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Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and wife announce separation

In an extended interview with The New York Times, they said they will still live in the same house for now — but want to date other people.
New York City Mayor Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray in New York on Jan. 5, 2020.
New York City Mayor Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray in New York on Jan. 5, 2020.Mark Peterson / Redux
/ Source: NBC News

Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, announced they’re separating after 30 years of marriage — without filing for divorce and while still living together for now.

In a three-hour-long interview with The New York Times, the pair explained that their union had grown stagnant and they needed a change.

“I just want to have fun,” McCray said before quickly turning to de Blasio adding: “It’s not that we haven’t had fun.”

“Thank you, honey,” he said, according to an article in The New York Times published Wednesday.

When reached by NBC News, the two-term mayor declined to comment but didn’t dispute details in the story, saying, “for today we’re just letting the article speak for itself.”

De Blasio shared The New York Times story in his Twitter feed, writing: “Even at this moment of change, this is a love story."

The pair said they began considering a separation two months ago, when de Blasio observed that they were no longer effusive about their love.

“’Why aren’t you lovey-dovey anymore?’” McCray said he asked.

“You can’t fake it,” McCray told The New York Times.

De Blasio agreed that their spark had been lost.

“You can feel when things are off,” he said, “and you don’t want to live that way.”

The pair said they are not yet filing for divorce and will remain in their townhouse in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.

But they will be open to dating other people, the couple said.

The former mayor admitted he had reservations about his marriage to McCray who had come out as lesbian years earlier.

“For the guy who took the chance on a woman who was an out lesbian and wrote an article called ‘I Am a Lesbian,’” de Blasio said, “there was a part of me that would at times say, ‘Hmmm, is this like a time bomb ticking? Is this something that you’re going to regret later on?’ So I always lived with that stuff.”

The pair, at least jokingly, appeared eager to pursue their new, semi-autonomous lives.

A deadpan McCray asked the newspaper to print their phone numbers, while de Blasio hoped he’d look best with a picture of himself working out.

“Can I put a picture from the gym in there?” de Blasio asked, adding that he doesn’t believe in using online dating apps.

De Blasio was first elected to the New York City Council in 2001 before winning a citywide ballot in 2009 to become public advocate.

He won election to Gracie Mansion in 2013, scoring an upset in the Democratic primary against City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who had been seeking to become the first openly gay mayor of America’s largest city. 

After two terms, de Blasio went on a brief 2020 White House run but didn’t make it to Iowa. Another political comeback fell short last year, when de Blasio sought a seat in Congress but dropped out before the Democratic primary.

The public reaction to the high-profile split included healthy doses of confusion and mockery.

“Did…did Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray just announce their open relationship in the” New York Times, tweeted social data researcher Robyn Caplan.

And while de Blasio said he wouldn’t pursue online dating, sports podcaster David Roth comically imagined what the former mayor’s new single-and-ready-to-mingle look could be.

“Here’s something I’ve been thinking about that I want to share with you all: Bill de Blasio, in an obviously very expensive monochrome t-shirt, with a thin gold chain over it,” Roth wrote. “Maybe he’s wearing sunglasses as well."