Confessions of a Gay Husband
Fran Drescher – famous for her campy role on the hit series “The Nanny” – was married to Peter Marc Jacobson for 18 years before they divorced.
Soon after, Jacobson came out of the closet and into the spotlight.
It was a rocky road, but when Drescher was diagnosed with cancer, they reconnected as best friends (soulmates, says Drescher) and have since partnered for a new season of “Happily Divorced,” a sitcom about a woman who finds out (surprise) that her husband is gay.
The new season premieres on TV Land on March 7 (10 p.m.). We talked to Jacobson about the show, what it’s like working with his ex-wife and what it really means to come out of the closet after so many years of playing the “straight man” to a very famous funny girl.
What are some of the biggest challenges you faced in coming out?
The biggest challenge is facing the truth. It’s easy to compartmentalize your mind and convince yourself of what you want to believe. One of the hardest things I had to deal with was I was so worried about what everyone would think and that my marriage was a sham, even though I knew it wasn’t. It wasn’t until I didn’t care what others thought that I was able to finally just be myself and live my truth.
Cynthia Nixon recently talked about her own sexuality, saying that as a bisexual, being with a woman has been a choice. Do you find any validity in that statement?
Well, I think if you are bisexual as Cynthia is, then it’s a choice because you’re sexually attracted to both men and women. I, myself – at this point in my life – consider myself gay. I think that sexuality for many people lies in the gray areas – not for all but for some. And for some reason some people choose to believe you can only be attracted to one sex because that’s how they feel. It’s interesting that a lot of people I know can only relate to their own sexual experiences and don’t think there can be others. I personally believe all of us land at different places on the Kinsey scale. That being said, it didn’t happen overnight. It took me a while to come to that realization.
You and your ex-wife have managed to forge a longtime friendship and business partnership. Not every couple who breaks up under the same or similar circumstances can manage to do that – at all. What was your secret?
When I found out that Fran was diagnosed with cancer all of the crap that was distracting me from my true feelings for her disappeared and the love that was always there resurfaced. I think a lot of times ego and anger get in the way of what we truly feel. But when that dissipates, the truth surfaces and if you love somebody and you are able to let that shine through, it is a liberating feeling. We are only here for a limited time so why waste any of it with negativity?
Do you think people face the same fears about coming out in 2012 as they did, say, almost 20 years ago when you made that decision?
It’s easier to come out today in the bigger cities. Shows like “Glee” and “Happily Divorced” didn’t exist when I growing up. I didn’t know what gay really was. And I think everyone’s coming out experience is different. If you have a loving family and friends it makes it a lot easier.
What’s it like working with your ex-wife?
I love working with Fran. She’s funny, she’s talented, she’s a great cook, we love to travel together, go to restaurants, laugh. We are always there for each other. Just the other night, Saturday, we spent in an emergency room together. Thank God everything was okay and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
The couple who spends Saturday in the ER … sounds like an episode of a sitcom. So how does the show reflect your lives together?
Well, a lot of the storylines start with things that have happened to both of us. Whenever we’re together something will happen and inevitably one of us will say that would be good on the show. It’s nice to do a show where the theme is “love is love.” I am blessed to have Fran in my life and I think she feels the same.
Here’s Drescher talking about her ex-husband on “The View:”