. I mean, let’s compare the Palin’s to the Clintons, along with their infidelity. I remember the ladies all saying about Bill, “that they all do it” or “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”. One got treated like royalty and the other got treated like yesterdays trash. One was a Patriot and one was a charlatan.

      • Huh bryan, if you think Palin’s a Patriot just cause you have the same ideological values then you two deserve each other, lol. Bye felicia

    • I mean, all her kids are happy and fulfilled. They all have humble GOOD careers and had the same good foundation.

    • that story did confuse SnapChat with Instagram. thanks. i fixed it.

      Sarah plainly says at Sturgis that Todd is out flying across Alaska. he can’t be at both Sturgis and flying in Alaska. you might have seen photos from 2018 when, indeed, he was there.

      • I believe Sarah and Todd were both at Sturgis this year for the first 2 days or so. Theres the dated shirt and another pic of them on a bike. And I will try to find that Kid Rock picture. Sorry for that typo above.

        We also have to consider how sometimes a legal divorce only changes things on paper. But middle age divorce is incredibly common. They had some good years, they have a great family, they had a wonderful adventure just over the last decade.

        It’s interesting because a year ago BOTH of them said they were looking forward to having the 4 kids on their own because it would free up significant time and allow more outside travel. They’re in AZ a lot. Theyre with their racer friends a lot. If this IS them, I would think those things would remain the same?

      • given the family, i’d hope that if this is the Palin parents they stay on good terms.

        and again, if Todd was in Sturgis, why would Sarah at a press conference before activities began say “he’s out flying across Alaska” to apologize for his non-attendance?

        it’s about 00:27 in if you missed it:

        do you think they were in Sturgis the weekend before the event began, and Todd left before Sarah’s Monday appearance?

        and if that were the case, why wouldn’t she say Todd had to run back to Alaska instead of referring to him “out flying across Alaska”?

  9. Todd was at Sturgis ,with you you liar . You might want to actually look at people’s Facebook posts before writing your lies.

    • Thanks Jay. But if Todd was at Sturgis this year why would Sarah say he was away flying across Alaska? And why wouldn’t he appear in any of the many newspaper photos of Sarah taken at Sturgis this year?

      are you sure you aren’t confusing 2019 with 2018 when Todd was there?

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