TRENTON - Former New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey claims in divorce papers filed yesterday that his wife knew he was gay before they married.

"Although it is clear that the Defendant [Dina Matos McGreevey] knew of my sexual orientation before our marriage, she chose to either ignore it or block it out of her mind, even when questioned by her friends," McGreevey wrote, according to Live from the Ledger, the Web site for the Star-Ledger of Newark.

McGreevey resigned as governor in 2004 after admitting he was gay and had had an extramarital affair. He later said the affair was with Golan Cipel, whom McGreevey had made a homeland-security adviser, though Cipel denies having had an affair with McGreevey.

McGreevey doesn't detail how Dina Matos McGreevey knew he was gay, but calls his wife a "bitter vengeful woman" and objects to his wife's contention in recent court papers that he is bisexual.

"On the offhand chance she wasn't paying attention, I AM A GAY AMERICAN," McGreevey wrote, using capital letters and referencing the term he used to describe himself when he announced his resignation in August 2004.

Last week Matos McGreevey claimed in court papers that the ex-governor exposed their young daughter to erotic artwork at the Plainfield home he now shares with partner Mark O'Donnell, an Australian money manager.

Matos McGreevey, who is seeking primary residential custody of the child, said the incident indicates that her estranged husband is a poor judge of what a 5-year-old should see.

Matos McGreevey's memoir, "Silent Partner," is scheduled to reach bookstores on May 1. The book is Matos McGreevey's response to McGreevey's autobiography, "The Confession," which was published last September. *