Democrat found in hotel room with gay escort who ‘overdosed’ on meth thanks wife for standing by him

Former Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Gillum

Former Democratic rising star Andrew Gillum has spoken for the first time after a stint in rehab, after being found in a hotel room with a gay escort.

Gillum, who was the Democratic candidate for governor of Florida in 2018, sought treatment in March after being found in a Miami Beach hotel room with the man, who was suspected to have overdosed on crystal meth.

The former Tallahassee mayor, who has three children with wife R. Jai Gillum, avoided specifics of the incident in an 11-minute video posted to Instagram on Monday (July 20).

In the video, Gillum said: “We really ought to be trying to just be at home in ourselves, and that’s really the journey that I’m on right now… this desire to be a whole and complete indivisible person, not having to be one thing in one place and one thing and another, when I’m in this environment and in this setting.

“I know that all of us struggle with different layers of that. My stuff had to be public and cause great embarrassment and lots of rumours – some false, some true.

“The shame that I felt from all of that, from the harm that I had cause was was was tearing me up. I needed real help to try to unpack that.”

Andrew Gillum addresses ’embarrassment and rumours’ after scandal.

Gillum also explained that he had faced a mental health crisis due to his election loss.

He said: “With a lot of encouragement, I got into therapy, where I could start to talk through some of what was going on with me.

“I knew that if I had not dealt first with issues of addiction and the numbing that I chose with alcohol, there was no way I could start to pull back the layers, and talk about what was truly happening underneath.

“Therapy created the outlet for me to be able to do that, to be able to talk to somebody. I totally underestimated the impact that losing the race for governor had had on my life, and on the way those impacts started to show up in every aspect of my life.

“I didn’t want to talk, emotionally or really deeply about what had happened in the race for governor, because it was a constant reminder of failure, and my own personal failures. It was a reminder that I had let so many people down.

Andrew Gillum

Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum (Mark Wallheiser/Getty)

“It was a chorus of this voice that I tried for so long to quiet, which said that I wasn’t enough, that I wasn’t good enough.

“All the things that I wanted to suppress and numb and forget about, that depression around what I was experiencing became far too much for me to keep down.

“And that’s the real crazy thing about depression, is that a lot of times we think we’re dealing with it, we’re strong and we’ll put on a brave face and it bubbles up on the inside, but eventually what is bubbling up on the inside is going to come out. And I certainly know what it felt like to see that come out.”

Former Democratic candidate thanks wife for standing by him.

The former candidate also thanked his wife for standing by him and pressing him to get help.

He said: “I want to thank the person who is my life partner, my wife RJ. A woman who knows everything that I am and everything that I am not. And she chooses to love me.

“A woman who is literally God’s grace on Earth, the epitome of grace. I can’t thank her enough for not just standing by me, but encouraging me through this and helping to prop me up.”