Peter Marc Jacobson: The Gay Divorcee

The Nanny co-creator Peter Marc Jacobson reteams with ex-wife Fran Drescher for Happily Divorced, a TV Land sitcom loosely based on his coming-out after 21 years of marriage.



HAPPILY DIVORCED 1 X390 (TV LAND) | ADVOCATE.COMYet you had never been with a man. Did your attraction to men make you hesitate before getting married to a woman?
It was always in my mind, but I loved Fran so much, and I was attracted to her, and we had a very good sex life. I was programmed to get married at 20 and have a big wedding in Great Neck, because that’s what almost everybody I knew was doing. At that time, I thought there was no other option. I had some gay friends, but they seemed so comfortable with who they were. I was very confused and kept pushing those feelings down, but you can push something down so far that, after a while, it comes out in different ways.

Although you didn’t have same-sex affairs during your marriage, did you have any sort of outlet for your gay urges?
I think that’s why I got so controlling and angry with Fran — I didn’t have an outlet and wasn’t acting out on my feelings. I’m not saying I never looked at a man, because I certainly did. And I’m not saying I never fantasized about men, because I certainly did. I was definitely attracted to men, but I just wasn’t dealing with it at all. I hung around in theater and stuff like that, so I wasn’t clueless. Men would come on to me a lot, and that sort of took care of my curiosity. Also, this was [during the early days] of HIV, which was very scary for everybody, so I was petrified to do anything. But any feelings for men made me feel guilty while I was married. Once we got separated, I started dating some other women. When I wasn’t attracted to them, I knew that something was up and I had to face it.

At what point did you finally let yourself act on your feelings for other men?
When I moved to New York in 1999. I was 37, 38, and some friends started introducing me to the gay world. I remember going to a gay bar and my heart was racing. The first time I walked into Splash Bar, some guy comes over to me and says, “Yo, daddy.” I said, “Daddy?!” And he said, “No, that’s a good thing.” My friends used to tease me because I’d go to the Roxy at 11 o’clock, but no one showed up before 3:00 in the morning. They’d say, “You’re going too early!” I’d say, “I’m old; I can’t stay up that late.” The first time I was there, this go-go dancer was dancing on a box, and my friend was screwing with me, like, “Oh, that guy really likes you. Look at how he’s looking at you.” I had no idea that all he wanted was a dollar. I’m thinking he’s really looking at me, and he was really looking at my wallet. I had no idea what I was doing.

Have you gotten the hang of it?
I got better as I figured out the whole culture. But even when I started to date guys, I tried to recreate my relationship with Fran. She’s the one who said to me, “You’ve got to stop that, because two men together are different than a man and a woman — not better or worse, but different. You’ve got to create something new that works for two men.” That was very hard for me to do. It’s still very hard.

Tags: television