Oprah Interviews Betty Broderick, The Woman Who Killed Her Ex and His Wife
Oprah Interviews Betty Broderick, The Woman Who Killed Her Ex and His Wife
In 1992, Betty Broderick, in jail for killing her ex-husband and his new wife, gave Oprah her first television interview via satellite since being convicted of the two murders.
Oprah Winfrey: Today, Betty Broderick, mother of four and once devoted wife,shares her story for the first time since being convicted of murder.OW: It was just before dawn when the desperate Betty Broderickgot dressed and drove to the lavish home of her ex-husband.
Dan.OW: Using her daughter's key to let herself in,Betty went to the second-floor master bedroom where she found Danand his 28-year-old new bride, Linda, asleep.OW: She pulled out a revolver and showered the sleeping couple with bullets.Linda died instantly and Dan minutes later.OW: Before Betty fled the house, she yanked their phone out of the wall.[on -camera] While the divorce of Betty and Dan Broderick was vicious,how did the storybook marriage go so wrong?OW: Well, Betty says she was so emotionally batteredand tormented by her ex- husband that she was driven to kill.OW: These photographs taken on their wedding day in April of 1969 showa 21-year-old bride of striking beauty.OW: Betty worked day and night as a teacher to help pay the billsand put Dan through Cornell Medical School and Harvard Law School.Finally.
Their years of struggling paid off.OW: Betty and Dan had the perfect life.
Four beautiful children,a lot of money, a five-bedroom home in suburban San Diegoand a ski condo in Colorado.OW: Then Dan hired Linda Kolkena.
A dazzling 22-year-old blonde,to work as his legal assistant, Betty suspected they were having an affair.OW: Well, that was just the beginning.After 16 years of marriage to Dan, she filed for divorce, dumping-Danfiled for divorce, dumping Betty for Linda.OW: Using his courtroom expertise.
Because he was this big-time lawyer.and lofty connections, he took on his ex-wife.OW: So, then Broderick versus Broderick had begunand begun with a vengeance.OW: Dan won sole custody of the kids.
Betty was denied any visitation rights.Betty got hate mail and believed the sender was Linda.OW: Dan blasted Betty during an interview with a local newspaper.Dan Broderick: She told my children that.
We had a blissful, healthy,happy marriage until I went crazy when I turned 40.
I mean.that's just pure fiction.
It's a figment of her imagination.OW: And when Betty heard Linda's voice on Dan's answering machine,she left nasty messages.Betty Broderick, Killed Her Ex and HisWife:What's this "We can't come to the phone."You're not supposed to come to the phone at the house.You're supposed to [expletive deleted] him at the houseand answer the phone at the office.OW: Their bitter battle raged on.Dan began deducting money from her alimony paymenteach time Betty misbehaved.DB: I wrote her a letter and I said, "Look.
If you don't stop harassing me.I'm going to withhold $200 for every obscene word you use,DB: $500 every time you come into my houseand $1,000 every time you take the kids awaywithout telling me in advance."OW: In 1989, Dan married Linda.They had two armed security guards at their wedding.DB: As pretty as Linda is, her looks are not her best quality.She has the most wonderful, pleasant,sweet disposition of any woman I've ever known.
I really mean that.OW: Betty's first trial ended with a hung jury,but her second trial finished with two second-degree murder convictions.OW: She could spend the rest of her life in prisonand she has joined us from prison by satellite.Hello.
How are you doing?BB: Hi.
Fine.OW: When you hear his- did you hearwhat we're-what we were just watching on TV?Could you hear Dan's voice on tape?BB: Yes.
Yes.OW: When you hear his voice, do- what do you feel?What goes through your mind?BB: Extremely upset.OW: Remorse?
This whole thing has been very tragicand very upsetting for everyone.OW: I would like you, if you can,to take us back to the kind of life that you had.OW: We sort of briefly touched on it in the introduction,but- you married with all of-OW: I know I often say this on the show, that, you know,there are no Cleavers, but you married, and for a while,certainly did appear to have the Beaver Cleaver family and Beaver Cleaver-OW: Yes.BB: Exactly.BB: Exactly.
