Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and his wife of 33 years, Gail Gregg, are separating. In a statement, they said, “We have made the difficult decision to separate after 33 years of marriage. We are fortunate to have the love and support of our two children, other family members and close friends and colleagues. This is a private matter and we will not discuss it further.”
Back in February, Mr. Sulzberger had transferred ownership of the family’s 64th and Central Park West co-op to his wife for $3.2 million. When reached by phone by the Observer at their New Paltz home back then, Ms. Gregg wouldn’t comment on the deal, and when a Times spokeswoman was asked whether the couple was separating, she said the deal was done for estate-planning purposes and would not comment further.
In Alex Jones and Susan Tifft’s authoritative account of the family that owns the Times, The Trust, they detail the couple’s relationship. They began dating when Pinch was a senior at Tufts and was visiting his mother in Kansas for Thanksgiving 1973 at a house across the street from Ms. Gregg’s. They fell in love right away, and moved in together in January 1974. “She was forceful and self-assured–the very strengths he tried to cultivate in himself, though his way of expressing them tended to be cocky and confrontational.” Mr. Jones and Ms. Tifft wote.
She challenged him on everything from his political beliefs and his abrasvie demeanor. “Gail takes no shit from him…and she keeps him honest,” said Doug Adler, his cousin. Mr. Jones and Ms. Tifft wrote: “Their marriage was one of trust, friendship, respect, political sympathy teamwork. Unlike Punch, who never discussed business with Carol, Arthur Jr. valued Gail’s counsel and freely told other executives that he ran many decisions by her.”
But being married to the publisher of the Times had its challenges. As Pinch made his ascent to publisher, he cut off all his friends from the paper, and asked Gail to do the same. She also had dedicated her early career to journalism, and was freelancing in New York when Pinch asked her to quit the professional altoghter, fearful that any advancement in her career would be perceived something he had a role in. She told her friends she was becoming a painter and they “expressed amazement” that she was leaving the only career she ever knew.
Their relationship was also emotionally cool:
Gail’s toughness and unswerving belief in her own vision made her something of an authority figure to Arthur Jr. and reinforced his propsensity to be a loner. Like his father, he tended to retreat, hovering slightly out of reach. ‘I like Gail, but she’s not so mothering or nurturing,’ said Cynthia Sulzberger [Pinch’s half-sister]. ‘I’m sure they love each other, but to me they have a different kind of relationship.’