When Tiffany, a young single mom of three, met a Kentucky pastor named Mitchell, it seemed as if life was moving towards one with a happily ever after. The couple married, had two children together and appeared to enjoy a relationship that, on the surface, seemed both strong and devout. Then, a few months after their fifth wedding anniversary, Mitchell dropped a bombshell on his wife: He was gay.
Mitchell had recognized his same-sex attraction at an early age, but spent years burying his feelings, enveloping himself in the church and even preaching against homosexuality from the pulpit. By the time he’d met Tiffany, Mitchell felt “healed.” However, he couldn’t control his sexual desires and, unbeknownst to his wife, Mitchell began living a life on the down low, sleeping with other men. Though he finally told Tiffany the truth about his sexuality and the two soon separated nearly six years ago, Mitchell had always stayed silent about his multiple affairs — until life coach Iyanla Vanzant came into the picture.
After Mitchell contacted Iyanla to help him navigate the ruins of his marriage and do what’s best for the five children, she arrived in Kentucky more than ready to help facilitate the healing. That could only begin, however, with Mitchell confessing the full truth about his extramarital relationships, which led Tiffany to ask her estranged husband one burning question.
“Why’d you marry me?” she asks quietly.
“I married you because I wanted you to be my wife,” Mitchell answers.
Iyanla immediately steps in. “Oh, I’m just going to slap the taste right out of your mouth,” she says to Mitchell. “Look at this woman and tell her the truth. Look at her and tell her the truth!”
Though Mitchell insists that this is the truth, Iyanla shakes her head. The real truth, she tells him, is that he doesn’t know why he got married. “Tell her why you don’t know,” Iyanla says.
“I mean, I wanted to be married and I thought she was a super wife for me,” Mitchell says.
Iyanla turns to Tiffany. “Don’t believe a word of that,” she tells her. “That is not true. That’s what he needs to say, but that ain’t true.”
Tiffany looks directly at the man she married more than 10 years ago.
“I just want to know, at what point did you ‘get it’ that you shouldn’t have been married?” she asks.
“2006,” Mitchell responds.
Shock reads on Tiffany’s face as Iyanla refocuses the conversation back to Tiffany’s initial question when they first sat down. “You need to look at her and say, ‘I married you because I was in denial that I was gay,'” Iyanla instructs Mitchell.
Mitchell repeats the statement in an even tone, but quickly buckles under the weight of what he has just acknowledged. Tears begin falling down his face, he shakes his head and lets out a heavy sigh.
“I’m sorry, Tiffany,” Mitchell finally says, through his tears. “If I knew different, I would have done different.”
Mitchell and Tiffany continue their conversation in this weekend’s episode of “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” airing Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.
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