Where Is Jeff Gillooly Now? Tonya Harding's Ex-Husband Was Involved With 'I, Tonya'
Since the release of the movie I, Tonya, which focuses on the 1994 attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan by a man linked to rival skater Tonya Harding, questions surrounding the plot's main characters have become relevant once again. One of those questions has to do with Harding's ex-husband: Where is Jeff Gillooly? He and Harding have since divorced, but the real Gillooly met with the actor who portrays him in the movie, Sebastian Stan.
Here's how Stan remembers the encounter with Gillooly, according to an interview with Entertainment Weekly, "He picked the restaurant, so we went there, we sat down, and the first thing he said to me was, ‘So… why would anyone want to do this?’ Like, ‘why would you want to do this? Why would you want to be in this movie?'"
Stan's recollection of the meeting continues, “I was like, ‘Oh! Well, uhh, you know, the script was really great, and it’s such a wild story,’ and then I remember him saying something like, ‘Yeah, but no one’s ever gonna want to see this. No one’s ever gonna pay attention.'”
Stan also told Entertainment Weekly that Gillooly had much more benign feelings to share with Stan at a later date. “I think he saw a picture of me as him with the mustache, and he wrote to me and he said something like, ‘Well, nice mustache! You might bring that into fashion, something I never could have done,'” Stan said.
The mustache is, in fact, what helped Stan sell Gillooly's '90s look, as side-by-side images of the actor and his real life counterpart show.
Where Is He Now?
In an interview with Deadspin, published a few months before the 2014 Winter Olympic games, it was revealed that the real Gillooly doesn't go by his former name at all. Instead, Harding's ex-husband changed his name to Jeff Stone, and he lives around Portland, Oregon. He decided to change his name after he was released from prison in March 1995. Prior to that point, Gillooly had been sentenced in 1994 to two years in prison, as The New York Times details. He was among five defendants who were charged with conspiring to injure Kerrigan, who was struck in the leg by a police baton, months before the 1994 Winter Olympics. Ultimately, Gillooly served just a fraction of his sentence.
The Deadspin report also contained a number of details about Stone-née-Gillooly that paint the picture of a continuously dramatic life. He has been married three times, sued over 12 times, and now lives with two children from his second marriage, whose mother killed herself at a rehab clinic, according to Deadspin. In an interview for the report, Gillooly answers a question he said he gets asked a lot:
The most common question I'm ever asked, if it comes up, 'Do you regret what you did?' I guess that's kind of a yes-and-a-no question. Yes, it was pretty darn stupid. It was pretty ridiculous. But in the same instance, I'm a big believer in how you lay out your life and how each step you take, each opportunity you use — whether for good or for bad — kind of leads you down the road. I'm real happy with my life, I'm real happy with the way it's turned out. I've got two beautiful kids with my ex-wife and I've got a lot of good friends. What's there to regret? Not much.
Besides conspiring to injure Kerrigan, who would ultimately go on to win a silver medal at the 1994 games, Gillooly's scrutiny under the spotlight ultimately led to allegations of abuse and rape. More specifically, Harding claimed that both her ex-husband and two others raped her and demanded she not turn against him as Kerrigan's injury was being investigated. The accusation was made in a book, The Tonya Tapes, by Lynda D. Prouse. Stone told Deadspin that he "laughed about" that accusation, and added, "obviously her accusations didn't carry much weight with any type of authority."
Years later, Stone would eventually meet with Stan as he prepared to portray Jeff Gillooly in I, Tanya. In an interview with ScreenCrush.com, Stan said he picked up a few things from his meeting with Stone, like "mannerisms, the way he laughed, the way he said things. The fact that I really walked away believing that he really loved her."