Perhaps you heard about the couple in this weekend’s New York Times Vows section — the ones who broke it off with their spouses, divorced despite five children between them, and married each other for love? The couple who, after doing all that, told their story, for some reason, to the New York Times, for publication/public airing in the Vows section?
Why would anyone do that?, you can’t help but wondering. It’s not even the breaking up of two marriages and splitting families and the poor little latch-key kids that might have ensued. Divorces are a dime a dozen these days. It’s the telling the New York Times part. Aren’t you just…asking for it?
Yes, sort of. The Times broke with their usual protocol and opened comments on the piece. There are 139 (they’re no longer being accepted). Among them,
Why does the Times glorify home-wrecking?
So you’re telling me, as long as I’m happy, who cares what happens to my legally wedded spouse and kids? This story reeks of selfishness.
My heart is breaking for these two families.
And, occasionally, a note in defense of the couple.
I commend this couple for handling this situation with honesty and openness.
(Our commenters, by the way, called them “two skanks,” among other things.)
Jeff Bercovici at Forbes got in touch with the couple, Carol Anne Riddel and John Partilla, to find out what they were thinking “in telling their story in a space normally reserved for feel-good, soft-focus meet-cute tales?” (And, also, why no interviews with the former spouses?)
According to Riddell, “We did this because we just wanted one honest account of how this happened for our sakes and for our kids’ sakes. We are really proud of our family and proud of the way we’ve handled this situation over the past year. There was nothing in the story we were ashamed of.”
Riddell also said that the backlash surprised her, but that some people had reached out to commend them on their bravery and honesty.
Meanwhile, Riddell did not know — and the Times would not comment on — whether the exes were reached for comment on the story. But if life were a movie, the two left behind would probably turn around, fall in love, get married, and have their own story in the Times within the year.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 21, 2010