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 2 X390 (TV LAND) | ADVOCATE.COM You told Fran that you were bisexual while you were married. When did you tell her that you were gay?
Well, after we got divorced I was so angry that I didn’t even talk to her for a year. I didn’t want a divorce. I wanted to keep pushing down my feelings and be with her, but she felt she had to move on because she felt that something wasn’t right. When my manager called to tell me that she had cancer, all the anger and everything else went away, and I called her. We didn’t talk about my other life — we were still uncomfortable — but we got closer as time went on. I was living life as a gay man in New York, but I still had my heterosexual life when I’d go back to L.A. to direct things, and I didn’t combine the two because I didn’t know how. But at some point I just started calling all my friends and telling them. I didn’t say I was gay then, but I’d say, “I’m dating men.” Nobody cared, and everybody seemed to have already known, which I figured. In 2002, Fran was doing a press tour for her book, Cancer Schmancer. I called her and said, “Look, I just want you to know that I’m dating men now. In case something comes up in the press, I just want you to be prepared.” I was very paranoid because I didn’t want people to think I had been living some false life; I lived what I felt was the right thing for me at the time. At this point Fran was dating and in love with a guy 16 years younger than her, and she’d already gone through cancer, so this was chicken-shit. She said, “You’ve got to be happy and true to yourself. Life is so short. I love you.”

Last year, after Fran told In Touch that you were gay, a number of headlines read some sensational variation of “Fran Drescher outs her ex-husband!” Did you feel publicly outed?
No. I don’t think anybody knows this, but I’ll tell you what really happened. About a year ago, In Touch called my manager and said, “We’re doing a story about how Peter’s gay, and we want to interview him.” I said, “I’ve been out for years. What am I going to say? It’s going to look like I’m looking for publicity, and I don’t even have anything to publicize.” So I said, “Fran and I are writing a show, so if that ever happens, then we’ll do the story.” In Touch said, “We’re putting this out there anyway, and you can be a part of it or not.” So I said to Fran, “Maybe you should make some kind of statement so they don’t just make everything up.” So she wrote this beautiful statement about how we’re best friends and still love each other, and that was pretty much it. Then it got twisted, and it became “Fran Drescher outs her ex-husband!” She didn’t at all, of course, but I understand it’s a better headline that sells papers.

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