Terry McMillan

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For the country musician, see Terry McMillan (musician). For the American politician, see Terry McMillan (politician).
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 65)
Port Huron, Michigan
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
Genre Fiction
Notable works Waiting to Exhale
How Stella Got Her Groove Back
Disappearing Acts

Terry McMillan (born October 18, 1951) is an American author. Her work is characterized by relatable female protagonists.

Early life[edit]

McMillan received a B.A. in journalism in 1977 from the University of California, Berkeley. She briefly attended the Master of Fine Arts program in film at Columbia University.[1]


McMillan's first book, Mama, was published in 1987.[2] Unsatisfied with her publisher's limited promotion of Mama, McMillian promoted her own debut novel by writing thousands of booksellers, particularly African-American bookstores, and the book soon sold out of its initial first hardcover printing of 5,000 copies.[3] She achieved national attention in 1992 with her third novel, Waiting to Exhale. The book remained on The New York Times bestseller list for many months and by 1995 it had sold over three million copies. The novel contributed to a shift in Black popular cultural consciousness and the visibility of a female Black middle-class identity in popular culture. McMillan was credited with having introduced the interior world of Black women professionals in their thirties who are successful, alone, available, and unhappy.[4] In 1995, the novel was adapted into a film directed by Forest Whitaker and starring Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon.

In 1998, another of McMillan's novels, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, was adapted into a film starring Angela Bassett and Taye Diggs. McMillan's novel Disappearing Acts was subsequently produced as a direct-to-cable feature, starring Wesley Snipes and Sanaa Lathan and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. In 2014, Lifetime brought McMillan's A Day Late and a Dollar Short to television audiences, starring Whoopi Goldberg and an ensemble cast featuring Ving Rhames, Tichina Arnold, Mekhi Phifer, Anika Noni Rose, and Kimberly Elise. McMillan also wrote The Interruption of Everything and Getting to Happy, the sequel to Waiting to Exhale.

Personal life[edit]

McMillan married Jonathan Plummer in 1998, the inspiration for her novel How Stella Got Her Groove Back. In December 2004, Plummer revealed to McMillan that he was gay. In March 2005, she filed for divorce.[5] 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.[6] 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."[7]

On July 13, 2012, she sold her 7,000-square home in Danville, California, for $1,858,500.[8]

McMillan has a son, Solomon, and lives in Los Angeles, California.



  1. ^ Williams, Andrea (September 17, 2013). "SO WHAT DO YOU DO, TERRY MCMILLAN, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR?". Mediabistro. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  2. ^ Mama, Houghton Mifflin, 1987.
  3. ^ Max;, Daniel (1992-08-09). "McMillan's Millions". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  4. ^ "It's Not Right But It's Okay". 
  5. ^ "ABC News: 'Stella' Inspiration Breaks Silence". ABC News. 2005. Retrieved May 14, 2008. 
  6. ^ Contra Costa Times (2007). "Terry McMillan Sues Ex-Husband Jonathan Plummer for $40 Million". Rod 2.0:Beta. Retrieved May 14, 2008. 
  7. ^ The Oprah Winfrey Show (September 28, 2010). "Terry McMillan on Geting to Happy". Oprah.com. 
  8. ^ Blockshopper, San Francisco.


  • 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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