Kristie says it was love at first sight when she met Michael. They married, spent nine years together, had children, then divorced, and now, Dr. Phil says, "It is war." She says the divorce was amicable until Michael declared that he wanted custody of their three children. That's when, she says, it became ugly. Between the two of them, in the past year alone, there have been accusations of kidnapping, abuse and domestic violence.
"What's your goal in being here today?" Dr. Phil asks the couple.
[AD]Kristie responds first. "My goal in being here today is to protect my children," Kristie says. "My girls want to be with me," she claims defiantly to both Dr. Phil and her ex-husband, Michael. "They are scared because he has hit them. He has left bruises on them. That's another reason I filed for divorce."
"What's your goal in being here?" Dr. Phil then asks Michael.
"My goal is to get her to stop putting our kids in the middle of situations they shouldn't be in, and for us to hopefully, one day, learn how to parent these kids, and to make their lives better than they are right now," Michael says.
"Dr. Phil tells the duo they are engaged in a chaotic war, and asks them both to take ownership of some or part of it. "What's your contribution to that?" Dr. Phil asks Michael.
After much hesitation, he answers, "My biggest downfall is communicating with her." Dr. Phil is not buying it.
"That's a left-handed criticism of her," Dr. Phil quickly corrects Michael. He continues, "I'm not very happy with what's going on in this situation. You're not going to like a lot of what you hear. I've been doing this a long time, and you guys are screwing this up in a big, big way. You can get self-righteous, you can get sanctimonious, and you can point the finger at each other, but your children are the ones who are paying for this. If you alienate your children from him, and if you alienate your children from her, they will resent you for that before this is all over with. They know if they're being manipulated. They know if they're being programmed. They know if they're being biased. It will come back and bite you."
[AD]Asked the same question regarding ownership and contribution, Kristie says she tries the best she can while the children are with her to ensure their father's name is never in a negative light, and they are able to communicate with him.
Dr. Phil is struck by her answer and doesn't mince words. "You never say anything about your ex-husband?"
Kristie says she does speak badly about Michael, but never to or in front of their daughters.
"First of all, I don't believe either one of you is being honest with yourselves here," Dr. Phil states while reading Kristie's post to enduce someone to beat Michael up on the website for the MTV show, Bully Beat Down. In it, she writes:
- "Ex-Husband is Still Making My Life HELL!!!"
- "He follows me, threatens me and even had me arrested for domestic violence."
- "He is 6'5 tall and 225 pounds. I am barely 5'9 and 110 pounds.
He has hit me before, but the fact that he would hit my daughter is repulsive."
- "He needs to be taught a big lesson."
- "If there is anything you think you can do with this punk b****, please let me know."
[AD]When Dr. Phil asks Kristie if she posted that about her children's father, she quips, "It was a joke! Bully Beat Down is a show," she says.
"I'm not laughing!" he says harshly and emphatically.
Kristie says she's sure Michael was entertained by it, knowing he has one more thing he can use against her in court.
"OK, if you're keeping score, that's one for him," Dr. Phil says. "This isn't about keeping score. You two clearly are at odds " it happens. People get married who maybe shouldn't have to begin with. They change, things happen and the wheels come off. I'm talking about the impact on the children here."
Michael says he records his conversations with Kristie when he knows he will have contact with her, and has been glad he has, since she has made accusations that the tape then disproves.
[AD]"It's interesting [what happens] when one person knows they are being recorded and the other doesn't. Is that fair?" Dr. Phil asks. "Is this really what this has come to?"