Former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and wife Chirlane McCray announce marital separation 

Bill de Blasio and his wife of 29 years, Chirlane McCray, will reportedly begin dating other people but have no plans to divorce or live apart.

After 29 years of marriage, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray are going their separate ways…kinda. After realizing they were no longer “lovey-dovey,” the couple reportedly plans to date other people while continuing to share their townhouse in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, where they raised their two children. 

Bill de Blasio marriage, Bill de Blasio wife seperating, Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray, Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray separation
Chirlane McCray and Bill de Blasio attend the Clive Davis 90th Birthday Celebration at Casa Cipriani on April 6, 2022, in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

“I just want to have fun,” McCray told the New York Times. “It’s not that we haven’t had fun.”

Over a decade before his mayoral stint, de Blasio worked for New York City’s first Black mayor, David Dinkins, where he first met McCray. At the time, McCray was popularly known as the author of “I Am a Lesbian,” a groundbreaking personal essay published by Essence magazine in 1979. As one of the first gay Black women to openly discuss her sexuality in a Black publication, McCray’s marriage to de Blasio was met with criticism. Despite her detractors, McCray’s transparency about her past made her an inspiration to many Black women when she assumed the role of “New York City’s first lady.” In fact, de Blasio’s marriage was integral to his political career, so much so that it ultimately led to the couple’s separation. 

“There’s a certain weight that goes with being with Mr. Mayor,” said McCray.

From public appearances to viral ad campaigns, his immediate family was key in improving his public perception, eventually leading to his victorious mayoral campaign. Despite de Blasio’s two terms in public office, the couple revealed his brief presidential campaign in 2019 proved catalytic in their marriage. 

“Everything was this overwhelming schedule, this sort of series of tasks,” said de Blasio. “And that kind of took away a little bit of our soul.” 

For McCray, who disagreed with her husband’s bid for the presidency, her husband’s decision to move forward was indicative of a larger issue within their marriage. 

“I thought it was a distraction[…] This is not the kind of thing where you can break ranks,” she said, reflecting of being supportive despite her doubts. “That’s part of the difficulty of being part of a package.”

“I can look back now and say, ‘Here were these inflection points where we should have been saying something to each other,’” said de Blasio, acknowledging his role in their marital struggles. 

Reportedly happier since their decision to separate, the couple says their decision tells the world that they “don’t need to possess each other.” Ultimately, De Blasio described the couple’s feelings using the song “Mango” by Kamauu featuring Adi Oasis, which says, “I don’t want nothing but you […] Getting what you need / Even if it ain’t from me.”  

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