I first thank you for the kindness you have shown these last two months. We are in a moment with no handbook and without…
Jen’s post reads:
I first thank you for the kindness you have shown these last two months. We are in a moment with no handbook and without a single clue how to navigate this privately, much less publicly. I don’t know how to hide grief, so I haven’t, and I am grateful for your absolute decency these last few weeks. I don’t know how to say this, and I still cannot believe I am even saying it, but Brandon and I are getting divorced. Although the details are ours alone, this was completely unexpected, and I remain stunned as we speak. I am shocked, grief-stricken, and broken-hearted.
Although this community is impossibly dear, beloved to me, in case you are an interloper who revels in the pain of another, I beg you to spare us your cruelty. We have suffered so greatly. (Hateful comments that harm our family will be deleted.) The kids and I are getting away to retreat for awhile, and I ask for your kindness…and for some room to breathe. Please respect the privacy of our children and our extended family. Our loss is not for public devouring. We are real people managing this in our real life in real time, and we are doing the absolute best we know how to do.
If you pray, pray for us. Hold us so dear to your hearts. We have felt your prayers these last few weeks. We have experienced your mercy. Thank you for being good to us. Know that we are deeply surrounded by love and have not been alone a single second in two months. Please help protect us and keep us safe as we try to heal and rebuild.
Brandon and Jen Hatmaker became very popular when they hosted the HGTV show, “My Big Family Renovation” that documented the Hatmaker family renovating their 1908 farm house. You could say it was “Fixer Upper” before there was “Fixer Upper.”
The Hatmakers have known each other since college. On her site, Jen writes, “I’ve been married to Brandon since 1993 when we were two college kids playing at adulting, and we have five kids which is a very large, very real number. Brandon and I founded Legacy Collective in 2015, a giving community that funds sustainable initiatives all around the world.”
Jen Hatmaker Has Championed Causes
Two of their children are adopted and Jen appeared on TODAY early this year speaking out against racial inequality. She said her Ethiopian daughter asked her why “white people thought they were better than black people,” and it caused Jen to break down and start speaking out.
Jen has published dozens of books, including Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity, Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight out of This Wild and Glorious Life, and her newest book Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You.
In April of 2016, Jen said on social media that she had “opened her arms” to the LGBTQ community: “Here are my arms open wide. So wide that every last one of you can jump inside. … There is nothing ‘wrong with you,’ or in any case, nothing more right or wrong than any of us, which is to say we are all hopelessly screwed up but Jesus still loves us beyond all reason and lives to make us all new, restored, whole. Yay for Jesus! Many are concerned that sentiments like these might be enabling someone to stay in their sin—which would not, in fact, be very loving to the person in the long run.”
Later that year in October of 2016, she revealed that her views on same-sex marriage had changed and that she believed that a same-sex union could be “holy.” After announcing her support for same-sex marriage, LifeWay pulled her books from their shelves, and many responded questioning her newfound belief that same-sex marriages were holy (in God’s eyes). Former lesbian Rosaria Butterfield responded to Jen in a blog post and said that although Jen’s words are meant to be encouraging, “If I were still in the thick of the battle over the indwelling sin of lesbian desire, Jen’s words would have put a millstone around my neck.”
Prayers for the Hatmaker Family
Jen’s followers knew that there was trouble at home for the Hatmakers. On July 31, 2020, Jen posted a Facebook post requesting that her followers please pray for her and her family. While some called her post cryptic and speculated her marriage was in some kind of trouble, she reassured them not to worry, but to please pray. She asked in the message,
Don’t pry or ask or push, even out of sincere concern. Please don’t blow up our phones and inboxes and DMs (or our friends’). Just hold us close to your heart in great love. As I reengage our online community here, I’ll be whatever I am that day, so thanks for the space to be a human person. I’ve always known you were a soft place to land. Thank you for loving us in all things, at all times, through all moments.
Sadly, the Hatmakers’ marriage is ending in divorce. And the call is to continue to pray for them. As Jen wrote in her Facebook response to her marriage ending, the one thing a Christian can do: “If you pray, pray for us. Hold us so dear to your hearts.”
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Jen and Brandon Hatmaker were married for 27, not 26, years.