Gayle King was married to William Bumpus in 1982. She had two children with him, daughter Kirby and son Will. In 1993 the two got a divorce, but at the time nobody outside of their relationship really knew why. Perhaps the family knew, Oprah, Gayle’s best friend since forever, certainly knew. But Gayle only touched on the reason for her divorce in a talk with Will Smith in 2006.
Back then she said she’d been married to a cheater. Will had talked about his marriage to Jada. The two have had their ups and downs in their relationship, but they’ve always worked things out. And whilst Will and Jada are still going strong, Gayle’s relationship couldn’t be saved, even though she said she’d done marital counselling. But few can forgive cheating.
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Gayle said at the time that she’d worked things out and that she wasn’t bitter. She had long since moved on. She has rarely spoken about her divorce in the intervening years. But very recently she answered Vanity Fair’s so-called Proust questionnaire. Here she revealed that it was on June 24th 1990 that she found her then-husband with another woman in bed. At 9:16 P.M. to be precise. But she doesn’t remember the details.
The date is revealing, because it means Gayle and William tried for some time to reconcile. They were ‘only’ divorced three years later, but were obviously not ready to give up just yet.
Interestingly, a day after the questionnaire was published, William issued a public apology to Gayle. Not only did he take all the blame for this life-altering “transgression”, he also complimented Gayle on her grace in dealing with the situation, saying he had nothing but respect for her.
Gayle previously said that she had maintained a friendly relationship to the father of her children. Her ex-husband very much confirmed that they were indeed on good terms. One does wonder, though, why he didn’t say anything ten years ago, when Gayle first accused him of being a cheater.
One might also wonder why Gayle has never really moved into another serious relationship. Sure, she’s been dating and apparently plenty according to a chat she had with Oprah on TV. She had been linked in the past to men for a while here and there, but nothing seems to have lasted. She’s still looking and has said that she hasn’t given up hope on finding the ‘one’.
The only true staple in her life is, of course, her best friend Oprah Winfrey, who has been in a 30-year relationship with Stedman Graham without ever getting married. There have been many, many speculations that Oprah and Gayle were indeed a couple, but there’s no real evidence for this. At best the ‘evidence’ is circumstantial and anybody who has claimed that Gayle and Oprah are a couple has not been friendly disposed towards at least one of them.
Given that Oprah is a vocal LGBT ally, it would seem strange that she wouldn’t simply come out. At this point it certainly wouldn’t harm her career.
Be that as it may, perhaps Gayle has long forgiven her ex-husband his cheating, but she has certainly not forgotten about it. Perhaps she will find love again, but she doesn’t need it to be happy, which she says she genuinely is.