It has been less than a week when the country was let in on a secret. Motel heir and car racing enthusiast Ian King, now Angelina Mead King, has come out as a trans woman--and his wife, international host and model Joey Mead, completely supports his decision.
From their friends and colleagues in the auto and fashion industries, the reactions show an overwhelming amount of love, support, and respect. The public has also been generally positive, much to the surpise of the couple who expected a backlash. After all, the relationship is challenging the Filipino's traditional views on marriage.
We think the response has been kinder, more accepting, and even big-hearted because many people can empathize. It isn't just about Ian transitioning into Angelina--it's about a marriage that just faced its most challenging test, and the relationship is not just surviving but thriving. Any couple in a serious relationship hopes for much the same thing.
No matter what you think of Angelina's gender identity or her relationship with Joey, their experience represents many truths of the work it entails to have a solid marriage. Here are some that we all know to be true.
1. Fight for love. The Kings' journey brings to mind a quote from author David Wong: "Remember, misery is comfortable. It's why so many people prefer it. Happines takes effort. Also, courage." It is so easy to just give up and stay in your comfort zone. But when you find yourself with a person whom you can tell anything, be your authentic self, and feel safe in his love, it isn't hard to imagine how you can probably overcome the worst hurdles and pain. "Tooth, nail, blood, sweat, and tears. I fought a lot. Fought myself… a lot, fought my husband, fought conventionality," Joey says in Angelina's tell-all interview with friend Tim Yap for The Philippine Star. 2. Be true to yourself and your partner. One cannot give what one doesn't have, so in order to share yourself with a partner, you need to be honest about who you are from the beginning. When Angelina's father got sick, it was then that she realized she couldn't continue living a double life. "I’m going nuts like two sides of me, two voices are fighting... There was confusion and now it’s just clarity," she says in the interview.
3. Supporting each other is key. Some married couples try to manipulate their spouses or trying to "fix" their partner flaws. Accept your partner for who he or she really is and not for what you want him or her to be. It is the first step to loving someone. Only then can you give your full support. Angelina says she and Joey had their struggles, but they never separated over it. "I broke her because she lost face where her knight in shining armor wanted to be a princess… That was the hard part for us," Angelina said.
4. Communication is crucial. How did Angelina and Joey stay together after everything that they've been through? It was essential that they talked about how they truly think, feel, and want. It sounds such a cliché, but effective and honest conversations are a big help. Angelina revealed, "We have been working through it. I have a counselor, she has a counselor, we talk to a lot of friends, family." It was through many heart-to-heart talks and painful arguments that they were able to pick up the pieces and figure out how to move forward together.
The Kings' relationship is a testament that if both of you work on the relationship and are on the same page, love really wins.