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Father Disappears, Is Declared Dead, Emerges 16 Years Later As A Gay Man - VIDEO

Myers and Family

When Eric Myers, a "deeply religious father of five", disappeared back in 1991, authorities, friends, and family were all baffled. He was eventually pronounced dead, leaving his family "devastated and emotionally traumatized". Imagine how shocked they must have been when Myers returned to them 16 years later. Perhaps even more shocking was the fact that he had spent most of his time living with a man and identifying as openly gay.

Myers and PartnerMyers, a devout Christian real estate agent from just outside Phoenix, Arizona, had travelled to San Diego for a seminar before going missing and never returning. When asked why, he told ABC News, "I just wanted it all to end. I wanted everything to end." He confided that he knew of his sexuality at six years old, and therefore felt trapped by both his upbringing and his subsequent reputation as a God-fearing family man. Thus, when he was robbed during the last day of his seminar, he saw an opportunity and headed south toward Mexico. 

"He says the details of his trip are hazy but he remembers crossing the border in Tijuana and buying a bus ticket to Cabo San Lucas. Cabo, with its warm sandy beaches, provided a total escape from a life which he says held a secret that would shake his religious roots to their core."

Myers would eventually make his way to Palm Springs four months later, where he met a Canadian tourist, Sean Lung, and fell in love. The two would end up spending a majority of the subsequent 16 years together. However, in 2007, Myers, content with his new life and wishing to "make peace", decided to return to Arizona. His welcome was far from warm. 

Eric MyersDuring his absence, his family had finally decided to declare him legally dead in 1996. This allowed them to cash in an $800,000 life insurance policy, money that was placed in trusts for his two daughters. Myers' return prompted a legal battle with Liberty Life Insurance, which claimed that the family now owed that money back, plus interest. Liberty initially won the case, which is currently being appealed. The homecoming also elicited strong emotions in Myers' former wife and children. His youngest daughter, now a parent as well, told ABC News "I know how much I love my children, and if he loved me even half as much as I loved them, there would be no situation where he would ever think that it was okay to leave me."

Myers ultimately divorced the wife he left behind, and is no longer in contact with any of his children. He has managed to reconnect with most of his siblings, according to ABC. He and his new partner have also moved in with his parents to help care for his now-ailing father.

As was noted by HuffPost Gay Voices:

"Myers' life story has received mixed reviews in the media, with many questioning his motivations and asking whether it's ever acceptable to abandon one's children."

Nevertheless, he maintains that he does not regret his return, even if it has been met with hostility from former loved-ones. "To live in a disguise is a horrible prison," he said, referencing both his time in the closet and the time he spent in hiding. Unfortunately, his daughter doesn't see his secret homosexuality as a valid reason for disappearing.

"I know a lot of people who would never do this … absolutely never blame it on their homosexuality. I don't believe that he is capable of love."

Watch the extended video and hear the whole story, via Hulu, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

 

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Comments

  1. 1. The (presumably adopted) Asian children in the photo are probably a bit freaked out my their father's Asian boyfriend.

    2. At a minimum he, not his abandoned family, needs to pay the insurance company back.

    Posted by: Brian1 | Jul 26, 2013 1:40:59 PM


  2. He did what millions of men must have fantasized about doing. He was trapped and had whatever it took to try to break free. But it isn't quite so simple, is it? He had the life he wanted for 16 years but evidently was never able to be at peace with it.

    My partner (who is Asian) has two children. When he moved out of their home after 9 years of marriage, the decision was hellish for him. But he stayed nearby, maintained his relationship with his kids and took care of his wife as well as he was able to do, though he often wanted to die. I was NOT in the picture at that time, but knew him at the time he was first married. After his first kid was born he cut me out of his life forever. He called me again a year and a half after leaving his wife, and now we're together. Processing this has been very, very hard for him. But he and his kids adore one another and he continues to support his wife in every way he can. Institutionalized homophobia creates all kinds of hell in people's lives that no one asks for or deserves.

    Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC | Jul 26, 2013 1:42:05 PM


  3. What a tangled web we weave...

    I suspect he hated his life and everyone in it. The daughter is right to be angry.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 26, 2013 1:42:35 PM


  4. This guy is just plain selfish. To leave your children like that is terrible. There are no excuses and no justifications to be made for abandoning your family.

    Lesson to be learned: coming out is hard, but suck it up and be a father first, the rest will figure itself out.

    Posted by: topherhoefer | Jul 26, 2013 1:46:09 PM


  5. Even if he had to leave his family the way he did, I would think that after he settled into his new open life, he could have, at a bare minimum, written a letter to his wife, ask for a divorce, and let everyone move on. No awkward meetings or enything. Everyone would have been better off.

    Posted by: wwolffus | Jul 26, 2013 1:47:42 PM


  6. I don't care how trapped or miserable he was - there is NO EXCUSE for abandoning one's children. NONE!!!!

    I have absolutely no sympathy for this man. As far as I'm concerned, he ought to be locked up and put in prison for severe child abuse, and he should pay his former spouse and kids child support payments plus interest, plus their legal fees and the life insurance fees, for every year he was missing -- plus interest.

    This story absolutely disgusts me.

    Jesus. He could have just asked for a divorce. But, no, he abandons his children instead. Pathetic.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jul 26, 2013 1:52:59 PM


  7. "many questioning his motivations and asking whether it's ever acceptable to abandon one's children..."

    Of course it's never acceptable to abandon one's children! I'm not condoning what Mr. Myers did but sometimes people make the wrong choices in life. When I came out to my parents, they disowned me. I didn't have any contact with them for more than 20 years. They, like Myers, eventually came to regret their decision. It took a while but eventually I forgave them. Hopefully Myers' family will come to forgive him one day as well.

    Posted by: Gigi | Jul 26, 2013 1:55:18 PM


  8. Mary, he was SO ghey in that picture. And he replaced his adopted Asian sons with an Asian boy toy of his own.

    Posted by: Tessie Tura | Jul 26, 2013 1:55:47 PM


  9. As most people forced to live a life in the closet for years, I can sympathize for that pain he endured. Yet what he did by putting his family through that is just monstrous and inexcusable. He definitely should have to pay that life insurance money back by himself and I don't blame the daughter for being upset. This guy is extremely selfish and a ver bad father for abandoning his kids like that. Then there's the poor ex-wife... Ugh. I very much dislike this whole thing and am ticked off at him just reading about it!

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Jul 26, 2013 1:57:44 PM


  10. I am sorry, you don't abandon your children. Period. I don't care why, I don't care what you are gong through, I don't care if you feel trapped, you don't abandon your children and allow them think you are dead.
    This is a despicable human being, gay or straight.

    Posted by: Chris | Jul 26, 2013 1:58:28 PM


  11. Wow. What is wrong with this person? It would have been so much easier to divorce his wife over the phone, then move to Florida. He didn't even have to explain why he was divorcing her.
    Instead he had his whole family worried sick about him. His wife is in debt because she has to pay back all this money to the insurance company.
    He is a lowlife. He should go to jail for this.

    Posted by: Andy | Jul 26, 2013 2:00:44 PM


  12. What does "deeply religious" and "Christian" blah blah have to do with it?
    It is there to make the reader dislike his family?

    Lets say he was atheist. He was atheist then and atheist now and his entire family was. He still abandoned them. Piece of crap.

    Posted by: MIke | Jul 26, 2013 2:03:25 PM


  13. Oy. This story is tragic in almost every way...to imagine the pain that that man must have been in, to walk away and "disappear" rather than committing suicde...but then to re-emerge and turn his family's life upside down...

    I don't see any "good" side to this story--just heartbreak all around. It does seem to be a good example of the tyranny of living in the closet, however, and the psychological ramifications thereof. (He may be one of the few who pulled this disappearing act, but I'll be there are thousands if not millions of unhappy men and women trapped in "charade" marriages who escape into drink or other self-destructive behaviors to deal with their pain and their hollow, fake lives.)

