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Terry McMillan Gets Tough



You may have heard that best-selling author Terry McMillan’s 30-year-old husband, Jonathan Plummer-the Jamaican tenderoni who rocked her world so hard that she imported him-announced to her and to the national media that he is gay. You may have heard that the 54-year-old Terry has filed for divorce, and that he’s contesting the prenup he signed back when they married in 1998.


You may have heard a lot of things about the nasty public breakup of this very public couple. Now hear this: Terry’s just fine, thank you very much. This sister doesn’t wear pain well. And if you saw her during her recent 13-city book tour to promote her latest novel, the hilarious Interruption of Everything, you would know that for yourself.


When I caught up with the author of favorites like Waiting to Exhale and Disappearing Acts at the Ritz-Carlton in D.C., the curtains of her suite weren’t drawn and she wasn’t in a fetal position. She was no longer reeling from the betrayal or from the embarrassment of having her business dragged all out in the street. The shock had subsided; now she was fighting mad. Take-off-your-earrings-and-slap-on-some-Vaseline mad. So mad that our scheduled hour-long interview stretched into a three-hour, freewheeling vent (language cleaned up for these pages).


The first things she wanted to make clear: Yes, she has been tested. No, she doesn’t have HIV. And as far as she’s concerned, she’s not splitting profits from her hit How Stella Got Her Groove Back, the story loosely based on her relationship with Jonathan, which had sisters flocking to the Caribbean in search of their own sweet young thangs.


With her signature round-the-way candor and fiery spirit, Terry shared vivid details about sex, lies and a marriage coming apart from its early days, and her own psychoanalysis of her soon-to-be ex. As McMillan v. Plummer makes its way through California’s courts this fall, you can bet the next chapter in Terry’s real-life tale will be even more compelling than the last. And no matter how it ends, this heroine will look to love again.


To read the complete article, “Terry Gets Tough,” pick up the October issue of ESSENCE.