Even with all the context in the world, there could never be a good explanation for Married to Medicine‘s Dr. Jackie Walters stating, in front of a room of people, that her cast mate Buffie Purcelle is “infertile.”
That is what occurred in a preview for Sunday’s episode of the series, where Walters hosts a book cover reveal party for her upcoming work, The Queen V: Everything You Need to Know About Sex, Intimacy, and Down There Health Care. During a speech, where the 61-year-old OBGYN talked about her life journey, she spoke on having breast cancer, going through chemo and radiation and finding out when the cancer was gone that she wouldn’t be able to have children. It’s a story Walters has been open about over the years. But out of nowhere, she chose to point out that Purselle, and Purselle alone, could relate.
“Fourteen years ago I got breast cancer. Six months of chemo and eight weeks of radiation to find out, the thing we grow up most of us wanting to do, you can’t do. And Buffie, you can relate. You’re infertile.”
While Walters would try and turn around her message to be inspirational and say, “I encourage every woman in here to take your pain and make it your purpose,” things got incredibly awkward after that. Purselle ended up fighting back tears in front of everyone.
“I had really surface level discussions with Jackie about my challenges with fertility,” she said in her confessional. “Nothing real deep, so I just don’t understand why she thinks that it’s okay for her to tell my business to a group of strangers.”
The rest of the cast, including family members of the stars, discussed how inappropriate the moment was. And to make things more uncomfortable, because that information was shared in front of people, her co-stars tried to offer advice for how she could go about having children — at this event. Quad Webb encouraged her to think about a surrogate, and Purselle was forced to address an extremely private thing in front of all the ladies.
To make it plain, it was a disgusting thing to watch. Purselle took to Instagram on Tuesday to let people know that the moment was incredibly “painful,” and to clarify that she doesn’t believe she’s infertile.
“This was one of the most humiliating and painful moments in my life. I am proud that I was able to rise above my pain and embarrassment and conduct myself as the lady that my Mother and Grandmother raised me to be,” she wrote as the caption to a clip of the scene. “When you first meet someone and they see that you are happily married they ask the inevitable question ‘do you have kids?’ I always answer no. No – period. Then SOME people ask ‘why NOT’ as if my husband and I have done something wrong. I am then forced to explain my many failed attempts at motherhood. This is the level of discussion that Dr. Walters and I had regarding my CHALLENGES with fertility.”
“To call another woman infertile is cruel. That word doesn’t begin to describe the type of person that I am,” she continued. “The clinical definition is that you are unable to GET pregnant. Well, I can and have gotten pregnant many times. I was just unable to carry my babies to full term. Additionally, it means that you bear no fruit. Well, I like to think that I have been a productive member of society and that my mark will be left through philanthropy. I believe that Dr. Walters said this with malicious intent because she could have said many other things about me if she truly wanted to relate to me. We are both successful businesswomen, we are both extremely organized, we both do a lot of charity work, the list goes on and on but she settled on this. And to date, she has NEVER offered me a sincere apology. I don’t want an apology from her anyway because she doesn’t think that she did anything wrong. A mouse has more emotional intelligence. For all of the people saying this is some sort of editing trick – sadly it’s not, it happened, and being forced to relive it on television and social media hasn’t been fun.”
“Thank you to everyone for the positive words of encouragement,” she added. “The kindness of strangers will never cease to amaze me. I’m fine. I’m tougher than I seem and this too shall pass.”
Purselle, who is married to psychiatrist David C Purselle, also thanked cast members Dr. Simone Whitmore, Mariah Huq and Toya Bush-Harris, whom she called her “REAL friends” on the cast.
After checking through her social media, thus far, Walters hasn’t issued an apology or addressed the incident. As an OBGYN who knows how sensitive a conversation centering around a woman’s fertility can be, we hope she will explain herself. She might have the strength and the desire to be open about her own infertility because she believes it can help others, but to out someone else’s situation, and to do it in such a public, point-the-finger way, is as Purselle put it, “cruel” indeed.
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