In an explosive open letter published on The Wrap, Joss Whedon's ex-wife, Kai Cole, discusses the troubles the couple faced during their 16 years of marriage. Cole writes that Whedon used their relationship as a "shield" so that others wouldn't "scrutinize his writing as anything other than feminist."
"There is misinformation out there, and I feel the best way to clear up the situation is to tell my truth," Cole writes. "I don't think it is fair to me or other women to remain silent any longer."
Cole explains that she is normally a "very private person" but that she is tired of the "misinformation" surrounding their relationship. She writes that the couple met in 1991, and she moved to Los Angeles to be with Whedon.
Cole also writes that it was her idea for Whedon to make Buffy the Vampire Slayer a TV show. She writes that "it was painful to see how his vision was interpreted by the production team" for the Buffy movie script Whedon wrote, even though he didn't want to go back to TV at the time.
According to Cole, the Buffy TV set also led her ex-husband to "his first secret affair." She also writes that it was the first of multiple infidelities within their marriage. Cole alleges that Whedon outlined the affairs in a letter he wrote to her "15 years later, when he was done with our marriage."
"He wrote me, 'When I was running Buffy, I was surrounded by beautiful, needy, aggressive young women. It felt like I had a disease, like something from a Greek myth. Suddenly I am a powerful producer and the world is laid out at my feet, and I can't touch it,'" Cole writes. "But he did touch it."
Cole also writes that Whedon's actions and the alleged letter show his "hypocrisy" during their marriage.
"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," she writes in The Wrap. "He deceived me for 15 years, so he could have everything he wanted. I believed, everyone believed, that he was one of the good guys, committed to fighting for women's rights, committed to our marriage, and to the women he worked with. But I now see how he used his relationship with me as a shield, both during and after our marriage, so no one would question his relationships with other women or scrutinize his writing as anything other than feminist."
Cole ends the essay by revealing that she was "diagnosed with complex PTSD" and is working to "make sense of everything that happened."
"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," she ends the open letter.
A rep for Whedon declined to comment to The Wrap, saying that "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."