I thought we did have the perfect marriage.I thought- I knew Dan and I had very similar upbringingswith Catholic education all the way through.BB: We were both from large Catholic families.Neither sets of our parents have divorced and we had a lot in common.When we met, we were very happy together and we had a lot in common.BB: We had common goals.
1 wanted a large Catholic familyand he wanted to be very successful and we hit it offand we were very happy and we took the-BB: I took those marriage vows and I believe he didat the time too believing that we'd be together and we'd work togetherand we'd get through everything and we'd build a life for ourselvesand our children.OW: What kind of mom were you?BB: l delighted in my children totally, every moment of their lives.OW: So, you were the soccer mom and you-were the-BB: I did everything.OW: You were the-BB: I was Boy Scouts.
Girl Scouts, soccer coach, T-ball, orthodontist.Each child had music lessons.BB: Each child had some sort of sport.
I took them all on summer vacationswhen Dan would never go with us because I do real children thingsand he doesn't like-BB: He didn't like a lot of noise and confusionand that's what four children are and I loved it.OW: And so in your mind, you were the perfect mom?Ms. BB: Yes.
I guess I was and in a lot of other people's minds as well.OW: Was it difficult.
Being supermom because-you know.
Was it- was- did you feel pressured?OW: Did you feel isolated?Did you feel that you weren't getting enough from your husband?BB: Being a supermom was the only thing I ever wanted to be in life.I did not feel any urge to go out in the worldand be successful in business or anything.BB: We had very strict gender lines in our marriage.
Well.went out and slew the dragons and provided for us-BB: And I was home and hearth and children and supportedmy husband emotionally and through the good times and the bad.OW: And you enjoyed that?BB: I loved it.
That's all I've ever wanted to do.BB: The sacrifices that I had to put in were doingwithout my husband while he worked 14-, 15-hour daysand while he socialized after work and on weekendsand he taught courses to other lawyers.BB: All of this was in the name of building his profession,building his name and I had to do without my husband a lot, but.I think any woman-OW: As a lot of women do.
Any woman married to a successful husband,whether he's a car salesman, a stockbroker, a banker,that's what you do in the young years.BB: It's build yourself up and Dan was very ambitious and that was what.I did.
I was a single parent.
To my children.
He was never there.He didn't have time for me or the children.OW: OK, but that was a compromise that you had willingly made.BB: Very much so.
So, when did you start to sensethings were going wrong because all along.OW: I'm sure, you're feeling like you're carrying the loadand you're doing that- coming from your generationor being married at the time that you were,that whole gender thing- so, you were perfectly willing to do that.OW: When did you sense that that wasn't enough?BB: l never sensed that it wasn't enough.I'm- Dan was never a womanizer.
I never doubted where he was going.BB: We had total trust in one another.as we should have because we were committed,but in 1983, I noticed Dan at a party talking aboutsome girl that he thought was really beautiful and I-BB: And that was my first clue that Linda Kolkena existedand then it.
Got worse from there.BB: In the spring of '83 in Europe, I noticed Dan was very tenseand just not himself on a vacation,and that summer when took the children camping-BB: I couldn't reach him by phone the whole time I was gone.and the day I came back from that camping trip in summer '83.I knew I had a major problem on my hands and it was Linda Kolkena.OW: OK.
And Linda Kolkena was the assistantthat he'd hired for himself.
Is that true?BB: He- she was the receptionist in the law buildingwhere he worked and then he subsequently,after becoming involved with her, hired her in September '83.OW: As his assistant.BB: As his assistant which greatly upset me because Danhad no employees at the time.
He was a one-man show.OW: And wanted it that way?BB: Yes.
He liked total control and when he finally toldme he'd hired someone.
I was happy.BB: I said, "Great.
You can spend more time with the family.Who did you hire," and when he told me Linda Kolkena I was flabbergasted.BB: She had no education.
She had- she couldn't type.She knew nothing about law or medicine.It didn't seem, of all the people in the world thathe would hire to help him, that she would be the logical choice.OW: Did you ask him if he was having an affair?BB: Yes.OW: And he said-BB: Totally denied it and said I was imagining things and I was crazyand that Linda was a sweet, innocent, young girland there was absolutely nothing going on, never was, and-BB: Oh, and by the way,"You're fat, old, boring, ugly and stupid"just started coming on the scene then.He was unhappy with everything in his life.OW: He told you that you were fat and oldand boring and stupid?
