Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is opening up about his marriage, his hotel scandal, and more in GQ‘s “Modern Lovers” issue.
On March 13, 2020, Gillum became one of the news’s biggest headlines when police discovered he’d passed out in a hotel room at the Mondrian South Beach Hotel. In the room, there were scattered medicine bottles, and stains covered the floor and the bedding. A male escort was also with Gillum at the time. During an appearance on Tamron Hall’s talk show, Gillum came out as bisexual, Tallahassee Democrat reports.
Today, Gillum is moving closer to fully re-entering the spotlight. He and his wife R. Jai Gillum sat down for an interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Wesley Lowery for a piece titled “How Andrew Gillum’s Marriage Survived a Night of Scandal.”
“I think that the pandemic probably saved our marriage,” R. Jai Gillum said, thanking couples therapy and their “radical honesty” with one another during the quarantine.
In the interview with the publication, Jai talked about her concerns about Andrew’s sexuality and figuring out what it meant for their relationship.
“I had a lot of questions, some of which he could answer, some of which he couldn’t,” R. Jai stated. “But I guess maybe it was that confidence in me really believing what he had to say about me and us [that] made it better.… It made me want to at least say, ‘Okay, let’s see. Let’s figure this thing out.’ ”
Jai continued, “What mainly concerned me, it was for me: What does this mean for our relationship? How does this work?” They decided that Andrew’s sexuality didn’t have to mean much at all for them. It was part of who he was but didn’t mean that he wanted to be with anyone else or loved her any less. “Once we got past all that, nothing has changed [from] the Andrew that I’ve dated on and off for about six years, Andrew that I’ve known as a friend for even longer,” she said. “So now I’m like, ‘We’re just a couple dealing with the same things that other people deal with.’ There is nothing different.”
The male escort, Travis Dyson, was also interviewed by GQ, and he talked about his encounter with the former mayor of Tallahassee. When police arrived at the hotel, they found an overdosed Dyson alongside Gillum, who’d blacked out. A third man in the room called the police. Police found a series of hard drugs, including methamphetamine, but no charges were filed against Gillum. Gillum said he met Dyson months before the hotel incident and said he went up to the hotel room after doing some day drinking on Miami Beach. Gillum said he never took meth but said he did have one too many drinks. Dyson says he and Gillum met on Grindr, a gay hookup app, a couple of weeks before, and then the two met up several times for paid sexual encounters.
“He said Andrew passed out after taking ‘G,’ an ecstasy-type drug often used by gay men to enhance their sex drives, which when combined with alcohol can knock people out,” the article reads, according to Tallahassee Democrat. “He said that on that night and others, both he and Andrew used G and other drugs.”
The article states that what really happened that night “remains unclear.” For now, Gillum says he’s not thinking about running for office. “No,” he told the magazine, “and that’s not to say not ever.” Dyson says the scandal ruined his life, his nursing dreams, and his plans with his fiancé. He has since turned to a career in the porn industry.