"I really liked Danny a lot when he was sober," Gretchen says. "I didn't like the drunken Danny and the drugged-up Danny at all. In the beginning, he seemed to manage his drinking OK, but then he just got totally out of control. It's not fun to be hoping someone would just be able to control themselves."
Gretchen says she tried everything to save the marriage but came to the point where she was just too worried about how their volatile relationship was affecting their children. "I totally feel like my daughter has taken on the parenting position, and I feel guilty about that," she says.
Gretchen looks forward to what the future holds. "October 31 is when my divorce is going to be final," she says. "I think I'm going to go to Europe to celebrate " I'm not celebrating the death of my marriage, but I just feel like to be in a different country and have this happening to me will be sort of symbolic of a whole new world for me.
"I know I want to get married again," Gretchen says. "I definitely want to find someone to share my life with. I know what I don't want more than I know what I want. I do not want a cheater. I do not want to go down that road ever again. I'm definitely looking for someone who's faithful."
Dr. Phil continues his conversation with Danny, who just watched the interview clips of his soon-to-be ex-wife. "What's your relationship with the children since they know this has happened?" Dr. Phil asks.
"Actually, my relationship with the children has always been fabulous," Danny says. "I haven't done too poor of a job, and my children do very well, and they're all taken care of."
"[Gretchen] is helping you with this other woman," Dr. Phil begins.
Danny admits, "That's a bit bizarre, even for me, you know, to have your wife of 17 years pretty much handpick your girlfriend." He explains that he tends to do things in a hurry. "Amy and I were dating, I think, three days when she asked me to marry her, and four days when I had her name tattooed right here," he says, pointing to his shoulder. "And then five days when we broke up."
Dr. Phil is confused. "You can say whatever you want to whomever you want, and everybody can form their own opinions. I have mine. I think there is Danny Bonaduce the personality, and being wild, crazy, bizarre sells tickets. And then there's Danny Bonaduce that I know and have had some very candid conversations with from time to time over the years. That is the person you say was born to be a husband. Since you've been here, you've cracked five or six jokes. You're a master of timing and playing the audience, but that's not really who you are."
"Well, first of all, to be frank with you, I've cracked no jokes. People have just laughed," Danny says.
Dr. Phil disagrees. "Oh, now, come on, when you say, â€˜We met one day, got tattooed the fourth day, broke up the fith day,' that's a line delivered to get an effect, right?" he asks.
"No, it's a tattoo on my right shoulder, Doc."
"Does it seem inconsistent to you to really want to heal the situation with Gretchen and be tattooing another girl's name on your shoulder?" Dr. Phil asks. "At this point, you aren't divorced. You don't know what's going to happen next. I may have some key strategies that may possibly inspire her to revisit this issue. Not to come back because she has to, or for the kids, or out of a sense of duty. There may be ways to inspire a fresh perspective on her part."
"In my opinion " and I think you probably share this " had you not married her, you probably would be dead now," Dr. Phil surmises.
"That's a distinct possiblity," he says.
"I mean, I really think there have been times when she has just been the absolute compass that kept you at least moving toward living, instead of overdosing or something."
Danny agrees. "She is the thing, until my children came along, that was the thing in my life worth living for. I was raised in a questionable business in a questionable family environment, and then I met Gretchen, who was just a set of wings shy of a real live angel," he says, his voice wavering. "And then there was purpose, and then, you know, you can't die now â€¦ Out of all the world, this is the reason to live. There are people like this. You don't see many of them. They're not in a crowd. You don't look around and see people like my wife."
"And then you've got two others now, with those kids who absolutely adore you," Dr. Phil adds.
"Do you think she is ready to get a divorce?" Dr. Phil asks.
"Oh, yes," Danny says. "And I've done everything I can to expedite matters for her, she has made that so clear."
Danny laughs. "Yes," he says. Danny guesses that he'll be married within three weeks of his divorce being final, but not necessarily to Amy.
"Nobody knows what the future holds, but what if my definition of people being ready for divorce is right, and you go off and quickly marry somebody before this thing has played out? You might be blunting your legitimate chance to really heal this marriage and therefore heal the whole family unit," Dr. Phil says.
"Or before," Dr. Phil says. "I don't know how long it's going to take, and here's what I'm talking about: In my view, people are ready for divorce if and when they can walk out the door with no unfinished emotional business whatsoever. There's no angst. There's no resentment. There's no bitterness. There's no agenda. There's no anger. They're saying, â€˜I'm completely done. I don't have any energy left in this.' That's not where she is. It's certainly not where you are."
"No. She corrected herself rather quickly, but here's where she is: She'll be in another country celebrating. That's what I heard," Danny says. He takes a poll of the audience. "Who thinks that woman is ever going to come back to me?" A few audience members raise their hands. He continues. "By applause, who thinks that woman's never coming back to me?" The majority of the audience applauds.
"There's no y'all part of it. I'm not finished at all! I'll move back in tonight," Danny says.
"Yeah, that would be bad too," Dr. Phil says. "What I know is there's unfinished emotional business between the two of you, and if you never get back together, the two of you have the responsibility to co-parent these kids as allies without unfinished business between you. You need to finish that business whether you get back together or not." Dr. Phil brings up Danny's comment that he may be married within three weeks of his divorce being final. "I think that would be a huge and monumental mistake," he says.
Danny shares a story of a time when Gretchen asked him if he would marry again if she died. "I said, â€˜Baby, I'd bring a date to the funeral.' It's the guy she knows. I can't be " I don't want to be alone all day long," he explains.
"If you want the best for her, the next guy is going to pay for the sins that you committed if she doesn't get closure on that. She's going to be suspect of the next guy. She's going to be resentful of the next guy because of the things you've done, unless she heals those, and she needs to heal them with you to parent these kids."
"Anybody who saw Breaking Bonaduce, or has heard about it, is terrified to date this woman because she's married to me, and I'll come to your house, and we'll have a discussion," Danny says. "[It] won't be this cordial, but, you know, there are going to be some rules to dating my wife, and I'll explain them to you. But if you're making some sort of wager, I accept. You get me my wife back, what would you like? Pick a leg."
"Just for you and your family to be peaceful and happy. That's all I would want," Dr. Phil tells him.
"If I ask her to come in here, and sit down and have this conversation, like, next week, will you come back with her here?" Dr. Phil asks.
"If you have the words and wisdom that there is a chance that me coming out and having to suffer through listening to my wife explain why she does not love me, and that there was a chance that we could get back together if she heard those words of wisdom, I would come back here every day of the week for as long as you would like," Danny says. "Her stipulation was, â€˜I will only come on the show if Dr. Phil says he won't try and get us back together.' She wouldn't come if that was your agenda."
"That's not my agenda," Dr. Phil says. "My agenda is that she and you must finish all unfinished emotional business in order to have the kind of relationship you want to co-parent these children. And in order for her to have a chance of a relationship with somebody else if she in fact does move on."
"Well, I'll be absolutely honest with you, Doc. I will be happy to do it if you are under the impression that there is a chance in hell that the payoff is that she might come home," Danny says. "If that is not the reason â€¦ Why would you ask a starving man to come out here and sit next to a steak, but not get a bite?"
"I would ask you to do that because you are the father of her children, and this doesn't stop. You can divorce each other, but you can't divorce them, and the two of you are in this together for life. At a minimum, you need to plan that relationship, and it is your best road back to the other one," Dr. Phil says.
"If we make a clear agreement that there's something that you believe you can accomplish, I will come and do anything I can to accomplish it," Danny says.