Bubba Copeland, a pastor and mayor of Smiths Station, Alabama, died by suicide days after a news site published photos of him wearing women’s makeup and clothes. “Thank you all for your prayers and expressions of sympathy and support. First and foremost, we ask that you keep Pastor Bubba Copeland’s family in your prayers today, and in the days ahead,” First Baptist Church of Phenix City posted on Facebook

Bubba Copeland and his wife, Angela Simpson, were married on November 10, 2018

Angela Simpson and Bubba Copeland got engaged on April 15, 2018. The couple tied the knot on November 10, 2018, per Angela’s Facebook page. Angela, a Hatchechubbee, Alabama, native, is a teacher at Smiths Station Junior High School. Bubba leaves behind his wife and three kids: Carter, Abbykate, and Ally Catherine. 

According to 1819 News, the website that exposed Bubba’s secret identity, the pastor said only Angela knew of his online persona and activities. Bubba told the outlet that he played dress-up to relieve anxiety. He added:

“Just my wife knows about it. It’s a hobby I do to relieve stress. I have a lot of stress, and I am not medically transitioning. It’s just a bit of a character I’m playing… I don’t go out and seek solicitation or anything like that. It’s something that I don’t intermingle with the other. It’s private.”

Dan DaMan wrote an impassioned Facebook message admonishing people who judged Bubba following the leak. He described the impact of Bubba’s suicide on his family: “Across the room is his wife, who had hopes of getting away next week to celebrate their anniversary in a few days. His young daughters are asking ‘Why?’ as tears pour down their fragile innocent faces. I have no words, just hugs and shared tears. His son, completely lost without a dad.”