December 10, 1996: A model gay marriage goes bad – former Mr. Universe Bob Paris and former Playgirl model Rod Jackson – Brief Article
During the 1990s, Bob Paris, a former Mr. Universe and Mr. America, and former Playgirl model Rod Jackson promoted themselves as iconographic models for same-sex marriage–and both gay and mainstream media enthusiastically supported them. When their breakup came, it happened first privately, and then, perhaps inevitably, through a press release. In the December 10, 1996, issue of The Advocate, a then-36-year-old Paris gave his first post-breakup interview to reporter Alan Frutkin. “Especially among gay males–a community that often worships the body beautiful–Paris and Jackson were not just men. They were gods. And their love was forever,” Frutkin wrote. “Strong, handsome, and committed, the two seemed to satisfy the growing hunger for an attractive image of gay love in the age of AIDS. For a public increasingly bombarded with images of the gaunt and frail, Jackson and Paris were a godsend. Their status as the ideal male couple was one that was reinforced by some of the world’s top image makers–from Herb Ritts to David LaChapelle–who photographed the couple for everything from commercial advertisements to coffee-table books.”
In the end, Paris told The Advocate, the lack of “balance” between the couple’s public and private lives took its toll, and the two men stopped communicating effectively. “Without it, some perspective begins to be lost, and before you know it, it becomes too late,” Paris said.
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