TRENTON, N.J. – Former Gov. James E. McGreevey, who had been publicly silent since announcing two years ago that he was gay and was resigning, arrived at the studios of the "Oprah Winfrey Show" Tuesday to tell his story.
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.
The 49-year-old Democrat drew national attention when he called a news conference in 2004 and, with his wife at his side, publicly declared "I am a gay American." The couple have since separated and McGreevey lives with his partner, Australian financial adviser Mark O'Donnell, 42.
About a dozen friends accompanied McGreevey and O'Donnell to Chicago for the taping scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Some segments of the show, including clips from the New Jersey home McGreevey shares with O'Donnell, were filmed previously.
McGreevey waved and smiled at reporters from a sport utility vehicle as he arrived at the television studio Tuesday but did not speak to the media.
The interview will air Sept. 19, the same day McGreevey's political memoir, "The Confession," goes on sale. 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.
McGreevey, a Democrat, announced his homosexuality and his impending resignation in the same speech on Aug. 12, 2004, and acknowledged that he had been involved in an affair with a man.
State Sen. Ray 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."