There’s a fair bit to unpack in this one, so it may be best to fix yourself a stiff drink before proceeding. Amanda Palmer, the extremely persistent performer, has apparently split from her well-known author husband Neil Gaiman, and has taken the – let’s be honest here – rather unusual step of announcing the split on social media and on Patreon for paid subscribers before she got around to telling Gaiman himself.
The entire very murky scenario plays out thusly: Palmer is currently in New Zealand with the couple’s 4 1/2-year-old son, where they are in lockdown riding out the coronavirus pandemic. Palmer had based herself there alone prior to the pandemic lockdowns coming into place, and Gaiman is said to have then travelled to NZ with their kid in order to be with Palmer during the lockdown.
At some point throughout this whole strict quarantine situation, Gaiman up and left New Zealand – almost inarguably the safest place in the world as far as the pandemic is concerned – and flew halfway back around the world to the UK – almost inarguably the opposite – without Palmer or their kid.
An indeterminate amount of time later, Palmer revealed the situation on social media, first by posting about it on Twitter:
to everyone sending me messages of support, rage & condolences – thank you. i’ve got the kid full time in lockdown & wish i could spend time answering.
neil moved to the UK, my heart has been broken, and i am really struggling.
your love & support means a lot to me. thank you.
— Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) May 4, 2020
Then by elaborating on that in a lengthy post on her Patreon. Albeit one that sat outside the platform’s usual subscriber paywall.
“Since people are getting confused and asking and my phone and inbox is blowing up with “Where’s Neil?” a few times a minute…. I can only gather that he’s finally told the internet that he’s left New Zealand,” Palmer wrote. “I’m still in lockdown here in New Zealand with 4-yr-old Ash for the foreseeable future. ?All I can say is that I’m heartbroken, I really am profoundly struggling and I need to call my community to me like never before.?”
Palmer’s post continued: “So you all know: this did not happen because of COVID or lockdown, though the timing is comically bad; other things came to light after we got here to New Zealand. In fairness to all, and to keep little Ash (who will not always be little) protected, the details aren’t for the public. I wish I could answer everyone’s well-wishes… and just know… I’m receiving them. If you’re one of my friends or family who has reached out and I haven’t been able to answer, I am so so sorry. Just understand.”
But here’s where the plot thickens severely: Following that post, Gaiman issued a reply of sorts on Twitter, inferring very heavily that not only had he not “told the internet that he’s left New Zealand,” but that his understanding of events didn’t quite line with Palmer’s.
I see @amandapalmer has told people that we (like much of the world) are going through rocky times right now. It is true, we are. It’s really hard, and I’d like to request privacy (as I’m not going to be talking about it publicly) and kindness, for us and for Ash.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) May 4, 2020
For whatever it’s worth, a day before this all blew up, Palmer – already a very successful artist in her own right – lamented the monthly loss of Patreon supporters due to, of all things, expired credit cards.
every month, all patreon creators lose a percentage of their patrons because credit cards are declined for one reason or another.
i usually lose a few hundred people.
this month ESPECIALLY, please make sure your account is up to date. we need you.
— Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) May 1, 2020
Read into all of this what you will.
One thing’s for sure: It’s a big mess.
Getty Images / John Lamparski