Terry McMillan Reminds You That Her Ex-Husband Is the One Harming Her Reputation


The couple in happier times, ten years ago.Photo: Getty Image/Time & Life Pictures

Late last month novelist Terry McMillan, best known for bringing Stella her groove back and perhaps second best known for elegantly calling her now-ex-husband a “little fag” after he told her he was gay, filed a $40 million suit against the ex-husband, Jonathan Plummer, alleging a conspiracy to destroy her reputation. (Presumably by mentioning things like that she called him a “little fag” and also “a common fucking criminal, a common extortionist.”) Meantime, McMillan hasn’t exactly salvaged her rep by publishing an essay, “100 Questions I Meant to Ask Him,” in the anthology The Honeymoon’s Over, which includes questions like “Have you been surprised by the promiscuous behavior of a lot of gay men? Are you going to be like this or are you already?” New York rang up McMillan the other day to see how the novelist is continuing to protect her reputation. It’s tough for her: “If you criticize them, you’re automatically a homophobe,” she said. “I’m starting to think they’re heterophobes.” Lots more after the jump.

Why did you write that essay?
I didn’t write it for publication. I wrote it for Jonathan. I wrote it after it was all over and I realized there were a lot of things I had wanted to ask him. People said it was vulgar or embarrassing, but my point was that if anyone was ever in this position, these are the things they would want to know.

So why did you publish it?
My agent sent me this query from the editors of the anthology: They knew about my divorce and all that, and they wanted to know if I had anything I wanted to talk about. I am not ashamed of what I said because it was very personal and there are women out there on the same page as me. The bottom line is that anal sex is what gay men do, so I don’t see my words as vulgar.

I’m really getting tired of the fact that people get upset that I use the F-word to refer to Jonathan. It was the only weapon that I have. It offends me that gay men think they are above criticism. If you criticize them, you’re automatically a homophobe; I’m starting to think they’re heterophobes. I still see betrayal as betrayal. I don’t care how long he’s been in the closet; I didn’t put him in there.

How does this essay fit in with the documents in your lawsuit?
They didn’t put the most important document on [The Smoking Gun], which was his blackmail voice mail. In March he left me a blackmail voice mail, and I filed a restraining order and the judge didn’t think it was warranted. Jonathan said three times, “Make me an offer and all of this can go away.” I wanted Jonathan to know, “Look at all this stuff I have on you — did I leak it to the media? No, I did not! All I want you to do is leave me alone.” I wanted to let him know that I wouldn’t stoop as low as he had. And I wanted the judge to know I was offended. They didn’t read my documents. I wouldn’t dream of lying in a court document. Jonathan told over 500 lies; I counted them.

The essay is not meant to go together with the court documents. I wanted him to know about the things I’d figured out. Most men who do this are good at this, and I wanted him to know how when I rewound and thought about what happened, I’d figured it out. When you treat someone well and you love them, and when you didn’t do anything — it’s not about him being gay, I can’t stress that enough. It’s the lying. Years of lying. You feel like you married a lie. And I did marry a lie. And they expect me to feel sorry for him. He had no right, none whatsoever. None. —Miriam Datskovsky

Terry McMillan Sues Her ‘Little Fag’ Ex [The Smoking Gun]
Earlier: How Stella Got Her Offensive Stream of Vitriol Back

Terry McMillan Reminds You That Her Ex-Husband Is the One Harming Her Reputation