Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa confirmed, in the Daily News, the rumors that he has been in a romantic relationship with Mirthala Salinas, an anchor and reporter for Telemundo. Beth Barrett got the story, including a statement from the mayor and an interview with Corina Villaraigosa's mother that suggests the mayor's estranged wife wants to undo the melding of their names.
With the Daily News set to publish a story about his relationship with Salinas, an anchorwoman and reporter for NBC-Telemundo (Channel 52), and his mother-in-law's account of the climactic moment in his marriage, Villaraigosa issued the following statement:
"It is true that I have a relationship with Ms. Mirthala Salinas. As I've said I take full responsibility for my actions, and I once again ask that people respect my family's privacy. For my part, I intend to stay focused on my job, and to work as hard as I can every day to be the best mayor I can be."
Salinas did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.
Back in January, the buzz of the mayor's marital trouble reached a fever pitch, prompting Villaraigosa to give an unnamed Los Angeles Times reporter an interview at Getty House, calling the reports "absolutely not true" and adding, "We are not separated."
But when Corina raised the same question about her husband's wedding ring, she got a very different answer.
Basically, he said it was none of her business, according to Corina's 88-year-old mother, Manuela Raigosa.
That January interview at Getty House was with Jim Newton, then chief of the Times' city-county bureau. It ran as a short story Feb. 1 without byline. Barrett says the mayor had been spotted several times by a neighbor at Salinas' Studio City townhouse and for two days in January cleared his schedule to attend her mother's funeral.
Add: Telemundo 52 says that Salinas moved off the political beat eleven months ago, but a spokesman would not discuss the relationship. Her bio on the station's website says that Salinas was born in Mexico and attended Arizona State University. NBC4
10:20 am: Nothing on the Times' website.
Photos: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images at Daily News.com and Telemundo