Jack Horner is a famed paleontologist with an impressive resumé including former Montana University System Regents Professor of Paleontology and advisor to Steven Spielberg on the Jurassic Park movies.
However, Horner was let go from Montana’s Museum of the Rockies after spending 34 years as head curator.
According to the 70-year-old, the major problem during his employment was his marriage to then 19-year-old undergraduate student Vanessa Weaver in 2012.
“I retired. Let’s put it this way: Had that situation not existed, I would probably still be there. I would have spent at least a couple more years there,” Horner said to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
“It would have been nice to do some more work on dinosaur eggs. It would have been nice to continue my field work a little longer. They were trying to get rid of me and that’s what they did; they told me I couldn’t do anything,” Horner added.
Weaver, who had a boyfriend at the time of their romance, was never Horner’s student. The pair’s relationship began in 2011 and they chose to tie the knot nine months after the university demanded Horner to repeatedly disclose the nature of his relationship with Weaver.
“And then they could check on it and they could decide on it. They could come say anything they want, so we got married so we could do anything,” he said. “And through the whole thing she had a boyfriend. There wasn’t like something nefarious going on. I adore her. She’s adorable, obviously we really like each other.”
Horner and Weaver are divorced now, but remain friends.
To this day, Horner points the finger at museum director Shelley McKamey and her husband Pat Leiggi, director of paleontology and exhibits at the museum. “If you piss off one of them they’re both pissed off at you,” Horner shared, calling them a “vindictive” couple. “There’s nothing fair about the way the place operates.”
Adding, “I had raised hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars for my projects and it’s just sitting there. Who knows what they’ll spend it on?”