Back in 1995, Los Angeles prosecutor Marcia Clark had a full docket of cases. Professionally, she was leading the prosecution against O.J. Simpson and personally, she was fighting for custody of her two sons during her divorce. But who is Marcia Clark's ex-husband, Gordon Clark, and what exactly happened with the custody battle? According to the Orlando Sentinel, Gordon Clark was a computer programmer in 1995, but People reported in 1996 that he had previously served as an employee of the Church of Scientology. In fact, Gordon and Marcia Clark got married because the church required them to in order for him to keep his job while being in a relationship with her, according to The Guardian's profile of Marcia.
As viewers have been reminded on FX's American Crime Story, Marcia was going through her divorce while working on the Simpson trial alongside prosecutor Christopher Darden. According to The Washington Post, the Clarks got married in their 20s — Marcia was 27 and Gordon was 22 — and they seemed compatible and mature about it all. "He was definitely still in college and she was working and I think that made him uncomfortable," Marcia's friend Roslyn Dauber told the newspaper in 1995. "He wanted to get out of school and make money. He didn't seem babyish. I think compared to her first husband he was more mature as a person."
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Marcia filed for divorce from Gordon on June 9, 1994, merely days before she would be assigned to the Simpson case. Her key role on this huge, high-profile case required long hours, while Gordon said he would be home by 6 p.m. every night and used that as his main reason in seeking sole custody of their two sons, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel. According to court paperwork obtained by the LA Times, Gordon claimed that Marcia only spent up to an hour a week with their sons, while at the time, he cared for the children on two weekday evenings and on alternate weekends. Marcia's attorney released a statement to the newspaper on her behalf that said, "I am devoted to my two children, who are far and away more important to me than anything. I feel it is inappropriate of me to discuss details of my marital dissolution case or child custody issues in the media."
The LA Times quoted Gordon's Supreme Court declaration about custody, in which he said, "I have personal knowledge that on most nights she does not arrive home until 10 p.m. and even when she is home, she is working ... I was always there for our children and assumed at least equal responsibility for their care ... While I commend (Marcia Clark's) brilliance, her legal ability and her tremendous competence as an attorney, I do not want our children to continue to suffer because she is never home, and never has any time to spend with them."
All of this public discussion of Marcia's role as a working mother has been reflected in her storyline on American Crime Story. Sarah Paulson's portrayal has shown her as a hardworking woman often subjected to sexist criticism, resulting in Marcia being lauded as a "feminist hero." Luckily, in real life things were eventually settled between Marcia and her ex-husband.
Though Gordon hasn't been in the public eye since the Simpson trial, in 1996 People reported that he and Marcia were working to "hammer out a settlement" for custody, while Marcia was on a six-month leave from work. The Guardian profile also said that after the Simpson trial, Marcia "moved to the suburbs with her boys, and forged a happy, ordinary life," so it seems that she was able to put the drama of both her professional and personal lives behind her.
Images: FX, Ray Mickshaw/FX