So did Dina Matos McGreevey know that her estranged husband, former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, was gay? Does she know it now?

Even Oprah Winfrey couldn't get the former first lady to say during yesterday's TV appearance in which Matos McGreevey plugged her just-released book, Silent Partner: A Memoir of My Marriage.

"I'm not in denial, but I don't think he's simply gay. I think he's bisexual," said Matos McGreevey. "I mean, he was married twice. He has two children. And, you know, I never saw him checking out men, but I certainly saw him checking out women."

Of course, Winfrey asked her about sex with the governor.

"There was no red flag," said Matos McGreevey. "I had no complaints, and he never complained to me. I thought we had a normal relationship. There was absolutely nothing to indicate otherwise."

The ex-governor, who told the world "My truth is that I am a gay American" when he resigned in August 2004, has insisted in divorce papers that his wife knew before they were married that he was gay.

Matos McGreevey said she and the former governor had their communication issues - all his fault, according to her.

She answered Winfrey's questions with language that stuck mostly to the book. Winfrey probed for the story behind McGreevey's resignation news conference - and the smile wordlessly frozen on her face as she stood beside him.

Matos McGreevey said her husband instructed her to smile and "be like Jackie Kennedy." She said that she later sought advice from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on handling the embarrassment and that she does not believe McGreevey has ever really apologized to her.

Her husband kept secrets about his finances, never invited her to dinner at his parents' home, and would not introduce her to his daughter from a previous marriage, she said.

The book does not place all the blame on McGreevey. She writes that she could not decide when to tell her husband that she was pregnant. She began the discussion by handing him a greeting card marking their six-month wedding anniversary as he was trying to get to sleep.

After she finally told him, she said, he blurted out, "This isn't exactly great timing."

But he warmed to fatherhood. When their daughter was born prematurely, he left his 2001 gubernatorial campaign to be with her. Now, the two are battling over custody of their 5-year-old, Jacqueline.

She said McGreevey first told her he "thought" he was gay as he was about to be sued by former Statehouse aide Golan Cipel over alleged sexual harassment. His story, she said, unfolded over three days of what she called "cowardly installments."

She writes that it was not until she read a draft of his resignation speech with the "gay American" line that she knew her husband was saying he was gay.

The book and yesterday's Oprah appearance are now part of the McGreevey chapter in New Jersey history.

The book, penned with the help of an uncredited ghostwriter, includes an almost-stream-of-consciousness chapter titled "My Day of Infamy," in which she writes about the hours before McGreevey's resignation. She swerves into subjects that include gay marriage, abortion, Catholicism, and the fact that she knows seven gay people - she corrects herself, "Eight if I counted Jim."

In the hours after the resignation, she writes, McGreevey retreated into a side room of the governor's office and could be heard laughing with aides. That night at home, he fielded calls from Bill Clinton and John Kerry while she was still trying to understand what was happening.

"I felt saddened and angry," she said.

When he confessed he'd cheated on her, she said, he described his affair as "sexual, but not sexual."

Winfrey wanted to know more. Matos McGreevey was unresponsive.

Shortly after the resignation, Matos McGreevey said, she discovered pages from a manuscript in which McGreevey said he married her for political gain.

"I think it was all a charade for him," she said. "It was clear to me that he never loved me."

In hindsight, there was an early warning sign - his non-proposal proposal. First, McGreevey had a friend ask her if she'd marry him. A month later, at a restaurant in Montreal, he put a boxed engagement ring on her plate and asked, "Are you going to open it?" He pressed her with the implied question until she answered, "I guess, yes."

"He wasn't going to get on his knees," she writes in the book. "He never asked."

She still questions his apology.

After she complained to his friends that he hadn't apologized, he told her, "For the record, I apologize." She added: "And that was like a slap in the face. I mean, I rather would have had him not say anything."

McGreevey told his story on Oprah in September, when his book, The Confession, was published.

Matos McGreevey rolled her eyes as Winfrey read McGreevey's statement about yesterday's show.

"Congratulations," it said. "You're sitting on America's favorite couch. I wish you well in your journey."

Her reaction: "It's classic Jim McGreevey - another performance."

Contact staff writer Cynthia Burton at 856-779-3858 or cburton@phillynews.com.