Nearly a year ago, the Washington Post reported the impending divorce of David Brooks and his wife of 27 years, Sarah. But the couple never filed any divorce papers, or moved out of the District of Columbia. And, interestingly enough, they just bought a $1.9 million home in D.C.’s Cleveland Park neighborhood.
The real estate website UrbanTurf reported in mid-September that the 53-year-old New York Times columnist and his wife had quietly sold their Cleveland Park house, where they’ve lived since 2012, for $4.5 million.
In an item noting the sale, the Post referred to the Brookses’ missing paper trail in regards to their relationship: “Currently there are no records of the Brooks divorce on file in D.C. court, and David Brooks did not return a call for comment.”
Not included in the Post’s report was the fact that, three weeks prior, David and Sarah Brooks had jointly purchased a new home in the same neighborhood, on Macomb Street NW.
In a related deed dated August 7, the Brookses are listed as “DAVID B. BROOKS AND SARAH BROOKS, HUSBAND AND WIFE.” Another two deeds of trust, both dated August 15, describe the couple as “SARAH BROOKS AND DAVID B. BROOKS, WIFE AND HUSBAND.”
The most recent filing under both of their names, an October 24 deed of release related to their former residence, refers to the couple as “tenants by the entirety,” an ownership arrangement available to married couples in certain jurisdictions. All of these documents are stamped by a public notary, and clearly indicate that the Brookses intend to occupy the property as joint tenants.
|The master bedroom suite · Via Washington Fine Properties|
The first deed filed on August 15 does contain at least one sign of marital discord, however. In that document, which spells out the terms of their new mortgage, Sarah Brooks lists her current address as her family’s residence, on Ordway Street NW. David Brooks, on the other hand, lists his current address as an apartment building on Wisconsin Avenue NW, just two blocks south of his old house.
Public records indicate the columnist has been renting a two-bedroom apartment at that address since July 2013, and his D.C. voter registration lists the apartment as his physical address. (A receptionist at the apartment building said she was unable to confirm or deny or whether Brooks still lived there.)
So it seems as though the Brookses were dealing with a rough patch in their marriage, to the point that the couple had physically separated. But it’s unclear whether they ever planned to legally separate. And it’s possible that the purchase of this new house is not indicative of a newfound flame in David and Sarah’s relationship, but just a humdrum real estate transaction, a couple downsizing on property as their children grow older and leave the family nest.
But there has been one public sign—well, a very strong hint—that the Brookses managed to repair their marriage, or are in the process of doing so. On June 23, Brooks published a Times column about a two-year-old blog post titled “15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 Years.” The post “appealed tremendously,” Brooks wrote, in part because it addressed “a subject that obviously I have a lot to learn about.” Two months later, the columnist and his wife closed on their new home.