Famed director Joss Whedon’s life behind the scenes was filled with infidelity and hypocrisy, his ex-wife charges in an explosive new essay.
Kai Cole — who separated from Whedon in 2012 after 16 years of marriage — accuses the 53-year-old “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” director of cheating on her and suggests he’s a hypocrite for “preaching feminist ideals” in a guest column she wrote for entertainment website The Wrap.
“There were times in our relationship that I was uncomfortable with the attention Joss paid other women,” Cole wrote early on in the post. “He always had a lot of female friends, but he told me it was because his mother raised him as a feminist, so he just liked women better. He said he admired and respected females, he didn’t lust after them. I believed him and trusted him. On the set of ‘Buffy,’ Joss decided to have his first secret affair.”
She went on to say that Whedon opened up about his unfaithful behavior in a written message that he gave her when he was “done” with their marriage — 15 years after that first act of infidelity — and told her he’d kept several affairs with “actresses, co-workers, fans and friends” secret from her over the course of the next decade and a half.
“Despite understanding, on some level, that what he was doing was wrong, he never conceded the hypocrisy of being out in the world preaching feminist ideals, while at the same time, taking away my right to make choices for my life and my body based on the truth,” Cole wrote. “He deceived me for 15 years, so he could have everything he wanted.”
Whedon has long been applauded for featuring themes of feminism in his works, thanks in large to strong female characters such as Buffy.
Whedon and Cole kept their 2012 separation a secret for years, but their split came to light earlier this year when Us Weekly reported they’d been broken up for half a decade.
Cole says her ex-husband’s adulterous behavior led to her being diagnosed with Complex PTSD, and that she’s worked hard to come to grips with everything that transpired during their marriage. She explains that she decided to write the essay because she wants people to know the truth.
“I want to let women know that he is not who he pretends to be. I want the people who worship him to know he is human, and the organizations giving him awards for his feminist work, to think twice in the future about honoring a man who does not practice what he preaches,” she wrote. “But no matter what happens, or how people interpret this statement, I no longer have to carry the burden of Joss’ long-term deceit and confessions. I am free.”
In response to the article published by The Wrap, a spokesperson for Whedon said: “While this account includes inaccuracies and misrepresentations which can be harmful to their family, Joss is not commenting, out of concern for his children and out of respect for his ex-wife.”
Whedon’s most popular works include creating TV series like “Angel” and “Firefly,” and directing films including “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”