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"One Of The Hardest Things I've Ever Experienced": Jenna Lyons Discusses Her Coming Out Process
The former J. Crew creative director shares why it wasn't her choice to publicly come out as gay amid her divorce from her husband.
It was a very private moment that became extremely public for one of New York’s newest Housewives more than a decade ago. Jenna Lyons is now sharing more about her coming out experience — and how it’s shaping her current love life.
On the newest episode of Season 14’s The Real Housewives Of New York City, Jenna opened up to the other ‘Wives about how it wasn’t her choice to reveal she was gay.
Jenna Lyons on Coming Out
Jenna was first romantically linked to artist Vincent Mazeau in 1996, and they married in 2002. They have a son together, Beckett, who is now 16. But the couple divorced in 2011, after nine years of marriage.
Jenna told the other Housewives during a dinner in the Hamptons she first realized she was gay during a conversation with a close friend, who was also gay, around the time of her divorce.
“My relationship was falling apart with my husband, and I asked her, like, what happens with women — I was just curious,” Jenna told the women. “By the end of the conversation … I just wanted to kiss her, and I was completely surprised. Something kind of went off inside of me, and I was like ‘Something feels different here,’ and then I started to have dreams about her.”
Although never mentioning her by name, Jenna was referring to Courtney Crangi, who was influential in the fashion and jewelry industry.
“Something happened when I turned 40,” Jenna said in her confessional. “I had this beautiful little boy. I had this great job. I had this feeling inside that I wasn’t happy. I remember thinking to myself, like, I don’t want to feel like this for another 40 years.”
When Sai De Silva asked Jenna “did you come out?” during dinner, Jenna replied, “Oh, no, that was done for me by The New York Post [and Page Six].”
Jenna described how a seemingly innocent date in 2011 tipped off the publication to her new relationship with a woman amid her divorce.
“I’d been at a restaurant, and I was sitting with this person, and we were not doing anything,” Jenna told the other 'Wives. “We were just having dinner. I’m sure we were maybe googly-eyed but we weren’t holding hands or kissing, we were very low-key.”
Jenna then said she received a call while she was in her J.Crew office, working as the company’s president and creative director.
“The Post said we have information that you are seeing a woman, would you like to confirm or deny?” Jenna told them. “Even talking about it now, I just get hot because I was already in the process of getting divorced, but I had not told my mom. I had not told my brother. I had not told my family. I had not told anyone at work. I didn’t really know what I was doing. It was like three weeks into this [relationship with Crangi] — I had no idea.”
Jenna decided to confirm her relationship to The New York Post and Page Six, who ran the headline on Oct. 27, 2011, "Jenna’s New Love’s A Jewel," along with a picture of Jenna and Crangi from 2008.
“While it was devastating and probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced, I am so grateful for how incredibly gracious everyone at the [J. Crew] office was,” Jenna said in her confessional.
Jenna and Crangi eventually split up in 2017.
Who is Jenna Lyon's girlfriend?
Jenna told the Housewives in the Hamptons she is dating, but declined to reveal the identity of the person she’s dating, despite Ubah Hassan joking it’s her.
“Because I had so much press, I am very quiet about that,” Jenna said in her confessional. “My life has put me in the public eye for my job, and other things I’ve done, and that is my choice. If someone does not want to be in that with me, then I have to respect that.”
Despite refusing to tell the Housewives during filming, Jenna told The New York Times in June she was dating a photographer, Cass Bird.
Watch new episodes of The Real Housewives Of New York City Sundays at 9/8c on Bravo and the next day on Peacock.