He said those words to you?BB: Yes, and he didn't like our home and he didn't like our childrenand it was- to me, it was an absolutely classic mid-life crisisand I devoured every book on the subject.OW: To the point of even- he got the red Corvette.
Is that true?BB: Got the red Corvette, the Risky Business sunglasses,the scarf around his neck, the leather jacket.I told him he was the American joke if only he wouldgo to a therapist of some sort and- but he wouldn't.OW: Now-BB: He wouldn't.
He never admitted the affair, ever.OW: OK.
So, up until this point, though,you didn't have any proof that there was an affair.OW: Wasn't there a lime, though, when you wentto his office building on his birthday?I don't know if it was his 39th birthday or-there was a birthdayand you went to the office.
Can you tell us about that?BB: In 1983, I- I had confided my problem to my best friend.
Vickyand Vicky said.
Go down to that office.
Make yourself known."BB: And I never went down and confronted anyone, you know,with anger, but I went for his birthday and brought champagneand a present for him and I got dressed real pretty,and when I got there, it was about-BB: I think it was 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon for sunsetand they had never- Dan and Linda had never comeback from lunch and I was very upset.BB: I saw her office for the first time with a picture of Danon the wall that was taken before we were marriedand thought that was really improper, not professional,and he never came back and I was very upset and very mad.BB: I went home and I threw his clothes in the backyard and burnt them.OW: When we come back.
The four Broderick childrenare perhaps the biggest victims in all this.The oldest daughter, Kim, testified against her mom.Kim Broderick: You talk to some people and they say things like,"Oh, well, 1 relate to her." and.
"After all your father did to her."KB: And they actually haven't been listening because Dad didn't doall these things to her and he definitely didn't deserve to dieand they shouldn't look up to her for doing that.OW: So, you went home and burned his clothesSomebody in the audience just said this.
Betty.The day you burned his clothes.
Why didn't you then seek helpbecause by the-when you're burning the clothes, that's a problem.BB: This is such a complicated case.OW: I understand.BB: There's no way I can explain this.On my birthday which is backing up from his birthday-my birthday's November 7th.
His is November 22nd.BB: On my birthday- I slit my wrists earlier that month becauseI was so upset that he didn't come home and he was treating me so badand he kept denying the affair and telling methat l was imagining things and stuff.BB: And I said.
You know."You get rid of that girl at the office or get out of my house."BB: And he said.
There's nothing going on with that girl.You're crazy and.
By the way.
This is my houseand if you don't like something.
You can get out."BB: And then it led up to his birthday and we're still talking in 1983.BB: The- what you're calling the murders didn't happen until 1989and it only got worse and worse and worse as it all escalated and progressed.BB: The affair was not the worst part.
I mean, it's- it was a startbut the legal assault and abuse was something that.
No one could have withstood.
Male, female or anything.OW: OK, but- you say the affair wasn't the worst part.Isn't that what really-OW: I know- I've read articles where- and I don't believe anything I read,so I'll have you here to confirm it.
That- that you thought that they were trying to drive you crazy.OW: The fact that her voice was on the answering machine whenyou called and- so.
When you called his house and thereis Linda's voice on the answering machine.
Did that not.
Make you upset?BB: Oh.
Of course it didbut the affair was the beginning and I won't minimize it.BB: It was very catastrophic for me to see my marriage end,but a lot of marriages have affairsand a lot of women pick up the pieces and carry on.OW: Did you think he was going to come back to you.
Betty?Did you think he was coming backand that this was just a passing mid-life thing?BB: Yes, in the beginning.
I had hoped that's exactly what.
It was.BB: We lived in a community where this is a pretty common problemwith men at mid-life and several of my friends had gonethrough similar and their husbands are all home today.BB: That's another reason why I didn't tell anybody.The fewer people who knew about the affair,the better it would be when we went on.OW: Yeah.
So let's get to the divorce.By the time you finally get divorced.
There have been court battlesand arguments and you are now feeling what by the time the divorce comes'?BB: What- I don't even know what you're referringto as to when the divorce came.
He walked out in '85.BB: He got a divorce on paper in '86,but I got no settlement at that time.
No settlement-OW: Wasn't.
He paying you voluntarily 9,000 a month'?BB: At one point.
He said that he would voluntarily pay me $9,000 a month.BB: At that time, he was making.
I think, $137.000 a month,so it wasn't real equitable, but I didn't argue with himand I did not hire lawyers and fight back.BB: I just- I didn't argue with him.OW: Did you take- but you took-he was paying you $9,000 a month?
He was?BB: Sometimes he did and sometimes-it deteriorated until November- in November, '86,my monthly check said that I owed him $1,300because he had fined me so much that month that.
I owed him money.OW: Fined you for calling up, making obscene calls.
Fined you-BB: For going- for- what it actually said was goingto his property while he was in Europe with Linda for three weeks.BB: Well.
My children were on his propertyand they needed money they needed food and I was asked to come overand help them by the babysitter he left them with.OW: But he- every time you did something that he did not likehe would deduct.
$100.OW: This is what.
I've read and I think I also saw this on the 20/20 reportthat every time you'd do something that he-BB: That.
He didn't like.OW: -didn't like, he would deduct $100 or $200or $500 depending upon what he considered the offense to be.
Is that-BB: Right, and the real thread that kept this goingand held us fighting and together was that he controlled the children.He had sole custody, no visitation, of all four young children at the time.BB: There were no teenagers.
Nothing and they neededa mother and he did not provide a mother.I was the mother by phone and through school,as much as I could be without being there.
I still-OW: So.
Let me interrupt you here.The issue for you was not then- becauseat one point after the- and you can clarify this.OW: After this- the settlements were madeyou went from $9,000 to $16,000 a month.So, the issue wasn't you being financially taken care of here?That's not the issue at all for-BB: The issue was not money and really, in 1989,the issue was not that Dan and Linda had an affair.Those were not the issues.OW: The issue was that you had been through so much in the courts, you felt-BB: The issue was that my childrenand I had a right to live a life.
A life separateand free of fear and control and tyranny.BB: And Dan and Linda would never let us have that.
They wouldn't-OW: Well.
Dan and Linda- OK.
Go ahead.BB: They wouldn't let me have my kids,and the day that this really put me off,they were-wouldn't even let me talk to my kids on the phone.OW: Did you feel fearful?You say a life free of fear, but I would think that based upon-BB: I was extremely fearful.
I wasOW: You were fearful of him?BB: Oh.
I didn't sleep for the last two years of this.My life had become a scream in the dark.BB: I had felt like he was all powerful in that legal systemand I was-had no defense whatever.
1 couldn't-OW: Well.
Dan- let me interrupt, you here.Dan and Linda are- of course, are not here to tell their side of the story.OW: But Dan's brother, Larry, has spoken out against Betty throughoutthis tragedy and here he tells his feelings about Betty.Larry Broderick: This woman is an incredible monsterand Dan had to put up with her and her greedand her avariciousness and her hate for his entire married life.OW: Betty, I have to move the story along a little bit.I--those of us who have been following this story understandthat in the midst of your frustration,you did some things that exhibited your frustration.OW: Going to his house, going to your ex-husbands house.Dan's, with the pies and smearing his closet with the pies.You did that?
Is that true?BB: But.
See, these are things- these are incidents in the marriage.This is 1983 you're talking about and-OW: OK, but I just want to get this-BB: I didn't bring a cake there.
Linda made a cake.OW: But you smeared the cake all over his clothes?
Is that correct.?BB: I put- I smeared it on his bed and it was a little eight-inch cake.That's true.
I mean, I'm- I did the act.OW: Did you go to the house with spray paint at one time too?I'm just- because- listen-BB: No.
But that's what.
You know, the prosecution and Larry Broderickand everybody wants you to think, but, no, I didn't do that.OW: You never went to the house and spray painted the walls or did-OW: You did drive- try to drive the car through the door.
Did you not?BB: I did purposely and- you know.
I did bang my Car into his door.I didn't try to drive it through anything.BB: I banged my car into his door the day that he sold the family homethe only home we've ever owned that had my name on it and his name on it.BB: He sold it in court without notifying me in any wayshape or form and I went to his house and said."How did you do that?
You can't do that."and he told me I had 10 seconds to get off his property.OW: So.
Then you got.
In the car-BB: And I looked at that house as the only asset.It was indeed the only asset that had my name on it.BB: Nothing else did ever.
Dan was fully in control of all the money.OW: So- and so you became so frustrated and in the midstof trying to- court battles for the children and- I know you wanted your sons.OW: Tell- take us to the morning that you went to Danand Linda's house, Betty.
What was going throughyour mind the morning you went to that house?BB: What was going through my mind the morningat that house is the whole world fell in-BB: And it was a combination of every single injusticeand indignity and horror that I had experiencedas the victim of Dan and Linda Kolkena through- since 1983.BB: It was totally un- necessary for them to haveabused me and my children as much as they did.BB: We did nothing in life to deserve to be treated so badly.OW: But, you see, you say you're abused.They're not here to speak for themselves.From everything that I've heard and read.
They felt abused.OW: They felt you calling and leaving obscene messagesand you not leaving them alone-OW: There was a point when Dan-when Linda had even asked Dan to wear a bulletproofvest on the day of their wedding and they hired guardsbecause they feared you physically.
But you didn't fear them physically.OW: You just feared them.
Intervening in your life?BB: I didn't have a life.
Intervening in what life?They had- Dan and Linda controlled every cent of the money.BB: Dan's name was on the house I was living inon the car that I was driving, and he had sole custody,no visitation.
Of my children.OW: But you said- you just said yourself hereand I'm just trying to speak for them since they'renot here-you said yourself that the money wasn't the issue.OW: You were getting at this point $16,000 a month.BB: My safety was my issue.
I was unsafe in the world.l had nowhere to live.
I had nothing to drive.BB: I had- that $16,000 was only until further order of the courtand he got his first order of the court acquittedwithin 30 days of getting that order.OW: So, you went- OK, Betty.So, you went to the house that morning in order to do what?BB: To talk to Dan.
I had gotten my- another set of legal threats.BB: They were threatening to take me to court,threatening to throw me in jail threateningto keep me from talking to my sons and-OW: Why did you carry the gun if you only wanted to talk?BB: I didn't exactly carry the gun.The gun was in the car and I did consciously bring it, but Oprahthese are not the bigger subjects here.BB: I mean, I did bring the gun as a way to make Dan and Linda listen to me.For the first time in this whole thing.BB: I couldn't prevail in court no matter what.Dan was the kingpin in this town legally.OW: Oh.
I understand what you're saying.but Betty, two people are dead.BB: Because every time I went to his house to talk to him- and that's what.
Did - every time.
He had me cornered.BB: I went there to talk to him and before- if he saw me cominghe'd call the police and have me arrested.For instance the day that he sold the house.
Went there to talk to him.BB: The day that he- that I owed him $1.300 a monthI went to talk to him and he had me arrested.OW: OK.
But that morning.
You took- you- the gun was in the car,you consciously took the gun out of the car,you went up the stairs to talk to them and what happened?BB: And to keep them from calling the police.I was going to make them listen and talk to me.
This had to be over.BB: This was 1989.
They were already married.My children were growing up."Can't we just let this thing go and make it stop?"OW: So.
You walked in the room and you did what?You said.
"I want to talk."BB: I didn't even have a chance to say that.
I opened the door.It wasn't closed tightly.
As opened the door and entered the room.BB: Linda said.
"Call the police." Dan went for the phoneand I screamed."No,- and just- the gun went off and that's as fast as it happened.BB: I didn't- they didn't see a gun.They never saw a gun.
Linda saw me.I didn't see them at all I just saw movement.OW: The gun went off for five shots?BB: In less than half a second.
It was just-my whole- it was a panic reaction and I had no idea I hit anyone.BB: And I grabbed that phone becauseDan was going for the phone and I didn't want himto call the police before I could even talk to himand I grabbed the phone and I ran out of the house.BB: I thought he was after me.
I was hiding from him.I went to my daughter's house and said, you know,"I have no idea if I hit anybody."BB: I told everyone that.
"I have no idea."I fired a gun, I grabbed that phone and I ran and I thought he was after me.