A self-absorbed con artist who married for political gain and would be running for president had a gay sex scandal not fouled his career.
That's the picture Dina Matos McGreevey painted of Jim McGreevey, her estranged husband and former New Jersey governor, on the day her memoir, "Silent Partner: A Memoir of My Marriage" hits bookstores. It comes eight months after her husband published his own version of the spectacle that unfolded in front of the nation, and as their divorce proceedings come to a head.
Through their very public displays, both the former governor and his wife seem intent on telling the public their version of the relationship, no matter how personal or disconnected each account may be from the other.
"I think it was all a charade for him," Matos McGreevey told Oprah Winfrey during a taping of today's show.
Matos McGreevey said she still doesn't believe McGreevey is homosexual, despite the sex scandal involving a male aide that forced his from office in 2004.
"I don't think he's just gay, I think he's bisexual," she said, describing their sex life together as satisfying throughout their marriage. "I never saw him checking out men, but I certainly saw him checking out women."
When she did learn of the affair four years after their 2000 marriage, she said she didn't leave him immediately to protect their daughter, Jacqueline, who was 2 at the time.
"No one ever said to me, 'He's gay,'" Matos McGreevey said. "It's a cliche, but the wife's always the last to know, and it's true."
Winfrey pressed the former New Jersey first lady about the press conference when McGreevey announced his homosexuality and resignation, asking why Matos McGreevey held a smile despite the bitter personal reality the announcement had for her.
She smiled, she said, because her calculating husband instructed her to.
"As his world was falling apart, he was still choreographing the entire day," Matos McGreevey said, quoting her husband as telling her to keep a strong face and play the role of "Jackie Kennedy."
She described secretive behavior that, in retrospect, should have made her question what she called a "fairy tale" marriage that began in 2000.
Not once did she go to McGreevey's parents' house, she said, even though it was just five miles away from their own. She said McGreevey kept finances secret, maintained a relationship that may have been inappropriate with his ex-wife, and kept his daughter from the previous marriage from ever meeting her.
"Silent Partners" is released eight months after McGreevey offered his own story in the book "The Confession" — in which the former governor wrote that his wife may have known he was gay.
While she flatly denies knowing about his gay affair, it was in preparing to chronicle his story, Matos McGreevey said, that she discovered notes that he acknowledged he had married her simply as a political prop.
When the book was published in September 2006, a contrite McGreevey sat on Winfrey's couch, telling her, "When you're in the closet, part of the hell of being in the closet is you're denying your own existence."