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Mormon father, 40, opens up about coming out to his wife after years of struggling with being gay

A father who grew up in the Mormon Church and learned that being gay was “worse than death itself” has come out candidly to his wife after years of struggling with his sexuality.

Steve Stoddard, 40, and his ex, Jessica Frew, 38, of Boise, Idaho, shared their story in a heartwarming interview that aired on Good morning America Tuesday in honor of Prize Month.

The former couple, who share a daughter, Penny, had been married for about two years when he told her he was gay.

“I didn’t want to be gay and it took me a long time to admit to myself and her that, yes, I am gay,” he explained as he began to embrace his sexuality.

Steve Stoddard, 40, of Boise, Idaho, opened up to his ex-wife Jessica Frew, 38, about coming out as gay during an interview with Good Morning America that aired Tuesday

Steve Stoddard, 40, of Boise, Idaho, opened up to his ex-wife Jessica Frew, 38, about coming out as gay during an interview with Good Morning America that aired Tuesday

Stoddard and Frew both grew up members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which opposes same-sex relationships and marriages

Stoddard and Frew both grew up members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which opposes same-sex relationships and marriages

The former couple share a daughter, Penny, and he recalls thinking she would be 'better off without a dad than with a gay dad'

The former couple share a daughter, Penny, and he recalls thinking she would be ‘better off without a dad than with a gay dad’

Stoddard and Jessica Frew both grew up members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which opposes same-sex relationships and marriages.

“There was a time when I was convinced that Penny would be better off without a father than with a gay father,” he recalls.

“And I really went through a dark phase for a few years where I was suicidal and really struggled to see the value in me to be able to live a natural life that I had been taught was so wrong and that was worse than death itself.’

Frew realized early on that Stoddard’s sexuality had nothing to do with her, and she focused on supporting him rather than being upset about his coming out.

Frew (pictured with her husband, Matt Frew) realized early on that Stoddard's sexuality had nothing to do with her, and she focused on supporting him rather than being angry

Frew (pictured with her husband, Matt Frew) realized early on that Stoddard’s sexuality had nothing to do with her, and she focused on supporting him rather than being angry

Stoddard said there was a time when he was suicidal because he was taught that being gay is 'worse than death itself'

Stoddard said there was a time when he was suicidal because he was taught that being gay is ‘worse than death itself’

Stoddard and Frew eventually divorced, but they've always remained friends

Stoddard and Frew eventually divorced, but they’ve always remained friends

Matt admitted it was an adjustment at first to have his wife's ex always around, but he wouldn't want it any other way.

Matt admitted it was an adjustment at first to have his wife’s ex always around, but he wouldn’t want it any other way.

“It felt like Steve was exploring and finding out who he was,” she told GMA. “And I’ve made a very clear point in my head not to let it become a betrayal. I knew it wasn’t about me.’

Stoddard and Frew eventually divorced, but they remained friends.

“I’ve always had an innate gift to just kind of love myself and embrace who I was made to be,” she said.

“And I feel like when you do that, you’re able to help other people do the same, recognizing that the things they’re going through have nothing to do with you personally.”

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“Now it’s like, ‘Where’s Steve? When is Steve coming?'” Matt explained

Frew and her husband are now on vacation with Stoddard and his boyfriend

Frew and her husband are now on vacation with Stoddard and his boyfriend

The Frews are also still active members of the Mormon Church, and she raises Penny in the same faith

The Frews are also still active members of the Mormon Church, and she raises Penny in the same faith

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“It just seems normal,” Penny told GMA of her blended family

Frew, who has since remarried, spends vacations with Stoddard and his friend while continuing to co-parent their daughter.

Hair husband, Matt Frew, admitted it was an adjustment at first to have his wife’s ex around all the time, but he wouldn’t want it any other way.

“Now it’s like, ‘Where’s Steve? When is Steve coming?’ he explained.

Frew and her husband are still active members of the Mormon Church and she is raising Penny in the same faith. She believes it is part of their service to others to show how their blended family works.

And while Stoddard’s main concern about coming out was his daughter Penny, his fears were unfounded.

“It just seems normal,” she told GMA.

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