Terry McMillan Sues Ex-Husband for $40 Million

Terry McMillan Sues Ex-Husband for $40 Million
Plummer and McMillan
Kathy Hutchins/Hutchins Photo

updated 03/22/2007 at 01:00 PM EDT

originally published 03/22/2007 01:30PM

Terry McMillan is suing her ex-husband for $40 million, claiming that he ruined her reputation during their 2005 divorce.

McMillan, 55, whose best-selling book How Stella Got Her Groove Back is about a May-December romance, divorced Jonathan Plummer, 32, after he disclosed that he was gay.

The author – who famously confronted her ex on Oprah in 2005 – claimed their marriage was "based on deceit" and accused the native Jamaican of marrying her for money and U.S. citizenship.

Besides Plummer, McMillan is also suing his lawyer, Dolores Sargent, for allegedly tarnishing her reputation, the Associated Press reports.

"The defendants conspired and formed a plan to threaten to humiliate and embarrass Terry McMillan and violate her privacy and place her in harm's way, and threatened to damage her professional and personal standing in an attempt to extort monies from her," the lawsuit says.

McMillan also alleges invasion of privacy and claims that Plummer violated a restraining order when he called her to speak to her son, according to the AP.

Their marriage apparently inspired Stella, a 1996 bestseller, about a 40-something woman who falls in love with a man half her age. When McMillan and Plummer first met in Negril, she was 43 and he was 20. The book was later turned into a movie starring Taye Diggs and Angela Bassett.

But after six years, their marriage fell apart.

"I have never felt such betrayal," the author told PEOPLE at the time. "I have never experienced that kind of pain, except for death. And what has happened is a death."

When she confronted Plummer on Oprah, she told him: "You didn't say anything about being gay. You said everything but that."

"I did expect her to be upset," Plummer said, adding that he only realized he was gay in the final two years of the marriage.

When reached by the AP, none of the parties would comment about the lawsuit.

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