On Christmas Eve, they met in Ensign's home office where the senator cried and both he and Cynthia said the affair would stop. Both couples told their children, and the next day, the families celebrated Christmas together.
But Ensign began texting Hampton again the next month, and the affair picked up. The senator gave her $3,000 in cash for hotel rooms and items for herself, and told her more than once that he wanted to marry her -- once at the National Prayer Breakfast.
When he traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan with Doug Hampton on a congressional delegation trip in February 2008, Ensign called Cynthia several times, running her phone bill up to nearly $1,000. Aware of the contact between Ensign and his wife, Hampton asked to borrow the senator's phone to call Cynthia and watched him scroll down to "Aunt Judy" instead of her real name.