New York — Harvey Weinstein's estranged wife, Georgina Chapman, has given her first interview since scandal erupted around her husband, saying that she never knew about his alleged sexual misconduct, and breaking down in sobs when speaking about their two small children.
In an interview in Vogue's June issue, posted online Thursday, Chapman says she had "what I thought was a very happy marriage. I loved my life." Asked if she had suspicions about her husband's behaviour, she says: "Absolutely not. Never."
"There was a part of me that was terribly naive — clearly, so naive," she says at another point. "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?" Her interviewer writes that Chapman breaks down in tears at this point. "It's like, they love their dad. They love him. I just can't bear it for them!"
The interview comes seven months after Chapman announced she was divorcing Weinstein, who has been accused by dozens of women of sexual abuse, including assault and rape. After issuing that statement, she has remained out of public view. Her fashion line, Marchesa, which she co-founded with Keren Craig, cancelled its show for February's New York Fashion Week, and Marchesa gowns were nowhere to be seen at awards shows like the Golden Globes and the Oscars.
But this week, it appeared that Marchesa was inching toward a comeback. On Monday, actress Scarlett Johansson became the first star to wear the label again — on the highly visible Met Gala red carpet, no less, in a deep red gown with flower appliques.
On Wednesday, Vogue's powerful editor in chief Anna Wintour, who runs the gala and is the most influential arbiter of American fashion, made a point of mentioning Chapman on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, praising Johansson's move and calling Chapman a "brilliant designer" who should not be punished for her husband's behaviour.
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Then the Vogue profile appeared Thursday morning, together with a lengthy editor's note by Wintour.
"I am firmly convinced that Georgina had no idea about her husband's behaviour," Wintour wrote. "Blaming her for any of it, as too many have in our gladiatorial digital age, is wrong. I believe that one should not hold a person responsible for the actions of his or her partner. What Georgina should be receiving is our compassion and understanding."
'HUMILIATED AND BROKEN'
In the interview, Chapman describes staying out of public view for five months. "I was so humiliated and so broken," she says, "that ... I didn't think it was respectful to go out. 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 says she has been seeing a therapist. "At first I couldn't, because I was too shocked," she says. "And I somehow felt that I didn't deserve it. And then I realised: This has happened. I have to own it. I have to move forward."
Chapman also says the designers themselves made the decision not to offer any clothes for awards season. "We didn't feel it was appropriate given the situation," she says. "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."
Weinstein has apologised for causing pain with his behaviour, but has denied all accusations of non-consensual sex.