I am completely flummoxed. For many years- while I would never ever condone murder- I could totally appreciate the motive behind murderer Betty Broderick. Betty had been married to Dan Broderick for 20 years. During their entire marriage, she had worked her ass off for them both to get to the point where they could sit back and enjoy their success. She had worked and financially supported him and his dreams while he went through medical school and then Harvard Law School. During this time, she also was the primary caregiver of their four children with little to no help from him. Of course she is pissed when they finally make it big, and he leaves her and marries a younger version of herself.
Everyone began calling her crazy after she shot and killed Dan and his new wife. Husbands began referring to their ex-wives as another Betty. The name Betty developed serious negative connotations during that time. So one has to wonder, does society expect a woman to work hard for everything while supporting her husband, just to nonchalantly give it all up when he gets bored and decides he wants someone younger? If she gets pissed, is her anger not justified? She has just been cast aside, as if everything she did, meant nothing to him. As if he would have still been the successful man he now was, if she hadn’t pushed and supported him to be the best he could be.
I strongly feel that she was just as entitled to his money as he was, because without her- he would have been nothing. She had INVESTED in that man just like men invest in stocks and bonds. You EXPECT a return on your investment. Do you know what I mean? She had invested time and money into him and their family. Sure the money matters. But it is the time that is the most meaningful. Years spent investing on him- you can’t ever get that time back. It is gone forever.
I recently watched the 1992 TV movie called A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story. It starred Meredith Baxter (Shout out to a wonderful actress! I love her! She was nominated for an Emmy for this role!) I came to understand that Dan had a natural keen insight and was able to read people. He knew Betty intimately and knew just how to push her buttons. I think he slowly, deliberately, and methodically stripped her of everything she was. You could say he intentionally drove her crazy. Why, I do not know, but he was not a nice or decent man at heart. ‘Count Da Money’ as he liked to called, filled his closet with expensive hand tailored suits and then decided his current wife wasn’t good enough- he wanted to sport a younger more docile woman at his side.
BUT, Meredith Baxter played her role well, and I came to see another side of Betty Broderick. One that I did not know existed. There was a stubborn side of her who could not let things go, and she was downright obnoxious at times. She was very self-centered and reacted violently whenever she did not get her way. After the divorce, she focused all of her hate and resentment on Dan and his new young wife, ultimately giving up everything she had until she killed them both. She did some crazy shit. And so did he. It was a vicious circle of him egging her on, and her reacting. Here are some examples.
- She threw all of his expensive hand tailored suits in the yard and set them on fire when she discovered that he had disappeared from work all day with his 22-year-old assistant, and then tried to come home late to her. (I totally get this. He deserved that.)
- He secretly sells their family home without her knowledge or consent. (Did he give her a fair share of proceeds from selling the house? Doubtful. That was just mean.)
- She calls him a condescending asshole and leaves vile messages on his answering machine. (One or two or even three are ok, any more than that is just unnecessary and excessive, sister.)
- She decides that he needs to see what it is like to be the primary caregiver and begins dumping their kids off at his front door one by one- even when there is no one home. (Really, Betty? I have to wonder at this move. Are you so hell bent on hurting him that you can’t even consider your kids’ feelings or care about their safety at all?)
- She breaks and enters into his house, destroys everything she can find, slams her vehicle into his front door, among various other crazy things. (That’s a bit much. Way too much drama. You should have had a wake-up call somewhere around here. Did you press snooze?)
- He recorded and transcribed her all of obscene calls and used them as leverage to obtain primary custody of the kids. (He had stripped her of her identity as a wife and now a mother. He never said he wanted the kids. This was just a tactic to control her and hurt her as much as he could.)
- She stole her daughter’s key for Dan’s house. She enters it in the middle of the night, and shoots and kills both her ex-husband and his wife. (Feel better now? You have effectively destroyed him. But you also destroyed your kids. And you destroyed you. I don’t think it was worth it, do you?)
I have also researched and watched the grown kids as they appeared on Oprah talking about their mother and what happened. I then watched Oprah interview Betty in prison. It seems that Betty just snapped and has never able to get back to normal. She remains narcissistic and manipulative, even behind bars. It is sad really, what could have been.
Betty, Betty, Betty, I wish you would have held your cool. Yes, that young girl had everything you deserved. She had your husband, your kids, and your life. I get it. I know divorce is painful and hard and depressing as hell.
But you could have held your head up and remained classy. You had options, girl. You had the looks, the money, the resources, and the brain. You may not have had what you originally wanted, but you could have risen above it and found a new normal, a new life.
After studying this story and hearing both sides, I am just saddened. It really is a sad story of two people who promised to love each other forever and had big dreams of a future together, but culminated in a tragic ending.
Dateline NBC 2016. A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story. Dateline 48 Hours Mystery. YouTube. https://youtu.be/bLy4wy4gvJU
A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story 1992. TV Time Capsule. YouTube. Retrieved January 2021. https://youtu.be/DBeWFfMajq8
Oprah Interviews Betty Broderick Who Killed Her Ex-Husband and Wife. The Oprah Winfrey Show. OWN. Retrieved January 21, 2021
Betty Broderick’s Children Tell Their Side of the Story. The Oprah Winfrey Show. OWN. Retrieved January 21, 2021