Gay Mormon Dad Talks About Coming Out, Co-parenting

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday June 22, 2022

The Frews, left, with Steven Stoddard, right
The Frews, left, with Steven Stoddard, right  (Source:Instagram)

From suicidal thoughts to a podcast about co-parenting in a blended family, Steven Stoddard has shown that even the deepest, darkest closet can be vanquished with the support of a loving family.

In a Pride month-themed interview with Good Morning America, Stoddard, a gay Mormon dad, and his former wife, Jessica Frew, discussed how Stoddard struggled with his faith and sexuality before eventually coming out and freeing them both to live a happier new life. They appeared on the show to explain their "mission to help others who may be confronting the same issues they've lived through," GMA reported.

"Their 'Husband in Law' podcast, co-hosted with Frew's husband, Matt Frew, highlights their personal experiences and showcases how they've teamed up to make co-parenting a success in their blended family," the GMA article added.

Stoddard admitted during the June 21 segment that he "didn't want to be gay and it took me a long time to admit to myself and to her that, yes, I'm gay." It wasn't until the couple had been married for two years and had a daughter, Penny, together that Stoddard finally came out.

Frew was understanding. As she related in the interview, "It felt like Steve exploring and figuring out who he was." As part of her supportive response, Frew "made a very clear point in my head to not let it become a thing of betrayal. I knew it wasn't about me."

Frew went on to add: "I've always had an innate gift to just kind of love myself and embrace who I was created to be. And I feel like when you do that, you're able to help other people do that along the way, too, and recognize that the things they're going through have nothing to do with you personally."

Even so, GMA noted, Stoddard was left to contend with the damage that growing up in an anti-LGBTQ+ religion had done. He described having suicidal thoughts.

"There was a time where I was convinced that Penny would be better off with no dad than with a gay dad," Stoddard said, adding that he "really struggled with just seeing the value in me being able to live a natural life that I had been taught was so wrong and that was worse than death itself."

But Stoddard prevailed over his early life situation and now is happily partnered with a boyfriend. Stoddard, Frew, and her new husband, Matt, have found their way to a co-parenting arrangement that works for everyone, and serves as a model for other blended families, UK newspaper the Daily Mail noted.

Matt Frew, the Mail noted, "admitted that having his wife's ex around all of the time was an adjustment at first, but he wouldn't have it any other way."

"Now, it's like, 'Where's Steve? When's Steve coming?'" Matt told GMA. The couple even "spend holidays with Stoddard and his boyfriend," the Daily Mail said.

Meanwhile, the Frews are both "still active members of the Mormon church, and she is raising Penny in the same faith," the Mail said, adding that, for Jessica Frew, "it's a part of their service to others to show how their blended family works."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.