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An Ancient Coda To My 21st-Century Divorce | With Amy Landecker20:51
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David Chelsea for The New York Times
David Chelsea for The New York Times

After a divorce, it can feel like the last thing you want to do is revisit the past. But a ritual forced Cindy Chupack to do just that. She writes about it in her essay, "An Ancient Coda to My 21st Century Divorce." It's read by Amy Landecker, who is best known for her work in Amazon's "Transparent."

Where Are They Now?

Cindy Chupack says that she did wonder a little about her ex-husband's sexuality before they were married, especially when he told her that he sometimes noticed men, even though he would never act on it.

"That was enough to bother me," she says. "And I talked to my friend Julie, and I said, 'What do you think of that? Is that something I should worry about?' And she had this whole theory of the spectrum of sexuality, and everyone lies somewhere along this spectrum. And later she realized she was gay. So everywhere we turned for advice were people struggling with the same thing, was the bottom line of it."

Eventually, Cindy did tell her ex about what the rabbi had said about him and his family.

"What was surprising and sad and revealing to me was that he wasn’t as surprised," she says. "He just said, 'That’s what happens. That’s how it is.' And that resignation, that you’re going to face that sort of homophobia in all different places and aspects of your life, it’s partly what made me want to write this. Because it felt so shocking to me, and it was not surprising to him."

"In writing the piece, I felt that it was such a valentine to what we'd been through, and that I was completely forgiving and actually appreciative of what he had to do, the strength it took to admit it — and I wrote it with that intent."

Cindy does have one takeaway from all of this:

“I now know, if a man is wondering if he might be gay, um — just assume he is. That’s just a good — that’s a good rule.”

Voices in this Episode

Courtesy Amy Landecker
Courtesy Amy Landecker

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Amy Landecker began her career in Chicago as an intern at the Steppenwolf Theatre, where she later went on to perform, in addition to The Goodman and the Public Theatre in NY. She won an Obie Award for her work in Tracy Lett’s Bug at the Barrow Street Theatre.

Cindy Chupack (Credit: Bradley Rogne)
Cindy Chupack (Credit: Bradley Rogne)

Cindy Chupack has won two Emmys and three Golden Globes as a TV writer/producer whose credits include “Divorce,” “Better Things,” “Modern Family,” “Sex and the City,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and most recently the darkly comic Showtime hour “I’m Dying Up Here” about standup comics in Los Angeles in the 70s.  This year she directed an episode of “I’m Dying Up Here," which marked her television directing debut, and she also directed her first movie this summer in New York, a story about mothers and their adult sons called OTHERHOOD (starring Angela Bassett, Felicity Huffman, and Patricia Arquette), which will be released on Mother’s Day 2019 on Netflix. Cindy is also the author of two comic memoirs: the New York Times bestseller The Between Boyfriends Book: A Collection of Cautiously Hopeful Essays, and The Longest Date: Life as a Wife (which includes a longer version of this Modern Love essay).

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"An Ancient Coda to my 21st Century Divorce by Cindy Chupack © 2014. Excerpt re-read with the permission of Brilliance Audio. All rights reserved. Audiobook available at brillianceaudio.com and amazon.com." 

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