Last week, critical emails sent by popular romance novelist Nicholas Sparks made their way around the internet, many of which detailed Sparks opposing the formation of an LGBTQ club at Epiphany School, the private Christian academy he founded in North Carolina. (Other emails also showed Sparks declaring that the lack of school diversity wasn’t his fault.) Now, in a lengthy statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Sparks is insisting the emails were taken out of context and that he “unreservedly supports” the LGBTQ community.
“I am an unequivocal supporter of gay marriage, gay adoption, and equal employment rights and would never want to discourage any young person or adult from embracing who they are,” he wrote. “It’s never been my intent to be unresponsive to the needs of the LGBTQ or any minority community. In fact the opposite is true, and I trust my actions moving forward will confirm that.”
The reason for the emails’ unclear syntax, Sparks said in the statement, is because he’s been “embroiled in a rapidly escalating conflict” with the school’s headmaster since 2013, and the emails were sent hastily and under stressful circumstances. (Sparks and the headmaster are currently locked in a legal battle.) “Ironically, as a writer I should have understood the power and enduring nature of my words, but like many people sent emails off in haste under stressful and tumultuous conditions,” he added. “My greatest regret, however, is not my lack of deliberation, but first and foremost that I failed to be more unequivocal about my support for the students in question.” Sparks also apologized to his “friends and colleagues” in the LGBTQ community.