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Hide Your Wife

In a meeting in 2012, I was startled when someone suggested that Marilee needed to go away.  As part of a PR and promotional strategy, it would be best if I didn’t talk so much about my wife, they explained.  And, if I could show up to a few events without her, that wouldn’t be a bad idea.

This wasn’t a private one-on-one meeting where an off-the-record opinion was being offered.  It was a planning session that included a whole team of people, and MIA Marilee was an official strategic option.  I was floored.  At the time, I didn’t outwardly react according to how I was feeling.  I was enraged.  I was offended.

That wasn’t the first or last time this type of advice had been offered.  The argument from those making the suggestion is this:  my fan base is made up of a lot of women.  You want to always appeal to them, not turn them off.  “Women need to think you’re available to them,” someone said.  That is incredibly shortsighted and insulting to women.

I was in LA last week, and the suggestion was made again:  hide your wife.

Clearly, I haven’t followed the advice.  Marilee is everywhere.  I talk about her, I write about her, and I show up to plenty public events with her.  She has never been and will never be part of a PR strategy.  She is my life.  It’s impossible and unnatural to cut her out in some way.  I would hope that her presence would make me more appealing to the wider public, not less.  Ironic, isn’t it?  The suggestion that a happily married black couple is not the image I would want to put out there!

However, as I sit here talking to Marilee about this blog, I’m surprised to hear her say:  “I get it, T.J.  They think you have to market the illusion of availability to women.”  Let’s see if she still feels that way when I disinvite her from the public events on our summer schedule.  It’s only a PR strategy, baby.

Comments

M
Reply

What makes you attractive is your love for your wife and the boss baby. Your post about your older daughter showed your vulnerability and made me respect you even more. Social media gives people a false sense of intimacy. I appreciate the bits you do share. If you can balance career and family with your high profile job it encourages others to try. Black love should always be highlighted. Keep your standing date.

detroit skater
Reply

i totally agree with M!!

N
Reply

Appealing to what kind of women? Trashy and desperate with perhaps! Not intellectual & classy ladies, who have self esteem. I’m glad u r not the kind of guy who has the desperate need for female attention. U have good family and wish u all the best.

Tara
Reply

I love it! Keep up the good work. Mrs. Holmes said that she understands but I bet in the back of her mind she’s standing applauding and saying “that’s my man!” and “Hercules! Hercules!” lol

Sandy
Reply

NEVER sacrifice family for a job. It is NEVER worth it. My feeling is this: God first, family second, job third.

JOB won’t be at your funeral saying how much you are missed!

Tia
Reply

Hi TJ…WOW! When I read this blog I was surprised and offended for you and your wife. When I saw you on my Twitter feed, I thought, “Wow, what a good looking man…” I said something else but I’ll keep that to myself because I don’t want to offend others…then I thought about my son, who is going to be an equally good looking man “like you” when he grows up. LOL But, most, importantly, I’ve seen you work and like how you come across to the public…very honest, confident and knowledgable. It was nice to see that you are married. I read one of your other blogs and found it refreshing that you talk about your wife…it shows that you are crazy about her and that is good inspiration to all the failing marriages and relationships out there especially the African American ones. I’m in a happily committed relationship and I hope he talks about me like that…I think he does because I always feel special to him. I have even more respect for you.

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