When Andrew Gillum came out as bisexual on the “Tamron Hall Show,” wife R. Jai defended their “marriage covenant.” She remained the picture of a steadfast spouse as her husband discussed a marriage-threatening scandal on national television.
She specifically addressed her husband’s sexuality, expressing concern that the world would scrutinize it through a lens of ignorance. People “can wrap their heads around gay,” but don’t understand bisexuality.
But host Tamron Hall also revealed in an online after show that R. Jai also confided it was a journey to reach that understanding herself. In fact, R. Jai revealed she had to come to grips with the realities of marrying a bisexual man before she could follow through with her engagement.
Hall did not play clips from that portion of a lengthy pre-recorded interview with both Gillums. But she shared details dating back to when the Tallahassee couple were still just dating that R. Jai Gillum revealed to her on the record.
“He proposed to her,” Hall described. “They had been dating. He went to her and he was crying his eyes out. They were in their early 20s. He said, ‘I have to tell you something. I’m bisexual. But I want to be with you. I want you.’ And she said, ‘Whoa, what does that mean?’
“She didn’t break up with him, but took a beat and then they reconciled what that meant.”
Relationship coach Rachel DeAlto, who joined the after show to discuss Gillum’s interview, said that kind of reaction is not uncommon.
“That was before she made a decision to be in a marriage with him,” DeAlto noted. “It can feel different when you are approached by a partner in an existing relationship and you didn’t know before. That’s really I think incumbent on the person who’s expressing their feelings to be very delicate with the feelings of the other in order to understand. They are going to be taken a little aback by it, which is normal.”
The Gillums, since that point, did wed and now have three children.
While rumors about Andrew Gillum’s sexuality persisted for years, the intimate details of their relationship were thrust into the spotlight in recent months. The catalyst came in March, when police reported to calls of an overdose in a Miami hotel room, and found the former gubernatorial candidate in the bathroom nude. The call actually related to another man, purported to be a male escort.
Gillum maintains he did not, as conservative blogger Candace Owens contended when breaking the story publicly, engage in any male orgy, and did not have a “twosome or threesome” in the hotel. No criminal charges have been brought against Gillum or anyone else involved.
While Hall played no additional portions of R. Jai Gillum’s interview, she did share unaired clips of Gillum further discussing his sexuality and his relationship with his wife, where he said there’s an understanding he remain faithful.
“There are men who are in marriages with women who, just because they’re married to a woman, doesn’t mean they’re no longer attracted to other women, and at any point in time can slip up, make a mistake,” he said.
“The same thing in bisexual relationships. You can be attracted to both. You’ve got a bigger terrain out there that you have to contend with, but you can still choose to be physically with one person. That’s a choice that all of us in our marriages and in committed relationships have to deal with.”
He also discussed how coming out as bisexual prompts a conversation that can be avoided after marrying someone of the opposite gender. He said he had to address his sexuality for his own mental health.
”Typically, when you make your partnership choice in life, if you’re a man and you choose to be with another man, you then live your life as a gay couple… If you are bisexual and you are married to a different gendered person, you don’t go out there and broadcast that you’re bisexual. At this point you’re just in a heterosexual marriage,” he said.
“This is the disservice of it, that you then have to, from an identity standpoint — not who you have sex with, but from an identify standpoint — you have to betray one to then embrace the other, and I think people then make up their minds that you’re embarrassed or you’re closeted or you’re not fully who you are.”
But with intimate details of his life now in the public purview, Andrew Gillum said he’s sharing all he can.
“My therapist put it this way. You can save face, you can save your ass, but you can’t save them both at one time,” he said. “Forget about saving face. Right now, I’m saving myself first, meaning by healing and being honest, and then by virtue of being able to do that, then I can make decisions that are in my integrity.”