By LINDA G. RASTELLI
OK, let’s get right to it: How could she not have known?
“I didn’t have time to listen to rumors,” Dina Matos McGreevey told redbankgreen last night, shortly before she took the floor at a posh dinner event in her name at the Molly Pitcher Inn.
She had a busy job, she had a new baby. “Also, I wasn’t looking for it,” she said. “There was nothing in our private life that indicated he was homosexual.”
For more on that enticing tidbit, check out the early pages of her recently published memoir, in which she writes cryptically, and just to “get it out of the way” that “the sex was good.”
Anyway, in cases of infidelity, “the wife or husband is always the last to know,” she said.
Nearly 100 well-dressed women and fewer than 10 men turned out to hear Matos McGreevey pitch her memoir, “Silent Partner,” an account of her marriage to ex-New Jersey governor and self-proclaimed “gay American” Jim McGreevey.
But this was not your usual cattle-call book signing in a corner of Barnes & Noble. Guests paid $125 for a four-course dinner that included champagne and wine with either chicken or mahi-mahi. Then there was the direct access to the former First Lady of the Garden State, now a party to one of the ugliest and most public divorces in recent memory.
Beside each table place-setting was a list of “Facts about Dina Matos McGreevey” bluntly titled, “Get it STRAIGHT.”
Take that, Jimbo.
Not everybody present bought her explanation for why her gaydar was so faulty, though.
Katie Johnson said that as soon as she moved to Rumson six years ago, she began hearing rumors that the governor was, well, frequenting some unusual places, such as gay pickup spots.
“It’s hard to believe she didn’t know,” Johnson said.
Tara Avallone of Monmouth Beach, who accompanied Johnson to the event because Johnson’s husband wasn’t interested in attending, put in, “You don’t see what you dont want to see.”
Matos McGreevey wants it known that out of the two dueling tell-all books (his is entitled “The Confession”) authored by herself and her ex, “one is fiction, and one’s not fiction,” she said.
Matos McGreevey is currently suing McGreevey for defamation, claiming the ex-governor’s accusations that she’s a homophobe who knew about his sexual orientation before they were married have damaged sales of her book.
“I have friends who are gay it’s not about that,” Matos McGreevey said during the interview. “I think people should be allowed to live authentic lives so that this doesnt continue to happen.” She added that two million marriages a year end when a spouse comes out of the closet.
The spouses, including herself, are then forced into their own closets by the difficulty of the situation, said the petite author, dressed in summery polka dots.
After McGreevey’s resignation speech, in which he attributed his inability to govern to rumors about his extramarital homosexual affairs, Matos McGreevey said she wanted out of the marriage pronto, and “I expected him to do the right thing. But this has escalated, and this has generated more interest from the media.
“I had no intention of writing a book,” Matos McGreevey continued, “but there was so much interest, and so many people spinning their stories, and pretending to know who I am, that I felt I had to tell my own story. I also wanted my own daughter someday to read the book and know who her mother is.”
The no-longer-silent partner promised to speak “from the heart I have no prepared remarks,” she told the audience and gamely answered all questions for the ballroomful of women of all ages.
While servers delivered hot rolls on silver tongs, attendees addressed Matos McGreevey by her first name expressed warm support. They also and queried the childrens advocate about her dating life (not yet), whether she has political aspirations (no, never), who she supports for president (nobody yet), what was going through her mind during the governors resignation speech (nothing too much in shock), and whether dishes were flying in the governor’s mansion when they got home (see previous answer).
Johnson and Avallone, having also seen Matos McGreevey’s appearance on Oprah, were glad they came, although both said they were happily married and could not relate to Matos McGreevey’s situation.
“It’s nicer than a book signing,” said Avallone. “It’s very intimate.”
“She’s very charming, and I wanted to understand her side of the story,” said Johnson.