Authors: Dina Matos McGreevey
Tags: #Itzy, #kickass.to
Copyright © 2007 Dina Matos McGreevey
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the written permission of the Publisher.
1. McGreevey, Dina Matos—Marriage. 2. McGreevey, James E., 1957—Marriage. 3. Governors’ spouses—New Jersey—Biography. 4. Governors—New Jersey—Biography. 5. Married people—New Jersey—Biography. 6. Closeted gays—Family relationships— New Jersey—Case studies. 7. Gay men—Family relationships— New Jersey—Case studies. I. Title.
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First eBook Edition: July 2007
FOR MY DAUGHTER
my constant reminder of the power of love
SHARING MY STORY HAS
been my way of sorting out and coming to terms with my own experience, looking at it calmly by the light of day so I would not be haunted by it in my dreams at night. It has, for me, been a healing venture in allowing me to move on with my life.
I want to thank my collaborator in the fine art of memoir, Elizabeth Stone. In an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect, as we talked, wrote, read, and rewrote, Elizabeth helped me, and sometimes prodded me, much more than you might imagine, to work harder than I ever thought possible as we fueled ourselves on hummus, pea soup, and coffee. Thank you, Elizabeth, for your expertise and boundless energy, and for being there every step of the way.
To my agent, Heather Mitchell, I owe a great debt of gratitude for her empathy, understanding, intellect, and advocacy. Thank you for steering me in the right direction and guiding me through the process. Selecting you as my agent has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.
For her inspiration, perseverance, and wit, I want to thank Donna Buckingham.
To my friend Carol McKinney, who persuaded me to write this book. Thank you for giving me the push I needed, and for helping me realize my potential.
For her vision, talent, and wisdom in helping bring this project to life, I thank my editor, Brenda Copeland. Her buoyant enthusiasm and astute editing are, to me, apparent on each page.
The confidence and trust that everyone at Hyperion has placed in this book has been truly inspiring. Thank you, Bob Miller, Ellen Archer, and Will Schwalbe for believing with me that my story could be told with grace and dignity. I am proud to be associated with all of you.
To my lawyer, John Post, thank you for your encouragement and your advice.
I also want to thank my friends for their support and understanding. Thank you for being patient with me when I didn’t call, didn’t visit, and didn’t have time to talk.
For all the phone calls, notes, letters, e-mails, and, most important, prayers of friends and strangers alike, I am deeply grateful. They have helped me get through the darkest days of my life.
None of this would have been possible without the constant love and support of my family: my brother Rick and his girlfriend, Cydney; my brother Paul and his wife, Elvie; my nieces, Meagan and Nicole; and of course, my parents, Maria Graciete and Ricardo, who instilled in me values that have carried me through life. None of this would have warranted the effort if not for my daughter, Jacqueline, who has brought me joy every day of her life and given me the strength to go on.
ON AUGUST 12, 2004,
Jim McGreevey, then my husband of almost four years and the governor of New Jersey for almost three, stepped before the television cameras in the statehouse in Trenton to make a speech that lasted only five or six minutes. “My truth,” he said, “is that I’m a gay American. . . . Shamefully, I engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man which violates my bonds of matrimony. . . . My resignation will be effective on November fifteenth of this year.”
I stood numbly at Jim’s side as he spoke to the nation. I was devastated. What he said on that Thursday afternoon forever changed his life, my life, and the life of our daughter, Jacqueline, who was then two and a half. Since then, I have been asked repeatedly about my marriage to Jim and the nature of our relationship, about what I knew and when I knew it. Since then, I have remained silent.
Now I am speaking up.
I am tired of having other people concoct my life story, tired of having other people assume they know how I feel. I am tired of all the speculation as to the nature of my relationship with my husband. I am tired of being the silent partner.
Enough is enough. I want to tell my own story. And now that I’ve begun to heal, I want to reach out to other people like me, people who have been hit with pain so excruciating they’re not sure they will survive it. I have survived, and as sure as these stalwart little words march themselves across the page, it is my conviction that others can survive as well. This is my story, about my experience as I lived it at the moment and—not quite the same thing—about my experience as I look back on it. Tell others your story as I am telling you mine. Don’t let others tell it for you.
