NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, are separating but not divorcing after 29 years of a marriage that helped lift de Blasio into the mayor’s job.
McCray, 68, confirmed the separation in a text to The Associated Press after The New York Times published a story in which she and De Blasio, 62, said they will continue to share the same Brooklyn townhouse while dating other people.
They arrived together at the realization that the spark had gone out of their relationship, they told the newspaper in a joint interview.
“You can’t fake it,” McCray said.
“You can feel when things are off,” de Blasio said, “and you don’t want to live that way.”
McCray said the pair spoke to the Times in an effort to head off gossip.
“As very public people embarking on a new chapter, we thought it better to say all this openly before anyone tries to find negativity, or before any misunderstandings occur,” she told the AP.
McCray said she and de Blasio “have only respect and admiration for each other, and the sense of wonder that we ever found each other to begin with.”
De Blasio did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
De Blasio, at the time the city’s public advocate, entered the 2013 Democratic mayoral primary race as an underdog but came out on top, thanks partly to the sexting scandal that doomed former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s campaign. De Blasio went on to serve two terms as mayor and was succeeded by fellow Democrat Eric Adams.
De Blasio, who is white, and McCray, who is Black, met in the early 1990s while both were working for New York City’s first Black mayor, Democrat David Dinkins.
Their interracial family helped boost de Blasio’s 2013 campaign, particularly after their teenage son, Dante de Blasio, starred in a TV ad promising that his father would end policies of billionaire three-term Mayor Mike Bloomberg like stop-and-frisk policing.
McCray was often by de Blasio’s side during his two terms as mayor and was put in charge of a mental health initiative called ThriveNYC that was criticized for its $1 billion price tag and dearth of quantifiable results.
She joined him for the announcement of his short-lived run for the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, although she told the Times that she had doubts about the endeavor.
“I thought it was a distraction,” she said.
“Kind of true,” de Blasio conceded. “Point for Chirlane.”
Former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, said the rigors of public life took a serious toll on their bond. | Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo