How Gayle King Stayed Positive After Sad End To Her First Marriage


It’s widely known that Gayle King and her dear pal Oprah Winfrey have a famously sister-like bond. Millions love tuning in to watch King each weekday on CBS Mornings, which she has skillfully co-hosted for many years. Many people wonder about King’s personal life, which she tends to keep largely under wraps.

From 1982 to 1993, King was married to former Connecticut Assistant Attorney General William Bumpus, a lawyer born in England who later relocated to America. He and King have two children: a son, William Bumpus, Jr., and a daughter, Kirby. All did not end well in King’s marriage. Still, she bounced back from a painful situation with remarkable dignity, fortitude, resilience, and even a dash of wry humor.

They Divorced After King Discovered Bumpus Was Unfaithful

It’s every spouse’s worst fear: discovering their partner in an intimate situation with another person. That is exactly what happened to King. “I was married to a cheater,” she announced to her guest, actor Will Smith, in 2006 on her XM Satellite radio show, CBS News reported.

Despite whatever negative feelings she may have had toward Bumpus, King emphasized the need for both of them to help their children thrive and have a rewarding life. “It’s so important for people who have children together to get along,” she said. “Regardless of how you feel about the other as a spouse, you still have these children to raise together.”

Ten years later, in 2016, King bluntly told Vanity Fair’s “Proust Questionnaire” precisely what caused her breakup. When asked, “Which living person do you most despise?”, she quipped, “I’m not a huge fan of the woman I caught naked with my now ex-husband on June 24, 1990, at 9:16 p.m—but I don’t remember the details.”

King came out with another awkward revelation on The OG Chronicles. When Winfrey reminded King that she told the woman she found with Bumpus that she thought she was her friend, King said the woman replied, “I never liked you.”

Bumpus Responded And Apologized

King’s comments to Vanity Fair sparked this contrite response from Bumpus. “I publicly apologize for the major transgression that dramatically changed all of our lives,” he declared to Page Six. Bumpus went on to compliment King generously, particularly for her steadfast dedication to their children.

He added, “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. 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!”

Interestingly, Winfrey had scant faith from the very beginning that King’s marriage would last. She admitted in 2006 in a joint interview with King that she had major doubts about it even during King’s nuptials to Bumpus.

“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,” Winfrey told King. “But you were my maid of honor!” King exclaimed.

Yes, but it just felt kind of pitiful. I never told you because it wasn’t my place to say that,” Winfrey added.

She Has Remained Single Since Her Divorce

King dates, but has yet to walk down the aisle again. She does seem to know what she wants, though. When Drew Barrymore chatted with her on television about the subject, King mentioned that being physically attracted to someone matters to her, at least to a degree. She also said she wishes she were “brave enough” to use dating apps. King prefers to find potential partners through friends or date someone she has met organically.

The dating scene may not really be her thing, however. King mentioned in that discussion with Barrymore that she once sat in a restaurant alone, reading a book—or nervously pretending to. A waiter came along and gently informed her that the volume was upside-down, an endearingly honest confession from King that made the audience roar with laughter.

Marital Counseling Helped King Overcome The Betrayal

King took a level-headed, common-sense approach to getting past her split from Bumpus.  As she told Will Smith in that 2006 radio broadcast, “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.”

Throughout her divorce and afterward, King took the high road. She resolutely put her children first and stayed in touch with Bumpus, even though he caused her so much heartache.

King’s life is apparently pleasantly full these days. She excels in her television role on CBS and she always prioritizes being a mother to William Jr. and Kirby. King is close to both of them.



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