I’ve been asked some questions by the press recently about my divorce from Joss Whedon, to whom I was married for 16 years. There is misinformation out there and I feel the best way to clear up the situation is to tell my truth. Let me begin by saying I am a very private person and the act of writing this is antithetical to who I am and everything I stand for. Yet, at the same time, I feel compelled to go on the record and clear up some misperceptions. I don’t think it is fair to me or other women to remain silent any longer.
There were times in our relationship that I was uncomfortable with the attention Joss paid other women. He always had a lot of female friends, but he told me it was because his mother raised him as a feminist, so he just liked women better. He said he admired and respected females, he didn’t lust after them. I believed him and trusted him. On the set of “Buffy,” Joss decided to have his first secret affair.
Fifteen years later, when he was done with our marriage and finally ready to tell the truth, he wrote me, “When I was running ‘Buffy,’ I was surrounded by beautiful, needy, aggressive young women. It felt like I had a disease, like something from a Greek myth. Suddenly I am a powerful producer and the world is laid out at my feet and I can’t touch it.” But he did touch it. He said he understood, “I would have to lie — or conceal some part of the truth — for the rest of my life,” but he did it anyway, hoping that first affair, “would be ENOUGH, that THEN we could move on and outlast it.”
Joss admitted that for the next decade and a half, he hid multiple affairs and a number of inappropriate emotional ones that he had with his actresses, co-workers, fans and friends, while he stayed married to me.
Sometimes I forget that there was a Scooby-Doo movie starring Wendy Corduroy, Mr. Bean, Isla Fisher and Buffy the Vampire Slayer along with several legitimate martial artists and pro wrestlers, created solely because the scriptwriter (Who would later direct Guardians of the Galaxy) hated Scrappy-Doo and wanted everyone else to hate him too.
One of my favorite things about Buffy is that her boyfriends are never really full characters on the show. They’re vehicles through which Buffy learns and grows and evolves. We never saw the whole Angel when he was on BTVS. We only saw what Buffy saw; tortured and brooding, heroic and strong. He was her boyfriend and his character development never really exceeded what was necessary for hers.
This becomes evident when you compare who he is on Angel to who he is on Buffy. Angel on his own is goofy and immature. He’s got an ego and he can be insecure. He cracks puns and giggles and likes to mess with people. He opens up to Cordelia and Wes in ways he never did with any of the characters on Buffy.
It’s one of my favorite things because no matter how rich and wonderful the supporting cast was, you never forgot that Buffy was the star of the show. This is her story and her journey. Her friends are there to help her along the way but at the end of the day she stands alone.
Joss may have his flaws (and boy does he) but he gave us a truly strong, dynamic, flawed, and inspiring hero in Buffy.