JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — When Eric Greitens sought Missouri’s highest office in 2016, his resume seemed hard to top: former Navy SEAL, former Rhodes scholar and founder of a veterans’ charity. Most important, he said during the campaign, was his role as “a proud husband and father.”

On Thursday, the square-jawed Republican governor fought allegations that he photographed his hairdresser naked while having an affair with her and threatened to publicize the image if she spoke about their relationship. The top prosecutor in St. Louis quickly launched an investigation. A bipartisan group of state lawmakers asked the attorney general to investigate as well.

Greitens acknowledged being “unfaithful” in his marriage, but denied taking any naked photos and blackmailing the woman to stay quiet.

The governor and his wife released a statement late Wednesday after St. Louis television station KMOV aired a bombshell report that he had a sexual relationship with the hairdresser in 2015. The report included allegations from the woman’s ex-husband, who secretly recorded a conversation with his ex-wife discussing the affair.

The affair was “a deeply personal mistake,” the Greitens’ statement said. “Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately.”

Grietens, 43, has been seen as a rising star in Republican political circles.

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