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Tabitha King Says She’s More Than Just Her Husband’s ‘Ball-And-Chain’


4 March 2019 at 4:37 pm
Luke Michael
She may be a philanthropist and much-published author, but when Tabitha King jointly donated more than a million dollars to a Boston genealogical group with her husband Stephen, she was dismissed in media coverage as simply the wife of a famous man. So she set the record straight.


Luke Michael | 4 March 2019 at 4:37 pm


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Tabitha King Says She’s More Than Just Her Husband’s ‘Ball-And-Chain’
4 March 2019 at 4:37 pm

She may be a philanthropist and much-published author, but when Tabitha King jointly donated more than a million dollars to a Boston genealogical group with her husband Stephen, she was dismissed in media coverage as simply the wife of a famous man. So she set the record straight.

The Kings took to social media last Friday “rightly pissed” by an Associated Press story that falsely said the grant came from only Stephen and did not name Tabitha in the headline.

On Stephen’s Facebook page, he said the $1.25 million gift was originally his wife’s idea, and included Tabitha’s sarcastic response.

My wife is rightly pissed by headlines like this: “Stephen King and his wife donate $1.25M to New England Historic…

Posted by Stephen King on Thursday, 28 February 2019

“In recent media coverage of a gift that my husband (ironic usage) and I made to the New England Historical and Genealogical Society, we became Stephen King and his wife,” the post said.

“Wife is a relationship or status. It is not an identity. You could have made other choices. You could have referred to me as [of] Stephen. Or His Old Lady. Or His-Ball-And-Chain.

“In the meantime, you might consider the unconscious condescension in your style book, and give women their names.”

The report – picked up by prominent media organisations including The Washington Post and The New York Times – has since been corrected with the headline “Stephen and Tabitha King give $1.25M to genealogical society”.

The Kings’ donation was made through the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, which was founded by the couple in 1986.

The gift will be used by the New England Historical and Genealogical Society to expand its Back Bay headquarters in Boston and to fund the creation of a unique curriculum in family history for public school students.

While Stephen is one of the world’s best-selling authors, known for pop culture-defining titles such as Carrie, The Shining and It, Tabitha is also an accomplished novelist.

She has published eight novels and two non-fiction works and received the Constance Carlson Prize for her literacy work in 1998.

This isn’t the first time women have been ignored in a headline in favour of their male partner.

Last year, actress Gabrielle Union – who has appeared in films such as 10 Things I Hate About You and Bring It On – called out a headline that referred to her as “Dwyane Wade’s wife” after she and her husband donated $200,000 to anti-gun violence campaign March For Our Lives.

“When they let you know what they think of you. I have a name,” Union said in tweet that went viral.


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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