San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, who launched a high-profile crusade to issue marriage licensees to more than 4,000 gay and lesbian couples last year, has filed for divorce from his wife, Court TV legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, after three years of marriage. In a joint statement issued by the mayor's office on Wednesday, the Newsoms cited the strain posed by their high-profile careers at opposite ends of the country as the reason for the split. "It is with great sadness that we announce today that we have decided to end our marriage," the statement read. "Unfortunately, the demands of our respective careers have made it too difficult for us to continue as a married couple. Over the past 10 years we have developed a tremendous bond of love and respect for each other. That will never change. We will remain close friends."
The couple went public with their news after sharing it with their families and friends on Wednesday, according to Peter Ragone, the mayor's spokesman. Ragone said neither was available to comment beyond their six-line statement, in which they appealed for "understanding and consideration during this difficult time." Rumors have circulated in San Francisco that the pair's marriage was in trouble almost since Newsom became mayor last January. Just after he took office, his wife, a former model and San Francisco assistant district attorney, moved to New York City to pursue her television career while continuing to attend high-profile events in San Francisco as first lady.
But both Newsom, 37, and Guilfoyle Newsom, 35, have repeatedly insisted publicly that they were each other's biggest booster, soul mates who shared similar passions for public service and hard work. The mayor often invoked the joy of his own marriage, in fact, as evidence of why it was unfair to deny marriage rights to gays and lesbians.
The photogenic couple met at a political fund-raiser in 1994 and dated other people before Newsom, a young city supervisor and millionaire restaurant owner, and Guilfoyle, an up-and-coming prosecutor, became an item. Both raised Roman Catholic, they wed on December 8, 2001, at St. Ignatius Church
and had a reception for 500 guests at the Pacific Heights home of billionaire philanthropists Ann and Gordon Getty, longtime Newsom family friends who helped pay for the party. The bride wore a Vera Wang gown and a diamond tiara lent to her by Ann Getty. Extra security prowled the event because Guilfoyle Newsom had received death threats following her work in the highly publicized trial of two
lawyers accused of allowing their dog to maul a lesbian neighbor to death.
Besides the difficulty of living apart, the demands of their jobs occasionally posed conflicts. In August, for example, Harper's Bazaar magazine published a lavish fashion spread showing the pair posed in the Getty mansion, the mayor an obvious accessory to his couture-clad wife. The photos, coupled with a headline that dubbed the couple "The New Kennedys," was decidedly at odds with the common-man image Newsom was trying to cultivate in San Francisco.
Then in October, while filling in for her husband at a gay rights gala in New York, Guilfoyle Newsom loosened up the audience by praising her husband's anatomy in graphic terms and suggested that her own talents in the bedroom had kept the mayor in the heterosexual camp. The speech landed the TV commentator in tabloid gossip columns and had political bloggers calling her "Potty Mouth."