'I had what I thought was a very happy marriage'
Eight months after multiple allegations of sexual assault and rape were made against her now ex-husband Harvey Weinstein, Georgina Chapman has broken her silence in a revealing new interview.
The Marchesa co-founder – who was married to Weinstein for over a decade – has opened up about life following the revelations which sparked the seismic shifts of the #MeToo movement.
Speaking to US Vogue, Chapman told interviewer Jonathan Van Meter that after the first story about her then-husband broke she didn’t leave the house for five months.
The interview also features quotes from Chapman’s closest friends, including the musician and model Karen Elson and the actor David Oyelowo.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway – one backed up by these friends – is how little Georgina Chapman claims she knew about her husband’s behaviour. ‘I had what I thought was a very happy marriage’ she says.
After the first story broke Chapman didn’t leave the house in 5 months
‘I was so humiliated and so broken . . . that . . . I, I, I . . . didn’t think it was respectful to go out’ she said. ‘I thought, Who am I to be parading around with all of this going on? It’s still so very, very raw. I was walking up the stairs the other day and I stopped; it was like all the air had been punched out of my lungs.’
She initially thought it was a one-off incident
‘It was difficult because the first article was about a time long before I’d ever met him, so there was a minute where I couldn’t make an informed decision. And then the stories expanded and I realised that this wasn’t an isolated incident. And I knew that I needed to step away and take the kids out of here.’
Her old friend David Oyelowo was one of her biggest supports
‘I kind of found myself in a first-responder capacity,’ Oyelowo told Van Meter. ‘My wife and I were right there with her two kids, and this catastrophe was unfolding in real time across the globe, literally your worst nightmare in terms of a marriage, in terms of the future of your kids and your business. And none of this was your own doing and yet you are entirely lumped into it. The thing that was the most difficult to witness was that she quite rightly took the stance of not going out there and defending herself, because there was just too much white noise and too much bile headed in her general direction. She felt, how dare I raise my head and say, “Oh, by the way, I’m suffering too?”‘
Her marriage to Weinstein was ‘very happy’
‘That’s what makes this so incredibly painful: I had what I thought was a very happy marriage. I loved my life.’ Chapman says the fact that Weinstein travelled a lot meant she also didn’t track what he was up to all the time. ‘And I’ve never been one of those people who obsesses about where someone is.’
On what attracted her to Weinstein in the first place, Chapman said, ‘Well, he’s a wonderful father to my kids. But initially? He’s charismatic. He’s an incredibly bright, very learned man. And very charitable. He paid for a friend of mine’s mother, who had breast cancer, to go to a top doctor. He was amazing like that. He is amazing like that. That is the tough part of this . . . this black-and-white thing . . . life isn’t like that.’
She is still in touch with Weinstein
Though when asked about his state of mind, she said: ‘Clearly when I was married to him I didn’t know anything about his state of mind, so I’m probably not the best person to ask.’
She’s been seeing a therapist
‘At first I couldn’t, because I was too shocked. And I somehow felt that I didn’t deserve it. And then I realized: This has happened. I have to own it. I have to move forward. There was a part of me that was terribly naive—clearly, so naive. I have moments of rage, I have moments of confusion, I have moments of disbelief! And I have moments when I just cry for my children. What are their lives going to be? What are people going to say to them? It’s like, they love their dad. They love him. I just can’t bear it for them!’
Chapman declined offers by people to wear Marchesa on the red carpet after the story broke
‘All the women who have been hurt deserve dignity and respect, so I want to give it the time it deserves. It’s a time for mourning, really. A lot of people reached out and said, “Let me wear something,”‘ But Chapman put red carpet lending on pause over award season, until recently, when Scarlett Johansson picked a Marchesa dress to wear to the Met Gala.