Subscribe for 33¢ / day

Once a symbol of integrity, Megan Barry made history as the Music City's first female mayor in 2015. Barry sought to tackle the scarcity of public transportation options and affordable housing, and helped score a professional soccer franchise.

She was popular and energetic, a regular presence at music venues and Nashville Predators hockey games.

The mayor's willingness to talk about her only son's fatal drug overdose last summer engendered sympathy from residents. Those warm feelings largely continued even after the mayor, 54, publicly apologized for having an affair with her bodyguard.

It all ended Tuesday with Barry stepping down after admitting to a felony theft charge related to the affair.

"While my time today as your mayor concludes, my unwavering love and sincere affection for this wonderful city and its great people will never come to an end," Barry told reporters in a three-minute appearance.

The guilty plea to felony theft of property over $10,000 represented a remarkable fall for the politician: Barry once enjoyed approval ratings of more than 70 percent.

Barry, a Democrat and two-term Metro Council member, was elected mayor in September 2015 in a runoff. She previously worked as an ethics and compliance officer in private business.

Barry distinguished herself as a pro-business, socially progressive politician, Joey Garrison, a metro politics reporter for The Tennessean, told CNN.

Last July, Barry lost her son to an accidental drug overdose in a Colorado suburb. Max Barry's death was complicated in part by morbid obesity, according to an autopsy.

The opioid crisis came to Barry's doorstep, and the public way in which she coped with the tragedy moved many residents.

"She's a Nashvillian. She feels that when she hurts, we hurt ... we're a family," resident Wesley Martin said.

Barry spoke openly about her son's struggles with drugs, hoping her own experience and transparency could help others confront similar problems.

But her resignation came after months of intense local news coverage about her relationship with the former head of her security detail, Sgt. Robert Forrest Jr.

In January, Barry publicly apologized for the nearly two-year affair with the married bodyguard.

"I accept full responsibility for the pain I have caused my family and his. I am so sorry to my husband, Bruce, who has stood by me in my darkest moments and remains committed to our marriage, just as I am committed to repairing the damage I have done," she said then.

She insisted she would stay in office and she remained popular with residents who were disappointed but not outraged.That changed with her guilty plea.

She agreed to reimburse the city of Nashville $11,000 and serve three years of probation, according to court documents obtained by CNN.

Forrest also pleaded guilty to theft of property over $10,000. He agreed to serve three years of supervised probation and repay the city $45,000, court documents show.


Load comments