    Posted by: Dback | Jul 26, 2013 2:05:43 PM


  14. The sick part is that the gay community somehow excuses these jerks (Bob Bauman anyone?) and then allows them to move freely amongst us. There should not be a civil word to such a person, and decent people should not receive him.

    Posted by: Hagatha | Jul 26, 2013 2:10:33 PM


  15. He's a sociopath. That "I did something terrible but no one's really 100% terrible" quote is text book. I feel so sorry for his daughter, her haunted face broke my heart.I hope she finds a measure of healing.

    Posted by: sundayboy | Jul 26, 2013 2:11:10 PM


  16. Why was money placed into trust for just for his daughters and not his sons?

    BTW, the guy is a jerk. He should have just divorced his wife and given his family peace of mind.

    Posted by: Marshall | Jul 26, 2013 2:14:01 PM


  17. I will never understand the personal hell he lived in as a closeted married man with a family. But he only made things worse. Running away from his wife and children is despicable. The family he abandoned is right to be angry at the pain he inflicted on them.

    But let's not lose sight of the important thing here: it is only because of systematic and institutional homophobia that he was ever in that closet in the first place. And yet this is the kind of world Right-wingers would like us to return to. Secrets, lies, deception, betrayal and pain.

    Posted by: Lars | Jul 26, 2013 2:17:21 PM


  18. I keep seeing this pop up on the news, but this whole return happened almost 5 years ago. Why is it newsworthy now?

    Posted by: JY | Jul 26, 2013 2:20:41 PM


  19. @Mike the 'deeply religious' description is absolutely germane. It gives context to his internalized homophobia, and how he could end up so deeply in the closet.

    Posted by: Lars | Jul 26, 2013 2:21:11 PM


  20. End "the closet." Tear off the doors, rip off the roof, let in the light.

    Live your truth.

    Posted by: Ben | Jul 26, 2013 2:27:50 PM


  21. What does "deeply religious" and "Christian" blah blah have to do with it?
    It is there to make the reader dislike his family?

    Lets say he was atheist. He was atheist then and atheist now and his entire family was. He still abandoned them. Piece of crap.

    Posted by: MIke | Jul 26, 2013 2:03:25 PM

    @MIke,
    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if he had come from an atheist family, he wouldn't have felt forced to hide his true sexual orientation. He could have been himself.

    It's because of closed minded conservative "Christians" that men hide their true natures, and attempt to conform to what they believe they have to be... to be a "good man, a good father, and a good Christian".

    That isn't an excuse for this man. He should have the proverbial book thrown at him. The insurance company should go after him for fraud... That being said, you kind of have to at least understand (not excuse or condone) the motivation.

    Posted by: theother lee | Jul 26, 2013 2:30:03 PM


  22. Thank you, Lars and Ben. Right on.

    Posted by: Dback | Jul 26, 2013 2:31:33 PM


  23. I have little empathy for this guy and watched an interview he gave not long ago. In that interview he came off as a selfish egotistical "I don't give a **** about anybody but me..." He is a big discredit to the gay community and now playing on this "Whoa is me... I was secretly gay and didn't know what I was doing..." attitude.

    How is partner could stay with him is beyond me. You could never trust a single word the guy says.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Jul 26, 2013 2:31:49 PM


  24. Selfish and egotistical is putting it mildly.

    He could have divorced his wife and kept in contact with his children as he constructed a new life for himself as a gay man. But he didn't. His abandonment of his family is hateful and repellent and there's no excuse for it whatsoever.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jul 26, 2013 2:46:34 PM


  25. What I was struck by were the "little" anti-gay pieces of the story. Did anyone notice how they used Madonna's vogue to characterize the early 90's. How were the nude pictures his partner took of him relevant? And scenes from the pride parade? ABC should really, really be ashamed. The story is sensational enough with that.

    Posted by: BMF | Jul 26, 2013 2:46:46 PM


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