Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray have confirmed they are separating. They will not be getting a divorce, “but will date other people. They will continue to share the Park Slope townhouse,” reports New York Times.
It reportedly all started two months ago after another banal Saturday night spent binge watching television. De Blasio decided to ask McCray, “Why aren’t you lovey-dovey anymore?” and this turned into a conversation of what they were looking for out of their relationship. They came to this unconventional decision that night.
As McCray said during the almost three hour-long interview with the Times about how they got to this point, “You can’t fake it.”
“You can feel when things are off,” said de Blasio, “and you don’t want to live that way.”
This is quite distinct from the route many wayward political marriages take typically issuing a terse joint statement. What prompted this unusual move? “As very public people embarking on a new chapter, we thought it better to say all this openly before anyone tries to find negativity, or before any misunderstandings occur,” said McCray, adding that they “have only respect and admiration for each other, and the sense of wonder that we ever found each other to begin win.”
After two mayoral terms and a tumultuous bid for president, it might be easy to forget the pair was once labeled as one of “the most significant and dissected biracial couple in American politics.” Their marriage even helped propel de Blasio into the position of mayor of New York City during the 2013 election.
Their meet cute was certainly a story for the ages—the two became acquainted while working for New York City’s first Black mayor David N. Dinkins. “McCray, who had identified as a lesbian and seemed cool to his overtures, relented eventually” to de Blasio’s overtures. In 1994, they wed “under a tree in Prospect Park, with two gay men officiating, before a reception with a ‘Super Freak’ dance break and a heap of cannoli.”
De Blasio and McCray are parents to two adult children, 28-year-old daughter Chiara and 25-year-old son Dante who, along with his afro was the star of his father’s viral campaign ad.
They both believe they would not have gotten to this point if de Blasio “had never been mayor, as grateful as they said they were for the experience and as proud as they remain of much of their work.” They also referenced the COVID-19 pandemic and his brief presidential run in 2020.
In making their decision public, “One of the things we’re saying to the world is we don’t need to possess each other,” de Blasio told the Times. He also quoted two of McCray’s favorite phrases, “‘Labels put people in boxes, and those boxes are shaped like coffins’ and ‘I never want to be stuck’ — and one prized by his brother, a Tibetan Buddhist: ‘Avoid attachments.’”