Fox motormouth Bill O’Reilly is a devout Catholic and a fairly generous contributor to the Church (at least $65,000 in 2011 alone). His views regarding marriage couldn’t be more public. O’Reilly has blustered on TV that the institution of holy matrimony will be harmed, and families destabilized, if gay people gain the same rights as straight people. He equates same-sex relationships with beastiality and frequently mocks European countries where marriage equality is seen as perfectly normal, claiming falsely that in the Netherlands, “You’re allowed to marry a duck.”
But the talkshow host’s own marriage, to the equally hardcore Catholic Maureen McPhilmy (photo), has been on the skids for at least a couple of years. Now, courtesy of Gawker, there’s confirmation that the two got a divorce — a no-no according to the Pope — and that O’Reilly subjected their kids to a nasty custody dispute.
The first public evidence of strains on the marriage came in 2003, when Falafel-gate broke out. Andrea Mackris, a member of O’Reilly’s production staff at Fox, claimed that her boss had subjected her to a sustained barrage of sexual innuendo. She said he frequently referred to threesomes and the size of his manhood; talked of vibrators he wanted her to buy; invited her to phone sex with him (she declined); and initiated business calls during which he appeared to be masturbating. According to Mackris’ 23-page complaint, O’Reilly also informed her that he’d love to take her on a Caribbean vacation, where he would massage her “spectacular boobs,” and do exciting things involving a “falafel” and her “pussy.”
O’Reilly and his lawyers decided to pay off Mackris — that is, they persuaded her to take a settlement, reportedly in excess of two million dollars — a move that allowed the Fox celebrity to deny any wrongdoing.
Presumably, through it all, O’Reilly’s wife (who in 2003 was pregnant with the couple’s youngest child) was not amused.
When she and O’Reilly finally split up for good, they worked out a shared-custody arrangement for Spencer, then about 8, and Madeline, then about 13. A family therapist, they agreed, would “act as a neutral mediator to help them resolve any parenting disputes.” Gawker now reveals that O’Reilly immediately set to rigging the deal: Unbeknownst to McPhilmy, he offered the therapist they picked, Lynne Kulakowski, a six-figure salary to work long hours in his home, with his kids — and incredibly, Kulakowski accepted. Naturally, this made a mockery of the therapist’s so-called “neutral” status.
O’Reilly now has his icy heart set on erasing his entire marriage — not just from his memory, but from the Catholic books, Gawker says:
He is … seeking an annulment of his 15-year marriage, which produced two children. Null and void. Invalid in the eyes of God. Never happened. This despite his manifest belief in the “stability” that straight marriage brings.
The Catholic Church can choose to nullify if an ecclesiastical tribunal determines that the sacrament of marriage was invalidly contracted, which would make the marriage retroactively invalid from its very first day. The standards for such a decision are strict and relatively precise, however. To a layman like me, O’Reilly doesn’t seem to qualify.
Then again, there’s no telling what another sizable donation may do to induce a little extra flexibility in Catholic church authorities.
If the annulment comes through, there’s every chance that O’Reilly will see it as further proof of God’s existence. Marriage comes, marriage goes; you can’t explain that.
[image via The Hollywood Gossip]