A longtime adviser to Gov. Jim Gibbons confirmed Thursday the governor and first lady Dawn Gibbons are going through a "painful time" but refused to comment on a report the couple would meet with family this weekend to decide the future of their marriage.
"Many families go through difficult times and the Gibbons family is no exception," Jim Denton told The Associated Press.
"Unfortunately, their role in public life has brought this into the public arena, which doesn't happen with most people," he said.
Jim Gibbons, a Republican who served five terms in Congress, was elected governor in 2006.
Denton, a top adviser to Jim Gibbons dating to before his congressional campaigns, made his comments after the Reno Gazette-Journal first reported on its Web site Thursday that the governor had scheduled a family meeting this weekend to decide whether the marriage of 21 years would continue.
"I believe there is a family meeting this weekend to make a determination as to what is going to happen," Dianne Cornwall, the governor's chief operating officer, told the newspaper. "It is a personal issue with the governor until a decision is made."
Denton " who also advised Dawn Gibbons on her failed congressional bid in 2006 " declined to comment on the prospects for a weekend meeting.
"I've known Jim and Dawn Gibbons for over two decades, have immense respect for both of them and I know this is a painful time for them. However, this is a personal and private matter and we would ask the press to treat it as such," Denton told AP.
He said Jim Gibbons had no direct comment.
Dawn Gibbons, a former state assemblywoman who had sought the GOP nomination for the congressional seat her husband held for 10 years, did not immediately return telephone messages the AP left at her home and on her cell phone.
During his time in the U.S. House, Gibbons was the only member of Congress to have served in both the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars. A former combat pilot, he also served eight years in the Nevada Assembly.
Dawn Gibbons filled his legislative seat when he was deployed with the Nevada Air Guard during the first Persian Gulf War. She then was elected in her own right when he was elected to Congress in 1996.
The two were married in June 1986. They have three children and three grandchildren.