Remember how Levi Johnston said that Todd and Sarah Palin were on the verge of divorce? Or how he said Sarah Palin had referred to her son Trig, who has Down syndrome, as “retarded”? Well, he may have been fibbing just a little bit.
In a statement to People magazine, Johnston says he was so angry over his breakup with Palin’s daughter Bristol that he may have said some things that, well, weren’t entirely accurate. “Last year, after Bristol and I broke up, I was unhappy and a little angry,” Johnston tells People. “Unfortunately, against my better judgment, I publicly said things about the Palins that were not completely true. I have already privately apologized to Todd and Sarah. Since my statements were public, I owe it to the Palins to publicly apologize.”
In particular, Johnston apologized to Sarah Palin. “Please accept my regrets and forgive my youthful indiscretion,” Johnston says. “I hope one day to restore your trust.”
It’s unclear which claims Johnston is referring to when he says he wasn't entirely honest. Until recently, Johnston, who is the father of Bristol’s 1-year-old son, Tripp, had been publicly trashing the Palins in interview after interview and doing his best to embarrass the former Alaska governor. Johnston posed for Playgirl and used the publicity to try to kick off an acting career, which went nowhere. (Note to Levi: Next time, come up with a better stage name than Ricky Hollywood.)
But in recent months, reports have suggested Johnston has reconciled with his former fiancee. Bristol isn’t saying, but she did offer People her own statement on Johnston’s apology. “Part of co-parenting is creating healthy and honest relationships between the parents,” she says. “Tripp one day needs to know the truth and needs to know that even if a mistake is made the honorable thing to do is to own up to it.”
Bigger picture: Johnston’s apology removes what could have been a somewhat significant liability for Sarah Palin as she plots her political future. While Johnston’s contribution to the Palin storyline was largely gossipy tidbits about her personal life, it threatened to undermine the personal image that Palin has worked hard to project: that of a conservative, values-oriented working mom.
No doubt Palin's critics won't buy Johnston's apology, but if he really does make nice, that will at least keep any more damaging claims from emerging — and that's something Palin wants and needs.
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