Sarah Palin Divorce: New E-Mail Likely A Joke

Sarah Palin Likely Kidding In New Divorce E-mail

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this article did not take into account that Palin was most likely joking.

A newly released email that suggests that Sarah Palin may have been contemplating divorce in 2007 appears to be a joke.

In the Sept. 26, 2007 email, one of 17,000 records released Thursday by Alaska officials as part of a Freedom of Information Act request, Palin, then governor of Alaska, writes to an aide and husband Todd Palin: "So speaking of... If we, er, when we get a divorce, does that quell 'conflict of interest' accusations about BP?" (At the time, Todd Palin was working for BP on the North Slope pipeline.)

However, Slate points out that Palin was most likely joking with her husband and aide Frank Bailey, the author of "Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin," which was published last spring. Had Palin been serious, Bailey would likely have included that information in his tell-all. (Bailey was recently fined for using confidential e-mails in his book.)

Additionally, the e-mail was sent at the same time Palin had been criticized for leveling taxes on oil profits while Todd worked at BP -- a seeming "conflict of interest" -- as The Atlantic points out.

Rumors of extramarital affairs and divorce have long surrounded the couple, who have been married since 1988 and have five children together. Shortly after John McCain selected Palin as his running mate on the Republican presidential ticket in August 2008, The National Enquirer alleged that both Palins had been involved in extramarital affairs, a claim that the McCain camp quickly shut down.

Later, in November 2010, People magazine reported that Palin was "steaming" over a tabloid story that alleged she and Todd were headed toward a $20 million divorce.

"I call Todd on the cell phone [from the grocery checkout] and I say, 'Todd, you won't believe this cover!' And he says, 'Twenty million? Write me a check,'" Palin told People at the time. "He's good about laughing some of that stuff off."

The latest rumors stemmed from Joe McGinniss' 2011 book "The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin," in which the writer -- who moved next door to the Palins in Wasilla, Alaska -- alleged that Sarah Palin had an affair with her husband's former business partner, Brad Hanson, in the '90s.

Click through the slideshow below to read about the rumors surrounding the Palins' marriage through the years.

Sarah's Lover?