I MISSED THE SIGNS.
People thought I was living the American Dream, and for a while I thought so too. I believed I had married a kind and loving man whom I loved and who loved me. I thought we were building a life based on shared values, a strong spiritual commitment, and a desire to make a difference in the world. Friends and family were important to us, none more so than our beautiful daughter, Jacqueline.
The Jim McGreevey I fell in love with was passionate, direct, and plainspoken, a charismatic man whose warmth and easy manner rapidly took him from the mayor’s office to the New Jersey governor’s mansion. The Jim McGreevey I married turned out to be passive, evasive, and secretive, a hesitant man whose duplicity and unchecked ambition proved to be his downfall and derailed our lives. And I never saw it coming.
I MIGHT AS WELL
start with the engagement, and with a Valentine’s-weekend trip to Montreal. It was February 2000, and by this time Jim and I had been together for more than three years. We’d begun dating in 1996 when Jim, then mayor of Woodbridge, New Jersey, was already campaigning unofficially to become the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the 1997 race. He had gone on to gain the candidacy and had come close to beating the Republican incumbent, Christine Todd Whitman. Jim was a politician on the rise and the overworked mayor of a township with a population of more than a hundred thousand, not to mention a state senator too. I was working as director of public relations and marketing at Columbus Hospital in Newark, a satisfying and demanding job that entailed promoting the hospital and its services to the community. With both of us so busy, we really hadn’t had much private time together for a while, and we needed it.
I was looking forward to the weekend. I’d left work early that afternoon—a rare event for me—and I was full of anticipation, attempting to keep my packing down to two bags rather than spilling over to my usual three. I prepared for the cold weather with a few warm sweaters, jeans, boots, and gloves, and for romance with a black velvet ensemble, a pashmina wrap, and a silk nightgown. I also packed an emerald pendant that Jim had just brought back for me from India. I loved jewelry and had tried on the pendant when Jim gave it to me—he’d placed it lovingly on my neck—but I hadn’t worn it yet, as I was saving it for a special occasion. An elegant dinner for two in Montreal seemed just that.
The lights were on in Jim’s Woodbridge town house as I pulled in to a parking space. That was good news, since it meant he was home. Generally Jim ran late, but as he greeted me at his front door, I could see his already-packed bag on the floor, and I was pleased that he was ready.
“Let’s stop at the 7-Eleven for tea,” he said as we headed toward my car. He always had a cup of tea with him in the car, generally cold.
“Good, I could use a cup of coffee.”
I figured I would be the one doing most of the driving, but as I approached the parking lot, I noticed a familiar car waiting, motor idling.
I turned to Jim. “What’s Teddy doing here?” Teddy Pedersen, a handsome college student at Rutgers University, was Jim’s campaign driver, one of a crowd of guys in their twenties who always seemed to be around. I came to think of them as the Lost Boys.
“Teddy’s going to be driving us to Montreal,” Jim said, his tone matter-of-fact.
Was he kidding? When had he planned to tell me this?
“I can drive,” I said.
“Well, I’m too tired to do any driving at all, so I thought it would be easier for us both if Teddy drove.”
I stopped in my tracks. I really wanted some time alone with Jim. I had never known him when he wasn’t campaigning, and I’d really been looking forward to this weekend together. The two of us, not the three of us. Since we’d been dating, I’d seen Jim through one gubernatorial race, then another race for mayor, which had ended only a couple of months earlier. The day after the ’97 election, Jim began his campaign for the ’01 election.
The Jim McGreevey I knew had always been running. As a result our dates often took the form of campaign stops: breakfasts with senior citizens, football games at high-school athletic fields, church picnics, dinners at catering halls. I loved the time we spent together, loved the feeling that Jim and I were working on something important together, but now Valentine’s Day was coming up, and I wanted him to take the weekend off so we could spend some personal time together. And that meant no Teddy.
I dug my heels in.
“If Teddy is going, I’m not. It’s that simple.”
I was usually pretty accommodating, so Jim knew I meant it. “OK, OK,” he said with a shrug. “No Teddy.”