Charles Phillips was just humiliated in billboards across the country for two-timing a wife and eight-year girlfriend. His marriage is ending. But the Oracle co-president had a big merger to close today, so cue the horribly awkward humor.
Here's how Phillips handled his first public appearance since ex-girlfriend YaVaunie Wilkins aggressively publicized his duplicitous declarations of love and devotion, according to the Wall Street Journal's Digits blog:
"Hopefully you've had a slightly smoother week than I have," Phillips said to laughter and some applause.
Along with the laughter and applause there were surely many winces.
And also some barely-suppressed curiosity. Many questions linger about Phillips' overlapping relationships. Did Wilkins know the whole time that Phillips was married? What did he promise her? Did she meet and spend time with his son Chas, as Wilkins' internet photo album seemed to show? And if Chas knew, how did Phillips' wife Karen not know?
If Phillips and his wife began divorce proceedings last year, as Phillips has said, why was he praising her so effusively at a gala in December, which she attended, and why did the wife accompany him to a gala in November?
Amid all the confusion, we have seemingly solved one mystery: How the couple met. Multiple sources indicate that the two met when Phillips was an executive at Morgan Stanley, and Wilkins an intern.
And just who was Wilkins interning for at Morgan Stanley? We hear it was Mary Meeker, the famed Silicon Valley tech analyst and one of the most bullish inflaters of the 2000 dot-com tech bubble. Maybe that's where she picked up the optimism necessary to continue an affair with a married man for eight and a half years, hoping for the best.
UPDATE: For more, see former Valleywag Owen Thomas' coverage at NBC Bay Area, which adds the detail that Wilkins was at Morgan Stanley from 1999 to 2001, through the peak of the dot-com frenzy.