Gary Locke

Wife of US Ambassador to China Gary Locke denies he had affair

Amid rumours about Gary Locke's exit, she says they will spend Thanksgiving in China

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 November, 2013, 11:31pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 November, 2013, 7:51am

Mona Lee Locke, the wife of outgoing US Ambassador to China Gary Locke, has denied rumours that her husband was involved in an extramarital affair, in an interview with Chinese state media.

Lee Locke was asked about the rumour after days of intense speculation over the reason for her husband's decision to leave the high-profile diplomatic post after little more than two years.

When I met with President Obama, I informed him of my decision

Reports in the mainland and Hong Kong media, as well as Chinese political gossip sites, have attributed his departure to everything from Beijing's chronic pollution to his ambition to run for the US presidency. On Thursday, reports began to circulate saying he was involved in an extramarital affair.

"I assure you that this is not true," Lee Locke said, according to the China News Service.

She was interviewed in Washington, where she was attending the 100,000 Strong Foundation's annual conference at American University. Her comments were published on the news agency's English-language website.

Gary Locke has attributed his departure on a desire to move back to Seattle, Washington state, where two of his children recently returned to finish high school. He is the first Chinese-American to hold the post.

"When I met with President [Barack] Obama earlier this month, I informed him of my decision to step down as ambassador in early 2014 to rejoin my family in Seattle," Locke said in a statement announcing his decision.

Lee Locke and two of the couple's three children returned to Seattle in July as she became interim executive director of Komen Puget Sound, a local branch of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer foundation.

"She will commute to Beijing to be with Gary," Komen spokesman Jim Clune told The Seattle Times in July.

Lee Locke told CNS that she will be visiting Beijing soon.

"We have two homes, one in Seattle and the other in Beijing. I miss Beijing very much and I will go back to Beijing next week to spend Thanksgiving with Gary," she said.