The following article was written for Clik Magazine during the height of the Terry McMillan and Jonathan Plummer $40 million dollar lawsuit scandal. It was scheduled to be included in the current issue but in the world of journalism stories get old fast and there's always something hotter around the corner. I spoke to Jonathan over the phone about two months ago and he agreed to talk to me off the record, due to his pending legal issues.
It was an hour long conversation that I thought was going to end fairly quickly since Jonathan was so apprehensive about talking to me, but once he opened up I couldn't stop him from talking. It was my objective to really find out why some gay men feel the need to marry women. I could never do it, but so many people have. My interview with Jonathan and all of the drama between he and Terry McMillan gave me the words to write "The Aftermath of I Do".
The Aftermath of I Do
by Darian Aaron
They’re at it again. Just when we thought the drama surrounding the divorce of Terry McMillan and Jonathan Plummer was over; we’re caught off guard by a 40 million dollar lawsuit filed against her now openly gay ex-husband.
It’s been over two years since Terry learned of the Jonathan’s secret that would eventually ruin their marriage. A secret that Jonathan claims even he wasn’t aware of until his late twenties. The young man who had managed to sweep her off her feet at forty-three, inspired a best -selling novel, and became the first to offer his hand in marriage was gay. The fairy tale romance that usually ends with two lovers riding off into the sunset had been re-written to include betrayal and outrage. This became painfully obvious as we watched Terry and Jonathan’s personal life play out in the public arena. Who could forget the dozens of television appearances and newspaper articles that provided a platform for tongue-lashings, homophobic slurs, and an overall emotional meltdown by a woman who seemed to have it all?
Fast forward to the present and Terry’s still not done. It is seemingly obvious that her erratic behavior is a result of heartache and revenge has become her weapon of choice on the difficult road to closure. Many black women sympathize with Terry’s plight, viewing Jonathan Plummer as a down low opportunist who used her to gain entry into the United States. Could this be true? In the court of public opinion the verdict is yes, but only Jonathan knows the real answer to this question.
There are so many questions that have either gone unanswered or haven’t been up for discussion that reach far beyond the relationship of these two celebrities into the larger gay community. Why do some gay men feel the need to marry women? It’s obvious after watching Terry and Jonathan’s drama unfold that nothing good can possibly come out of a marriage that is based on lies. Could it be that these men are caving into pressure from family, church, and society and the idea that a man isn’t a man unless he has a woman on his arm?
I’ve heard many people say, “How could she not know he’s gay, just look at him”. The reality is that love can blind you from seeing the truth even when it’s staring you right in the face. We only see the fantasy we’ve conjured up in our mind and we ignore all of the signs that point to the truth. It’s easier said than done for some men to live life authentically. Jonathan claims he was unaware of his attraction to men at the time he committed his life to his ex-wife and it wasn’t until later that he began to act on his sexual feelings. While his attraction to other men is completely natural, many would agree that his infidelity was wrong. Unfortunately, this seems to be common behavior among many gay men who enter into unauthentic relationships, eventually the natural outweighs the unnatural and keeping up the facade becomes less important.
Terry has made it very clear that she doesn’t feel sorry for Jonathan because he wasn’t man enough to be forthcoming about his sexuality, “ I don't care how long he's been in the closet; I didn't put him in there.” she’s said.
She may not have put him in the closet and closed the door, but her homophobic remarks and the tolerance for anti-gay slurs in this country has definitely created an atmosphere where it’s next to impossible for a gay man to come out without the fear of rejection or being subjected to violence.
Knowing this does not excuse Jonathan or any man to enter into a union as serious as marriage under false pretenses. Doing so only welcomes unnecessary pain, and if you’re Terry McMillan, a restraining order followed by a $40 million dollar lawsuit.
It seems Jonathan has done his best to move on and has adopted his ex-wife’s profession in the process. In August he will be releasing “Balancing Act”, a book that Jonathan says will reveal his side of the story. There is no doubt that his literary turn has added more fuel to the fire between him and Terry.
For the time being it seems as though this very private matter will continue to play itself out in public. This very expensive and messy divorce should serve as a lesson to gay men everywhere who enter into heterosexual relationships with motives other than to love, cherish, and honor his wife. While both Terry and Jonathan are free to lead their lives on their own terms, their future relationships are sure to be affected by this painful experience.
It’s time for Terry to gain attention again based on her ability to write stories and less on her ability to air her dirty laundry for the entire world to see. A very wise man once told me that it’s not what happens to you in life, but it’s how you react that’s important. I’d like to pass along that advice to Terry.
Hopefully Jonathan and men like him will think twice before they promise to be present for a woman emotionally, especially when their heart truthfully belongs to another man. The road to healing can often be rocky and embarrassing, just asks Terry.