McGreevey to tell his story on Oprah

McGreevey to tell his story on Oprah
9/12/2006, AP

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Former New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey is to tell the story of his rise to power as a closeted gay man and his shocking fall from grace as the nation's first openly gay governor in a taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Tuesday.

The interview will air Sept. 19, the same day McGreevey's political memoir, "The Confession," goes on sale.

Publisher Regan Books is launching McGreevey's national book tour with the Oprah program. The day after it airs, McGreevey is to appear on NBC's "Today" show, "The View" and "Hannity & Colmes" on Fox News.

McGreevey, 49, retreated from the limelight and has remained publicly silent since resigning as governor two years ago amid a gay sex scandal.

Winfrey landed the exclusive interview with McGreevey because of her sense of faith and spirituality, according to friends of the former governor. McGreevey is said to be a fan of Winfrey's education and anti-poverty work, two issues to which the former governor is devoting more time in his post-political life.

Some segments of the show, including clips from the Union County home McGreevey shares with his partner, Australian financial adviser Mark O'Donnell, 42, were filmed previously.

About a dozen friends accompanied McGreevey and O'Donnell to Chicago for the taping, which was to take place Tuesday afternoon. State Sen. Ray Lesniak and Rahway Mayor Jim Kennedy were among those planning to attend.

Lesniak, who was interviewed by Winfrey's staff in preparation for the program, said they were interested in how McGreevey is now compared with how he was as governor.

"They are two different people," Lesniak said. "The first person was very guarded and very concerned about how he was perceived. He was driven to achieve and was somewhat uncomfortable.

"The McGreevey I know now has accepted who he is and has shared that with the rest of the world," he said. "He is comfortable with himself and concerned about being authentic to himself and his beliefs."

The book traces his life through two failed marriages, his rise to the governor's office and the sudden, public implosion of his political career.

The book tour is to include stops in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle over the next month. McGreevey will also do book signings at several stores in the region, including the Princeton University Bookstore on Sept. 23 and Barnes & Noble at the University of Pennsylvania on Sept. 25.

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