Seeking "redemption" in the aftermath of an affair with Gen. David Petraeus that ended with his resignation as CIA director last November and landed her in the heart of a media field day, Paula Broadwell on Tuesday said she's looking to return to her faith-based roots.
Attending the YMCA's annual prayer breakfast in Charlotte on Tuesday, Broadwell - a U.S. Army Reserve intelligence officer who traveled with Petreaus as his biographer - spoke publicly for the first time since the scandal, telling News 14 Carolina that the message about God, family and reflection hit close to home: "It really touched my heart," she said. "The mission today, the prayer breakfast today, was to speak about redemption and slowing down in life and finding purpose.
"...I've made some mistakes in the past," Broadwell continued, "but I'm trying to look forward with my family."
Broadwell said her appearance at the breakfast, which drew several state leaders, was not a ploy to seek "publicity." She told News 14 Carolina that she's long supported the YMCA's programs, and has a history with prayer and religion.
"I grew up in a strong faith-based family," she said. "I think I have selected to return to those roots for strength, for my family, for myself and to protect our children and to forgive others and move on and face forward."
Moving forward, she said, will include engaging in "meaningful work." Citing her participation in wounded warrior organizations and veteran support initiatives, the next phase of her life, she continued, will involve serving her Charlotte community. Last week, Petraeus announced that in August he will come on board at the City University of New York as a visiting professor.
But "first and foremost," Broadwell said, will be her family. She and her husband, Dr. Scott Broadwell, have two sons.
"I've been focusing on my family - and, again, this whole breakfast is a reminder of what should be first in one's life and I'm thankful to have that reminder," she said. "At the end of the day, I count my blessings being in this wonderful country and our wonderful community and having such a wonderful family and opportunities and the opportunity to rebuild."