Terry McMillan's Epilogue to 'Groove' Affair

Taye Diggs and Angela Bassett brought Terry McMillan and Jonathan Plummer's love story to life.
Taye Diggs and Angela Bassett brought Terry McMillan and Jonathan Plummer's love story to life. (By D. Stevens -- 20Th Century Fox)

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By Ann Gerhart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 29, 2005

That groove that Terry McMillan got back on her tropical vacation, when she met the hot young Jamaican stud Jonathan Plummer, who rearranged all her atoms into a new transcendental orbit? Who inspired the bestseller "How Stella Got Her Groove Back"? Which became the box-office sensation with Angela Bassett and a torso-writhing Taye Diggs? With the shower scene and the beach scene, which some women have watched with yearning and hope, oh, 89 times?

Gone.

Worse, gone down low .

In a pending California divorce that is getting uglier by the hour, McMillan, 53, claims that Plummer, 30, is gay and manipulated her into marriage to become a U.S. citizen. She contends he wants to bust their prenup and get at some of the millions she has earned as a best-selling author.

Plummer, in documents filed with Contra Costa County Superior Court, claims that McMillan is "homophobic" and bent on revenge. He didn't know he was gay when he met her in 1995 on a beach in Negril, he told the San Francisco Chronicle, which first reported about the breakup on Sunday.

"It was devastating to discover that a relationship I had publicized to the world as life-affirming and built on mutual love was actually based on deceit," McMillan wrote in her declaration to the court. "I was humiliated."

And frightened, said her attorney, Jill Hersh.

"It's very scary for her," Hersh said yesterday, "because he appears to have been living a dual life that has left her exposed to disease." Asked whether McMillan had been tested for HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases, Hersh said, "I'm not going to discuss that."

McMillan is on vacation before a 10-city tour begins next month for her next book and unavailable for comment, said a spokeswoman for her publisher.

Plummer was occupied doing television interviews and also could not be reached for comment. His cousin, Mark Plummer, who said he was serving as "media liaison," said Jonathan "didn't know what he was when he met Terry. He didn't know a lot about a lot of things. About this time last summer, he tried to have this discussion with her. He had felt the rumblings in himself for a while and felt a shift in himself. . . . The physical aspect of their relationship had dissolved."

"Nonsense," says J.L. King, author of "On the Down Low: A Journey Into the Lives of 'Straight' Black Men Who Sleep With Men."

"He knew he was gay," says King. "I feel so sorry for her. It's a devastating time."


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