Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens acknowledges he had an extramarital affair with an unidentified woman but denies a claim that he tried to blackmail her into silence.
The 43-year-old Republican tweeted a statement hours after a St. Louis television station reported the 3-year-old encounter Wednesday.
CBS affiliate KMOV reported that the woman said in a recording that she had a sexual encounter with Greitens and that he tried to blackmail her to keep the matter quiet.
The woman's ex-husband told the station the recording took place just after their encounter in March 2015. The man also said Greitens photographed the man's ex-wife in a bid to keep her from telling other people.
"There was no blackmail and that claim is false," the governor's attorney, James Bennett, said in a statement.
The governor, in a statement with his wife, said the extramarital affair "was a deeply personal mistake."
"We understand that there will be some people who cannot forgive — but for those who can find it in your heart, Eric asks for your forgiveness, and we are grateful for your love, your compassion, and your prayers."
Greitens, a Democrat who switched to the GOP, was elected governor in 2016.
KMOV noted that when he announced his candidacy, he said: "I'm Eric Greitens, I'm a Navy SEAL, native Missourian and most importantly, a proud husband and father."