Joss Whedon‘s ex-wife, Kai Cole, has called the Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator and Avengers director a “hypocrite preaching feminist ideals” who engaged in a series of infidelities throughout their marriage.
In a scathing guest blog post for The Wrap detailing her side of their 16-year marriage, Cole spoke against her ex’s reputation as a writer of strong female characters.
A spokesperson for Whedon told PEOPLE in response, “While this account includes inaccuracies and misrepresentations which can be harmful to their family, Joss is not commenting, out of concern for his children and out of respect for his ex-wife.”
Cole and the writer — who would go on to work on The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods and Firefly — met in 1991 and married four years later. Cole said she was a constant source of stability and advice throughout Whedon’s career, even convincing him to turn Buffy the Vampire Slayer into a TV show rather than a movie.
However, it was on the set of the hit show that he had his first affair, she alleged.
“There were times in our relationship that I was uncomfortable with the attention Joss paid other women,” Cole wrote.
“He always had a lot of female friends, but he told me it was because his mother raised him as a feminist, so he just liked women better. He said he admired and respected females, he didn’t lust after them. I believed him and trusted him.”
Whedon and Cole, who have two children together, divorced in 2016 after being separated for four years.
Over the years, the writer and director “hid multiple affairs and a number of inappropriate emotional ones that he had with his actresses, co-workers, fans, and friends,” all while staying married to Cole and claiming that he loved only her.
“He wanted it all; he didn’t want to choose, so he accepted the duality as a part of his life,” she said.
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Cole went on to say that Whedon came clean about his unfaithfulness in a written message that he gave her when he was “done” with their marriage.
“Despite understanding, on some level, that what he was doing was wrong, he never conceded the hypocrisy of being out in the world preaching feminist ideals, while at the same time, taking away my right to make choices for my life and my body based on the truth,” Cole said.
“He deceived me for 15 years, so he could have everything he wanted. I believed, everyone believed, that he was one of the good guys, committed to fighting for women’s rights, committed to our marriage, and to the women he worked with.
“But I now see how he used his relationship with me as a shield, both during and after our marriage, so no one would question his relationships with other women or scrutinize his writing as anything other than feminist.”
The popular fan site Whedonesque shut down the same day Cole’s story was published on The Wrap. They offered no specific explanation but asked fans to donate to an organization that deals with the treatment of Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), which Cole wrote she was diagnosed with in the essay.