Gayle King's ex-husband has issued a public apology for cheating on her 26 years ago. Though Gayle has spoken about it before, William Bumpus' past indiscretion made headlines again this week after the CBS This Morning host, 61, made a quip about him in Vanity Fair's Proust Questionnaire. "I'm not a huge fan of the woman who I caught naked with my now ex-husband on June 24, 1990, at 9:16 p.m.," the news anchor recalled, "but I don't remember the details."
Gayle divorced William, Connecticut Assistant Attorney General, in 1993 after 11 years of marriage. The exes share two adult children, daughter Kirby Bumpus and son Will Bumpus Jr.
William released a statement, via his rep, to The New York Post's Page Six Thursday. "I have been haunted with this life altering choice. Though I have dealt with this privately...I publicly apologize for the major transgression that dramatically changed all of our lives. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Gayle and how she handled herself with grace. Despite the situation, she kept our children, as well as my relationship and involvement with them, as a clear priority," he said. "Gayle was a great wife, an excellent mother and a fantastic co-parent. I am eternally grateful for all that she has done and continues to do to enrich my life and the lives of our incredible adult children. I continue to be a work in progress and have spent the last 26 years striving to be a better man and father. I applaud Gayle's continued phenomenal success and friendship!"
Asked to identify the woman in question, Gayle told Page Six via e-mail, "She knows her name!"
Gayle has spoken about her ex-husband before, including during a SiriusXM radio interview with Will Smith in 2006. "I was married to a cheater," she said. "I went to marital counseling. I have been divorced since 1993, so I'm all healed and everything. I have worked it out. I'm not bitter. I'm OK. I'm really OK." In fact, co-parenting was easier than Gayle had imagined. "It's so important for people who have children together to get along," she explained. "Regardless of how you feel about the other as a spouse, you still have these children to raise together."
When Gayle married William in 1982, her best friend Oprah Winfrey felt sad, "mostly because I just didn't think it was going to work out." As she recalled during a joint interview with Gayle in the August 2006 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, "It didn't feel joyful. You know how you go to weddings and they're full of joy? There are some weddings you go to and you're just filled with all this hope for the couple. And you feel that there's something special going on. I didn't feel that at yours." Oprah served as Gayle's maid of honor, but even so, "It just felt kind of pitiful."
Why did Oprah keep quiet then?
"I never told you because it wasn't my place to say that," she told Gayle, who replied, "I wouldn't have believed you anyway." Oprah then confessed she had kept her mouth shut for another, slightly more selfish reason. "I felt like, well, maybe it's just me being jealous. Maybe I couldn't feel the joy because I was feeling like our friendship was going to change. But it didn't."