Columbia, SC (WLTX) - South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and her husband Michael areopening up about his recent return from a National Guard deployment to Afghanistan.
The first couple sat down with News19's Andrea Mock Wednesday for an interview, the first time they've spoken on the subject since he came back to the state December 12th.
The twosaid it was an emotionalmoment at Eagle Aviation in West Columbia when Michael walked in with his fellow guardsmenand he and his wifefinally had a chance to see each other.
"I didn't realize but I had just held my breath for a year, and so when I saw him it was an absolute sense of relief,"Gov. Haley said. "The first concern was the kids. I wanted them to just be able to see him and hug him, and they were nervous and excited and ready to see him. But I mean...just hugging him...I just said it's okay it's going to be alright. I mean it was just a huge sense of relief. I think he was probably surprised too but I just I couldn't let go."
"Seeing the kids was...you can't describe it," Michael said. "It's a good feeling. And I couldn't get to Nikki quick enough."
Michael Haley and his unit, the ADT 3-49, spent 10 months training Afghan farmers in techniques in an effort to get them to stop growing poppies, the plants used to make opium.
During the deployment, they saw each other for just two weeks, when he and other members of the group got a two week leave in May.
"It is incredibly lonely and stressful at times to figure how to do everything that you've always done as a couple, to suddenly do by yourself," Gov. Haley said of the deployment. "We talked about what the hardest times were. I think definitely birthdays were tough. The first day of school was tough. When my mom got sick and I was in the hospital with her and I didn't have him to lean on, that was really tough. But there was never a time where we weren't incredibly proud and knew that he was doing what they love."
The Haleys have been married since 1996. They have two children.