A little over a month after their divorce was finalized, author Terry McMillan and her estranged, gay husband, Jonathan Plummer, appeared for the first time on The Oprah Winfrey Show Wed. Nov. 9 in what appeared as the couple’s attempt to answer heated questions concerning their dissolved 6-year marriage.
Plummer said on the show that he cheated on McMillan with another man during their marriage. The two said that hey still loved each other–in the way a formerly heterosexual couple can love each other when the man has said he is gay. And that they took a bath with one another at McMillan’s house the night before their "Oprah" appearance.
McMillan, the best selling author of “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” and Plummer shared with viewers tape recordings of profane messages McMillan had left Plummer after their marriage began turning sour.
On the show, the two held hands, and Plummer skirted Winfrey’s question concerning whether Plummer cheated on McMillan with a man.
“I didn’t do anything to jeopardize my health, nor Terry’s health,” Plummer said before admitting that he had.
“You’re very good,” Winfrey told Plummer.
When Winfrey, who likened the couple’s divorce proceedings to "War of the Roses," asked McMillan whether she thought her marriage to Plummer was "happily ever after," McMillan said: "No."
"I told him him, ‘We’re not gonna be sitting on a rocking chair on the back porch together.’ My attitude is this: happiness is as long as it lasts, and as long as two people work to make it work. And Jonathan was young, and I said, ‘You know what? I didn’t want to steal your 20s from you."
But as exemplified by her public reaction to Plummer’s infidelity and his attempt to receive her personal wealth after the split, McMillan certainly didn’t expect her marriage to hit the skids the way it did.
In court papers earlier this year, McMillan had claimed that Plummer had known that he was gay before they wed in 1998 and only used her to become a U.S. citizen. She also alleged he wanted to void their prenuptial agreement to dip into the coffers she had filled with millions of dollars from her earnings as a best selling author.
Plummer countered that he had not known he was gay when he met her in 1995 on a beach in Negril, Jamaica and kindled what would turn into the best selling book and movie "How Stella Got Her Groove Back.
He said McMillan was “homophobic” and seeking revenge. He was not out for McMillan’s money, Plummer contended, though he was seeking earning McMillan had earned from "Stella" because he said he had inspired the book.
Under the terms of the settlement, Plummer was awarded about $50,000: $20,000 in cash, $20,000 to pay off a car loan and $10,000 for temporary spousal support. McMillan was also ordered to pay Plummer’s legal fees to the tune of $27,000.
But all in all, McMillan spent a "fortune" to "keep my money," she said. It was $300,000 to be exact, she added.
Even Winfrey, the richest woman in the world, even took issue with Plummer’s decision to seek McMillan’s wealth.
"…When I read that you were then suing her trying to get her money, that’s when I turned on you," Winfrey told Plummer. "Because I thought, OK, you are in the marriage, you’re being deceptive in the marriage, you have benefited from being in the marriage. And now you want her money. I don’t see where you had the right to that."
But a mixture of anger and poignancy were the themes of the interview.
Smashing Plummer’s face with a lamp in her home, for example, is what McMillan recalled she wanted to do the night Plummer came out to her two years ago. That’s how angry she was. But both also agreed that she had consoled him that night.
McMillan: "What did I say to you that night, Jonathan? Finally you told the truth about something, and I said you don’t have anything to be ashamed of. I told you how painful I know this must have been. Didn’t I tell you that."
Plummer: "Right. Yes."
McMillan: "And who held you all night?"
Plummer: "You did."