Alienation of Affection: Cindy

A Stunning Legal Victory

Cindy tells Dr. Phil, "I feel like I was a very good wife. He always told me I was a good wife. He always told me how happy he was. Allan would take me to a party, and he would introduce me as his better half. He would always come over and put his arm around me. He was very, very demonstrative, very, very affectionate." Cindy says her husband still made romantic gestures, like roses on the bed during their vacation on a cruise.

"You spent 30-plus years with all signs pointing to OK: attention, affection, sharing, caring, all of these things. How surprised and shocked were you when all of this started unraveling?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I wanted so badly, Dr. Phil, to believe that everything was OK, because we were still sleeping in the same room, in the same marital bed. We had just added on a brand new addition. We were still going out on Saturday nights to dinner. We were still having, basically, our normal life," she explains. "I didn't believe it, and that's why it went on as long as it went on. I believed everything my husband was telling me, until I just couldn't believe it anymore, and that's why I was devastated that I had to actually take action and do something about it."

[AD]"Is it your belief that this woman targeted your husband, seduced your husband and pulled him out of this marriage?"

"Absolutely," she says. "There's no question in my mind, and people who know her said that they actually saw her flirting with him, going after him. So, from other people's standpoint as well, she was just totally after him. And she set things up where she could be with him more. He was supposed to be working with somebody else, but she wanted to work with Allan, and I feel like she totally went in, and wedged herself in and destroyed our marriage."

"I read that one of your early concerns was him giving her rides home and working with her one on one. Are you saying that she choreographed all that in a premeditated way?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Exactly. I believe she did," she says. Cindy says she did not find it suspicious at the beginning that her husband would give the woman a ride home, because he was a nice guy who did things like that. Eventually, she confronted him and told him the woman could get her own ride home. Allan assured her nothing was going on.

"Do you think he didn't know he was being reeled in by her, or do you think he was complicit in the beginning?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I don't think he had knowledge of what she was doing. I think he was kind of flattered, maybe, by the attention, and I feel that she manipulated it," Cindy says.

"What you're basically saying now is that he was victimized by her, along with you, and I think most women would look at that very differently and say, ‘He's a big boy. He knew what he was doing. This was his choice from the beginning.' But you're saying he didn't really see it coming. She was setting him up, and he was seduced. It wasn't his fault. She went after him and got him."

[AD]"For the majority of it, but it takes two to do it," she says. "But I just really don't think that Allan saw it coming. I just wish he had. It's sort of like these movies that you watch, where there's a good marriage, and then somebody comes in, and they just get to be a friend, and they just get to be a little more and more. And that's what she did. She just drove it a little more, and a little more, and I don't think Allan realized until it was too late just really where he was. But I had felt that we had had a good marriage. I mean, we had our troubles, everybody does, but I was completely shocked … I guess I wanted so badly to believe that she was just a friend, and I let it go, and I let it go, and I let it go."

"At what point did it go off in your head that ‘Something's going on here that I am not OK with'?" Dr. Phil asks.

Cindy explains she started to look at her husband's e-mails. In one of them, when Cindy was out of town, the other woman wrote that he was like a bachelor in waiting. She didn't confront him then because she believed her husband would still be strong. "I wanted so badly to believe Allan that everything was OK. I didn't trust her at all, but I didn't say anything to her," she says. "I felt like I was starting to become the nagging wife who would've driven a wedge. And with Allan, I needed clear evidence. I needed him to be caught."

Cindy confirmed her suspicions by hiring a private investigator while she was out of town. The investigator followed her husband and reported that the two spent time together in Cindy and Allan's home, including upstairs where the bedrooms are. He also witnessed them kissing. Cindy says Allan never admitted to the affair, always referring to it as an "alleged affair."

"When did you decide to file this alienation of affection suit?"

"I talked with my attorney about it, and he felt that with the evidence that I had, this was exactly what alienation of affection is," she says. Cindy says she doesn't regret filing the lawsuit.

"There are people who might say, ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,' and here you are, front seat on the bitter bus, just wanting to exact revenge. Is that you?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No. I'm not bitter at all, and all I want is for other people to be able to hold their spouses more accountable," she says.

[AD]The court awarded Cindy a $9 million judgment for alienation of affection, which the other woman, Anne, has to pay, and also $5,000 a month in permanent alimony from Allan.

Cindy says she has yet to see a dime from her husband. "He is in contempt of court by North Carolina. If he comes to North Carolina, he will be arrested. So the man who was an attorney, who was supporting the law, and was for the law, is breaking a lot of laws," she says. Cindy explains that Allan moved out of state and is living with the other woman.

Cindy explains her one regret, and her husband makes a statement.

Dr. Phil makes it clear to Cindy that the affair was not her fault. "Whatever happened here, those people made the choice to do it. That's not something you did or failed to do. You had all of these signs that said trust and be comfortable. How do you ever trust again?"

"I don't know. Can you help me? Because I don't think I ever will trust again. I don't trust anymore. I can only trust myself," she says.

Dr. Phil cautions her about what she tells herself. "Words are powerful. When you say, ‘I'll never trust again,' that's kind of setting you up to never trust again. See, I think that how much you trust another person is really about how much you can trust yourself to be able to handle their imperfections. If you're vulnerable, if you're so fragile, that if somebody fails to be perfect, if somebody fails to meet your expectations, that you would be devastated and emotionally bankrupt, then you really can't afford to extend yourself very much. But if you trust yourself to be able to get by on your own, where you don't have to have somebody else doing exactly what you want and need them to do, then you don't have to be so afraid. Here's what we know about you: You went through a marriage for three-plus decades. You raised two delightful kids. What a tremendous achievement and accomplishment in life. But for Allan, you wouldn't have those two. This hasn't been a total bust."

"No," she says.

"And you're still here. You went through this. You got burned in the worst way, but you survived," he says.

[AD]"I did."

"And you've got to set this example for your kids. They've been impacted by this in a major way."