Andrew Gillum told Tamron Hall on Monday that he was bisexual – a revelation in his first interview since being caught amid a scandal in March that saw him enter rehab and to retire from its once promising. career.
The Democratic politician, who lost the Florida governor’s race in 2018 by less than half a percentage point to Ron DeSantis, made headlines this spring after being found drunk in a hotel room with a another man who may have overdosed on drugs and been treated by responders, local police said.
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Authorities also said a substance suspected of being methamphetamine was found in the room, although Gillum said he had only drunk alcohol.
The other man identified himself as an escort via the Rent Men website, according to a local television article. He told the Miami New Times in March that he and Gillum had been “friends for some time.”
Gillum, 41, spoke of the speculation fueled by the meeting when he spoke with Hall at the season premiere of his talk show on Monday.
“The truth is, Tamron, everyone believes the absolute worst about this day. At this point, I have nothing more to hide.… What was most hurtful was this belief that I was somehow living a lie in my marriage and in my family, “he said.
“To be very honest with you, when you didn’t ask the question, you asked it, is whether I identify as gay or not. And the answer is, I don’t. as gay, but I identify as gay. bisexual, “he continued. “And that’s something I’ve never shared publicly before.”
Gillum spoke with Hall in the emotional interview alongside his wife, R. Jai Gillum.
Hall, 49, told PEOPLE last week that it was “one of the most difficult interviews I have ever conducted” and their conversation was “intense and at times it was heartbreaking, upsetting and disorienting “.
“I literally collapsed in my most naked place, where I wasn’t even sure I wanted to live – not because of what I had done, but because of everything that was being said about me, ”Andrew said. Room.
Photos of the scene have also circulated around the internet, including one of an unconscious Andrew “on the floor… literally lying in my own vomit,” as he told Hall.
Speculation about Andrew’s privacy swept through social media after it was reported that the former Tallahassee mayor was found in the Miami hotel, where he said he traveled to celebrate a friend’s wedding.
“All of these things are wrong,” Andrew told Hall on his show, referring to claims he was having an orgy or using drugs. (He also said he got tested for drugs a few days later when entering rehab for alcoholism.)
Authorities also told PEOPLE at the time that the incident was not being treated as a criminal matter and that Andrew had not been charged with any crime.
He said on Monday that what helped him right after was “the grace I received from my wife.”
“It was without our knowing whether or not there would be a future Andrew and R. Jai,” he told Hall. “At this point, she was the one taking care of me as a human.”
RELATED: Tamron Hall Opens Up ‘Heartbreaking’ Interview With Former Florida Political Star Found Drunk In Hotel Scandal
Hall told PEOPLE that R. Jai was “rock hard” and “provocative” during the interview, saying she didn’t want the incident to define their marriage.
R. Jai told Hall that she believed her husband suffered from depression the year he lost the gubernatorial race and that he was struggling to find the words to ask for help.
Instead, she said he resorted to an atypical “reckless” decision “because he needed to talk to someone and probably had no words.”
Andrew said he “started drinking at a level I had never done before” after losing the 2018 race and sometimes drank heavily throughout the day, hiding whiskey in mugs coffee.
He was seen crying as R. Jai spoke with Hall, claiming that she “was adamantly opposed to speaking” after the incident “because I have the impression that nowadays anyone who is a public figure, people feel empowered to every part of them and it can destroy you.
R. Jai said that “love and sexuality exist on a spectrum” and all she cares about “is what is between us and what agreement do we make to relate to each other. with the others”.
“I don’t think it’s anyone’s business,” she said. “I don’t think it’s fair to people who aren’t straight or assumed to be straight, they should never have to say or disclose who they are because of how people judge.”
During the interview, Andrew asked if he was considering a political return in his future. He could show up again “if I think about it,” he said, although he said he was also open to the possibility that he never shows up again.
“There is nothing that has happened in my life – scandalous or not – to make me believe that if I have service to give an elected term as a means of doing this, I could not do it,” he said. . “Now would that be difficult?” Absoutely. But Donald Trump is president.