Al Reynolds on life, bisexual identity and former marriage to Star Jones

Al Reynolds is so much more than the ex-husband of former ‘The View’ host Star Jones.

The Virginia native is an accomplished business professional, college professor, TV host and advocate for the LBGTQ-plus community. 

However, those other accolades and traits often get lost or mentioned secondarily to his highly-publicized and often criticized four-year union with Jones that ended in divorce in 2008.

Just recently, Reynolds found himself going viral about the marriage and his sexuality on FOX Soul’s "TEA-G-I-F," which he formally co-hosted. The show was recently canceled due to reports of behind-the-scenes incidents involving hosts. 

Comedian Luenell recently joined the broadcast and eventually asked him if he disclosed his sexual orientation to Jones before they tied the knot.  

In a wide-ranging interview on "Motivation With Marissa," Jones revealed how he felt in that moment, which he compared to being hit by a car.

"I have been talking about this on the show, so it was nothing new," Reynolds said. "So, to me, I felt like it was ill-intentioned. It was mean-spirited. It didn’t come from the space of trying to use our platform to help people understand. I thought it was a dig. It felt bad. It felt uncomfortable."

Reynolds came out publicly in 2017 about his bisexuality. But he told FOX 5's Marissa Mitchell he never hid that fact from Jones.

"I wanted to keep whatever that was private with who I was with. I didn’t want to have to share that with the world because there was a part of me that was ashamed," he said. 

But he’s no longer ashamed. Reynolds said it took decades to embrace himself authentically to the world. 

He grew up in rural Horsepasture, Virginia and is the youngest of six children. 

"That was really hard because I grew up in the South. My mother is a Southern Baptist and those are not things that you talk about," he explained. "Your sexuality is something that you leave behind that front door when you come home. That was a tough journey, but it was necessary."

Professionally, Reynolds succeeded in business and marketing and became a prominent business development professional and banker to some of the country’s most elite and famous clientele. But after his divorce, he had to start all over. 

In the 25-minute conversation with Marissa, he outlined the paths he took to get to this chapter in his life. He also addressed the time he had to take for himself following the on-air incident with Luenell.

"I needed to take a break and recalibrate myself and my spirit," Reynolds shared. "Taking the time is okay, and I did."

Aside from the show incident that went viral, Reynolds is celebrating another honor on his shelf. 

In June, he received the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award from President Biden. It was for his past work with the now-closed Hale House in New York City, which provided shelter for babies born to HIV-positive mothers. 

Reynolds is currently involved with several other philanthropic missions.

He’s a professor at Bowie State University in Maryland and has plans to write a children’s book on pursuing dreams.

"Now I am proud because I am not a mistake. I am not a bad person. I am a good person. I start, and I end with love," Reynolds said. "I try to give back as much as I can. And there can’t be anything wrong with that.  And I don’t care what the gender or sexuality is."

You can find this full episode of "Motivation With Marissa" on FOX Local. It streams this Saturday at 10 a.m.