Terry McMillan

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For the country musician, see Terry McMillan (musician).
Terry McMillan
Terry McMillan at the 2008 Brooklyn Book Festival.jpg
Terry McMillan at the 2008 Brooklyn Book Festival.
Born (1951-10-18) October 18, 1951 (age 63)
Port Huron, Michigan
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
Genre female
Notable works Waiting to Exhale
How Stella Got Her Groove Back

Terry McMillan (born October 18, 1951,[1] in Port Huron, Michigan) is an American author. Her work is characterized by relatable female protagonists.

McMillan's first book, Mama, was published in 1987.[citation needed] She achieved national attention in 1992 with her third novel, Waiting to Exhale, which remained on The New York Times bestseller list for many months. In 1995, Forest Whitaker turned it into a film starring Whitney Houston. In 1998, another of McMillan's novels, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, was made into a movie. McMillan's novel Disappearing Acts was subsequently produced as a direct-to-cable feature, starring Wesley Snipes and Sanaa Lathan. She also wrote A Day Late and a Dollar Short, The Interruption of Everything, and Getting to Happy, the sequel to Waiting to Exhale.

Early life and education[edit]

McMillan received a B.A. in journalism in 1977 from the University of California, Berkeley. She dropped out of the Master's of Fine Arts Program (film) at Columbia University.[2]

Personal life[edit]

McMillan married Jamaican Jonathan Plummer in 1998; she was in her late 40s and he in his early 20s. He was the inspiration for the love interest of the main character in her novel How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Her life did not follow the movie when, in December 2004, Plummer told McMillan that he was gay; in March 2005, she filed for divorce.[3] The divorce was settled for an undisclosed amount. In March 2007, McMillan sued Plummer and his lawyer for $40 million, citing an intentional strategy to embarrass and humiliate her during the divorce proceedings;[4] McMillan eventually won a judgment of intentional infliction of emotional distress, but had withdrawn the suit before the case went to trial; Plummer was never ordered to pay the intended amount. On September 27, 2010, the two sat together with talk show host Oprah Winfrey to discuss their post-divorce relationship and partial reconciliation; both acknowledged that he fulfilled the role of boyfriend and husband before his coming-out, although McMillan stated that "he's not my BFF".[5]

McMillan has a son, Solomon, and lives outside San Francisco, California. On July 13, 2012, she sold her 7,000-square home in Danville, California, for $1,858,500.00.[6]


On November 4, 2013, McMillan took to Twitter to call Florida senator Marco Rubio an Uncle Tom, and remarked that Texas senator Ted Cruz "acts more like Hitler."[7]


  • Breaking Ice: An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Fiction. Penguin Books. Oct 1990. ISBN 978-0140116977. (Editor)
  • How Stella Got Her Groove Back. NAL Trade. Jan 2004. ISBN 0451209141. 
  • It's OK if You're Clueless: and 23 More Tips for the College Bound. Viking Adult. March 2006. ISBN 978-1419397332. 

Waiting to Exhale[edit]

The 1992 publication of Waiting to Exhale sold over three million copies by 1995, the time of its film adaptation. The novel contributed to a shift in Black popular cultural consciousness and the visibility of a female Black middle-class identity in popular culture.[citation needed] McMillan introduced the interior world of Black women professionals in their thirties who are successful, alone, available, and unhappy.[8] The novel embraced a rhetoric of Black women openly venting about men and embracing a desire to be taken care of. The novel’s themes are resonated in a number of successful R&B projects, such as TLC’s "No Scrubs" and Destiny’s Child’s "Bills, Bills, Bills".[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Terry McMillan (I) – Biography". IMDb. Retrieved May 14, 2008. 
  2. ^ Williams, Andrea (September 17, 2013). "SO WHAT DO YOU DO, TERRY MCMILLAN, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR?". Mediabistro. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  3. ^ "ABC News: 'Stella' Inspiration Breaks Silence". ABC News. 2005. Retrieved May 14, 2008. 
  4. ^ Contra Costa Times (2007). "Terry McMillan Sues Ex-Husband Jonathan Plummer for $40 Million". Rod 2.0:Beta. Retrieved May 14, 2008. 
  5. ^ The Oprah Winfrey Show (September 28, 2010). "Terry McMillan on Geting to Happy". Oprah.com. 
  6. ^ Blockshopper, San Francisco.
  7. ^ "‘Waiting To Exhale’ Author: Ted Cruz ‘Acts More Like Hitler’", Houston, November 5, 2013.
  8. ^ ""It's Not Right But It's Okay"". 


  • Nishikawa, Kinohi. "Romance Novel." Hans Ostrom and J. David Macey Jr. (eds), The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005. pp. 1411–15.

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