Jill Smokler, the blogger behind the popular parenting site Scary Mommy, and her husband, Jeff, announced in an emotional Facebook post that they are divorcing after nearly two decades of marriage. In the post, Smokler revealed that her husband is gay.
“Yesterday, Jeff and I told our children that we are divorcing, after more than 17 years of marriage and 23 years of togetherness. We also told them that the impetus for the divorce is the fact that Jeff is gay,” she wrote on Saturday, March 4. “Without getting into too much personal detail, this is a reality which we have faced together for many years.”
In an equally emotional post published to Scary Mommy, Jeff shared his story, revealing that he has known for the past “four or five years” that he’s gay and that he struggled for the past 23 years with coming to terms with his sexuality.
“Of course I always knew I was different, but when you meet your soulmate when you’re 18 years old — only five years older than my own daughter is now — and that person is a woman, you simply think ‘thank God then, I can’t be gay,’” Jeff wrote, explaining that he told his wife when he began questioning his sexuality.
“One thing I’ll say about my own journey is this: What should have been an easy choice — a no brainer — was the hardest decision I’ve ever made,” he continued. “Once I came to terms with the fact that I was gay, I figured I had two options: I could die — either from my intentional neglect of my health and well-being, or perhaps from something even more tragic — leaving my children fatherless, or I could come out and hope that I remained surrounded by the love of my friends, family, wife and children.”
Jeff wrote that he at first opted to not come out, letting himself “slip into unhealthy habits and depression” until he and Jill were one day “ready” to share their story.
“The truth is, nothing changed. We were simply ready,” he explained. “I don’t want to give the impression that this is easy, or that we have it all figured out. We both have deeply rooted, complex feelings and emotions born from a marriage largely defined by a shared secret. But whereas love simply wasn’t enough to keep us together, it turns out it comes in real handy in times of strife.”
During an interview with the Today show on Friday, March 10, Jill spoke about breaking the news to their three children — ages 9, 11 and 13. Their 13-year-old daughter reacted with sympathy and offered to hug her dad, Jill shared, while their boys took the news harder. Jill said they have “weepy moments” but have still been “incredibly mature,” given the situation.
“I have had probably 70 people message me or email me privately who are in the same situation,” she told the Today show. “This has been really good for me. For as many nasty comments as we get on the internet, every time I have put something out there that has made me feel supervulnerable or that was painfully honest, the response has always been amazing.”