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Mon, May

Ex-CNN Host Don Lemon Weds Boyfriend Of 5 Years In Star-Studded Ceremony

LGBTQ

LGBTQ WEDDING - Fifty-eight-year-old ex-CNN anchorman Don Lemon married his boyfriend of five years, 39-year-old realtor Tim Malone, in an April 6 ceremony featuring the couple’s dogs. The two men married in front of a star-studded crowd of 140 people at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in midtown Manhattan.

“We wanted to make a public statement,” Malone told Peoplemagazine, “and we wanted to involve our loved ones. We obviously could have easily gone to city hall. We could have used COVID as a perfect excuse to do something really quiet. But I think this is also a message. For I don’t know what percent of our guests, on both sides, but for a lot of them it’s going to be their first gay wedding.”

The ceremony was officiated by United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield. It also featured cultural aspects from both men’s ethnic backgrounds: Malone’s two sisters read an Irish wedding blessing, and, at the end of the ceremony, both men jumped over a broom — an old wedding custom practiced by Black slaves in the South during the 1800s. Lemon said he wanted to incorporate the custom to honor those who did it before them.

The wedding was attended by the men’s three dogs — Boomer, Barkley, and Gus — as well as a star-studded guest list that included The View co-hosts Joy Behar, Sara Haines, Ana Navarro-Cárdenas and Sunny Hostin; actor Alec Baldwin; former Today Show host Matt Lauer; and Sex and the City creator Darren Star. Baldwin is facing charges for a lethal accident on the set of his film Rust, and Lauer was fired for inappropriate workplace conduct in 2017.

After the ceremony, the guests formed a “second line,” a New Orleans tradition honoring Lemon’s upbringing in Baton Rouge. The wedding party marched behind the Gotham Kings band from the church to Ralph Lauren’s Polo Bar, the restaurant where the couple had their first date. 

The couple reportedly “hired the bottom floor” of the restaurant, which was created by straight fashion designer Ralph Lauren. Guests ate ribeye steak, dover sole, salmon, and cauliflower steak, and then danced to the music of DJ Tokyo Rose, The Guardian reported.

“I never thought that I would get married,” Lemon told People magazine. “I mean, maybe Tim’s generation, he’s 18 years younger than me. So for him maybe it was more of a possibility.”

“The legal part of it is a big deal because I didn’t think it could happen. And for so many years of my growing up and hiding things, I never thought it could happen legally,” Lemon continued. But when you consider all the rights that people are trying to take away, I wanted to make sure that we get this done right.”

Lemon first met Malone at a restaurant in the Hamptons in 2015. The two began dating in 2016 and announced their engagement in April 2019 Instagram post. Malone proposed to Lemon by presenting him with two dogs, Boomer and Barkley, in collars that read “Daddy Will You Marry Papa?”

“I just found the right person,” Lemon said in a 2021 interview on The Tamron Hall Show. “I decided, you know, I needed to lean into my life because I grew up never thinking that I’d be able to be open about who I was in love with and about my love life and my relationship.”

In the same interview, Lemon said that he and Malone were exploring adoption and surrogacy options.

(Daniel Villarreal is a longtime journalist, webmaster of DanielVillarrealWrites.com and an educator who has written for Queerty, The Seattle Stranger, Vox, Slate and many other publications. He is also the founder of QueerBomb Dallas, an annual non-corporate Pride event; CinéWilde, the nation's longest running monthly LGBTQ film series.)