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'I Didn’t Think Marriage Was In The Cards For Me': Author Roxane Gay Celebrates First Anniversary After Eloping During Pandemic

"It wasn’t how we planned it but it was perfect," Gay said of their intimate elopement last year.
‘I Didn’t Think Marriage Was In The Cards For Me’: Author Roxane Gay Celebrates First Anniversary After Eloping During Pandemic

In case you missed it, Roxane Gay is a married woman, and as she shared on Instagram on Sunday, she’s been one for a whole year now.

The acclaimed Bad Feminist author shared that with a heartwarming message about the person her wife, Debbie Millman, is, along with a gallery of images of the couple together.

“One year ago today, Debbie Millman and I eloped at a place called Instant Marriage LA.com. It was in an office park in Encino. Her cousins and BFF were there. We FaceTimed siblings and my parents in. And then we had a small party in our backyard with wine and food and a few friends. It wasn’t how we planned it but it was perfect,” she wrote. “Yesterday she surprised me with a backyard full of balloons! She surprises me often. She spoils me. She makes me laugh every day. She is kind. She is a little scary and definitely sexy. She breaks into song all the time. Like. All the time and she makes up lots of lyrics for her songs. As I wrote this she just started singing again. Just out of nowhere. She also invents words. Every day. Its [sic] delightful. I didn’t think marriage was in the cards for me. And then Debbie came along. Happy anniversary, @debbiemillman.”

Millman is an interior designer, known for being the editorial director for PRINT Magazine and for her long-running podcast, Design Matters. She too shared a loving note about the couple’s anniversary and a photo of her in their garden surrounded by huge balloons that spelled out “Happy Anniversary” because Gay loves balloons.

“Being married to Roxane has brought me the greatest joy a person could ever ask for,” she wrote. “Happy 1st Anniversary, my love–here’s to a million more.”

Gay did share last year that the couple eloped but would have a bigger ceremony in the future. They became engaged in 2019, and there was talk that feminist icon Gloria Steinem would marry them in October of 2020 in a “semi-religious ceremony” that honored Millman’s Jewish faith and the traditions of it.

“I am not super religious but Debbie is Jewish and so Gloria Steinem is actually marrying us next year,” Gay said. “It will be semi-religious. We’re going to do some of the traditions — the chuppah, the breaking of the glass and so on.”

Perhaps that will be part of their celebration this year, but the couple seems more than pleased with how their elopement turned out a year later. It’s interesting to think that Gay almost ignored Millman’s advances after they met.

“Debbie actually pursued me for more than a year,” she said during a livestream last year. “She started by inviting me onto her podcast Design Matters and I told her to get in touch with my publicist. Then my publicist blew her off and she sent me another letter when Hunger came out. It was a really beautiful letter and I don’t think I responded.”

A mentee of the author was the one who helped Millman shoot her shot. “Afterward, they were having drinks and my friend mentioned me as a mentor. She said ‘Oh my God, I have a crush on Roxane! But I know she has a person. What’s going on there?’ And my friend said ‘Well, yeah, she has a person but there’s some flexibility there. You should go for it,’” Gay said. “So she sent me an email asking if I would like to go out on a proper date. It kind of took my breath away. But I wrote back, ‘Sure.’”

And the rest is history — and quite the beautiful love story.