On Instagram and in life, the Turners have long been the perfect couple. Jessica, 39, is an influencer and founder of The Mom Creative blog. At 47, Matthew is a bestselling author of Christian children’s books. Married for sixteen years, they are the happy parents of three beautiful children: Elias, 13, Adeline, 10, and Ezra, 6. But on July 17, 2020, a clap of thunder still echoed in their cloudless sky.
While the couple was used to sharing their daily life as a large Christian family on Instagram (nearly 200,000 subscribers between them), Matthew, in consultation with Jessica, came out and announced their divorce. “A year ago, remembers Jessica, I woke up thinking that July 17 would be one of the worst days of my life. Millions of people saw our announcement. […] In their comments some forgot that we were real people. […] It was a hard day, but we survived it.”
“The children feared that the divorce would take them away from their father”
It was couple therapy, started a year earlier, which allowed the writer to come to terms with his homosexuality: “Being gay is not a discovery for me. However, as I was brought up in a universe very conservative evangelical cleric, I lived many days overcome by fear, shame and self-hatred.” Faced with such upheaval, Matthew was able to count on Jessica and vice versa. “I cried a lot, specifies this mother. We love each other deeply. The children also cried, they feared that the divorce would take them away from their father.”
For the happiness of the latter, they then organize themselves in order to live a co-parenting in good intelligence. Matthew moves in 400m from their old house, which Jessica has kept, and the children see both parents every day. The clan meets at many meals, every Friday night for movie night, and for part of the summer vacation. After a year, the results are positive. “I’m grateful that I never go a day without seeing my children and they are doing remarkably well,” says Jessica.
“Jessica never stopped believing in me. And I will always be grateful for her love”
Matthew also salutes the benevolence of his ex-wife’s relatives towards him: “Jessica’s parents and sister have never stopped treating me like a full member of their family. They have been a great support. in this year of coming out. […] I’m a better person because I’m becoming myself. I’m a better father, a better friend to Jessica, a better writer. [ .. .] Jessica never stopped believing in me. And I will always be grateful for her love.”
Ultimate consecration: Matthew’s latest book entered the New York Times bestseller list in June 2021, a success that all five of them celebrated. “Matthew may not be my husband anymore, but I still love him. I’m proud of us. We’re still family.”
Jessica and Matthew Turner © INSTAGRAM JESSICANTURNER