This story was first published Nov. 14 after Melton announced they were dating.
Christian author Glennon Doyle Melton — known as the “ultimate confessional writer” for her honest portrayals of her struggling marriage, addiction and eating disorder — has opened up with another big revelation.
Her partner is a woman and that woman is celebrity soccer champ Abby Wambach.
Melton’s news comes three months after she announced her divorce from Craig Melton, her husband of 14 years, and two months after Wambach told the media she was divorcing Sarah Huffman, her wife of three years, in the wake of a DUI arrest that pushed her to confront her addiction to alcohol and drugs.
Glennon Doyle Melton has reiterated for years her position affirming that same-sex marriage is not sinful and celebrating love in various forms. A few Christian writers who champion LGBT rights in the church congratulated Melton on Twitter on Sunday night. (Another Christian mom and blogger, Jen Hatmaker, came under fire last month for announcing her support of same-sex marriage for the first time.)
In the Facebook post, Melton admitted to her 645,000 followers that yes, it’s been a quick transition to new love. She said her ex-husband supports her relationship with Wambach and that they make “beautiful, modern family” together:
“They’re lucky kids, to be surrounded by so much love. We have family dinners together — all six of us — and Abby cooks. (She is an AMAZING chef because Jesus loves me). We go to the kids’ school parties together. We are a modern, beautiful family. Our children are loved. So loved. And because of all of that love, they are brave.”
A second picture shows the two snuggled on a bench, with Wambach playing a guitar.
Melton’s coming out follows fellow inspirational author and friend Elizabeth Gilbert, of “Eat, Pray, Love” fame. Gilbert announced in September she was in a romantic relationship with her female best friend, just two months after divorcing over the summer.
Both Melton and Gilbert, who had not openly been in lesbian relationships before, first shared their news on Facebook, discussed the importance of living their truth and referred to their new partners as “my person.”
The similarities reflect what fans immediately notice: Both women value transparency and share an open-life-memoir writing style. Both have undergone spiritual journeys, separations and sexual awakenings.
The two confessional authors also share a connection in a woman so inspirational that her name has become shorthand for a spirituality of its own: Oprah Winfrey. Melton and Gilbert have appeared on her career-making book list and popular programs. During a personable Oprah Winfrey Network interview in September, Oprah called Melton a “breath of fresh air.” “Love Warrior,” Melton’s new memoir, is about the brokenness and healing around her husband’s infidelity.
Gilbert and Melton met for the first time last fall, but Melton has long admired and been inspired by Gilbert. “For the past decade she has been a minister to me,” she said. Together with Cheryl Strayed (of “Wild“), vulnerability researcher Brené Brown and progressive evangelical pastor Rob Bell — all among Oprah’s “SuperSoulers” — they launched a multimillion-dollar fundraising effort to help refugees.
Melton blends her healing and inspiration with her faith, and she’s toured to speak about her books at Christian events, including mainline Protestant and nondenominational churches. On her blog, Melton championed her United Church of Christ (UCC) congregation in Naples, Fla. (The UCC is a mainline denomination that advocated for and affirms same-sex marriage. It numbers about 5,000 congregations and 1 million adherents.)
Support for same-sex marriage continues to edge up among Christians each year, though white mainline Protestants and Catholics, most of whom are in favor, remain more than twice as likely to endorse the practice as white evangelicals, according to a Pew Research Center report.
Although Melton regularly speaks at Christian events and churches, her new partner is less outspoken about her faith. Wambach grew up in a Catholic home but began dating girls in late high school, which put her at odds with the faith she was raised with.
She mentioned during an NPR interview in September that she had been revisiting her religious convictions. “I kind of turned my back away from the church and did steadily until kind of, not necessarily the church, but just like my faith until recently,” she said.
Melton described her relationship to Wambach:
“Abby is deeply sensitive and kind. The kids call her an M&M because she looks tough on the outside but inside she’s really mushy and sweet. Abby’s brave. Not just with her words but with her entire being. She has never been afraid to be herself, even when the world told her not to be. I learn from her everyday about the woman I want to become. She is committed to her friends and family. She has this sense of country and honor and chivalry that feels beautiful to me.”
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