Will, the 41-year-old former anchorwoman of Germany’s most popular
evening news show Tagesthemen, and current host of her own top-rated
political talk show Anne Will, officially came out at an event at the
Jewish Museum in Berlin this weekend by publicly acknowledging her five-year
relationship with Professor Miriam Meckel, 40.
"Yes we are a couple," she told reporters before posing under the
museum’s slogan, "Tolerance and Understanding", "but we would
like to keep our private life private."
The relationship between Will, a top political TV journalist in Germany who
has become a national celebrity, and Meckel, a well-known media expert, has
been widely speculated about in the media for some time, in part because the
women have made little effort to hide their relationship. They attended the
Federal Press Ball — Germany’s most important social event — together
in 2002, and dined with the Queen of the United Kingdom in 2004.
But they have always declined to publicly confirm or comment on their relationship,
Will rose to fame in the ’90s as the host of various talk and sports shows,
and was a television announcer for the 2000 Summer Olympics. She co-hosted Tagesthemen
with Tom Buhrow from April 2001 to June 2007, reporting on national and political
news and interviewing politicians like U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
an English transcript here).
Will left the nightly news show to host her own political
talk show on September 16th of this year, taking over for the previous host,
Meckel is currently Professor for Corporate Communication and Director of the
Institute for Media and Communication Management at the University of St. Gallen
in Switzerland. She was a journalist before becoming the youngest university
professor in Germany in 1999.
Will and Meckel’s revelation has made national
headlines in Germany in the last day, with newspapers touting the women
as one of the nation’s power couples.
In the wake of the announcement, Will’s employer issued a public
statement supporting Will, maintaining they were only concerned with her
talent as a journalist, which has been "firmly established" by her
In 2001, Germany instituted a form of civil unions, and then in 2004, granted
gay and lesbian partners adoption rights. According to a December
2006 poll, over 52% of the nation supports granting same-sex couples full
marriage rights, although the nation has yet to do so.
There are a handful of out high-profile gay men in Germany, including the mayor
of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, who came out in 2001 prior to the mayoral elections,
and Hamburg’s mayor, Ole von Beust.
But Will and Meckel are among only a very few high-profile openly gay or bisexual women in Germany, especially in politics.