Scandal Blew Up His Political Career, but Not His Marriage

'GQ' catches up Andrew Gillum, a former rising star in Democratic circles
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2021 1:59 PM CST
After Scandal, 'Radical Honesty' Saved Andrew Gillum's Marriage
A 2018 file photo of Andrew Gillum.   (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

For a politician, the scandal was about as bad as it gets. Andrew Gillum, a once-rising Democratic star who nearly became Florida's governor in 2018, was found in a Miami Beach hotel in March with a male sex worker, another man, and lots of drugs. Gillum later entered rehab after publicly identifying as bisexual. At GQ, Wesley Lowery checks in with Gillum and discovers something that might come as a surprise: Gillum's marriage to his wife, R. Jai, remains intact. "They told me that their marriage survived through the kind of work familiar to any partnership that has navigated infidelity: hours of tearful talks, couples therapy, and a new policy of 'radical honesty'—all of which occurred while they were confined at home," writes Lowery. In fact, Gillum says he thinks the pandemic probably saved their marriage.

The story runs through the scandal itself, with Gillum first describing his spiraling alcoholism after the gubernatorial loss. He went to the hotel room with 30-year-old Travis Dyson, whom he said he'd met a few months earlier, after a day of drinking, but Gillum says he can't remember anything that transpired in the room before waking up naked in the presence of police. Gillum floats the possibility that his drink was spiked. Dyson, for the record, disputes much of Gillum's account and says he and Gillum had met up multiple times prior to that day for paid sexual encounters and to do drugs. The Gillums cut off their interviews with Lowery when they learned he'd spoken to Dyson. Before that, however, they spoke at length about the rebuilding of their marriage. And, yes, R Jai. had known her husband was bisexual before the scandal. Read the full story, in which Gillum doesn't explicitly rule out a run for office again someday. (More Andrew Gillum stories.)

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