Gay ex-Governor to break silence On ‘Oprah’

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Former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey, who resigned from office two years ago after announcing he was gay, is set to tell his story on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

According to The Associated Press, Winfrey landed the exclusive interview with the 49-year-old because of her sense of faith and spirituality, according to friends of the former governor.

Mr McGreevey is said to be a fan of Winfrey’s education and anti-poverty work, two issues to which the former governor is devoting more time in his post-political life. The AP reports that about a dozen friends accompanied Mr McGreevey and his partner, Australian financial adviser Mark O’Donnell, 42, to Chicago for the taping scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

The interview will air on September 19 2006, the same day his political memoir, “The Confession,” goes on sale.

According to ABC News, Mr McGreevey will then move on to “Today,” the “Late Show With David Letterman,” “The View” and “Hannity and Colmes.”

His book traces his life through two failed marriages, his rise to the governor’s office and the sudden, public implosion of his political career.

Mr McGreevey announced his homosexuality and his impending resignation in the same speech on August 12, 2004, declaring that he had been involved in an affair with a man. A Democrat, he was governor from January 15 2002 to November 15 2004.

His publisher, Harper Collins, in an unusual move, released some excerpts last May in which Mr McGreevey writes of anonymous sexual encounters at highway rest stops, and the pressures he felt after having been raised in a socially conservative, working-class Roman Catholic family, ABC News reports.

Harper Collins says “in this extraordinarily candid memoir, McGreevey shares his … life of ambition, moral compromise and redemption. … Only when a former lover threatened to expose him did he finally confront his divided soul and find the authentic self that had always eluded him.”

The AP reports that prior to the tapings of the “Oprah” episode, State Senator Ray Lesniak, told Winfrey’s staff that he was interested in how Mr McGreevey is now compared with how he was as governor.

“They are two different people,” Mr Lesniak told Winfrey’s staff. “The first person was very guarded and very concerned about how he was perceived. He was driven to achieve and was somewhat uncomfortable.

“The McGreevey I know now has accepted who he is and has shared that with the rest of the world,” he said. “He is comfortable with himself and concerned about being authentic to himself and his beliefs.”

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