Gayle Haggard Discusses Book on Oprah

Three years ago, Gayle Haggard learned of her husband Ted’s secret liaisons and drug use.  This week she explained why she stayed with him during an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show. Her book, Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour was released this week.Gayle Haggard Book

Gayle received a warmer welcome from Oprah than she did the last time she and Ted appeared in January of 2009.  At that time, the documentary  The Trials of Ted Haggard was debuting on HBO, and with the scandal still fresh, Oprah approached the interview with visible cynicism.  But to her credit, Oprah this time admitted to an epiphany on the way to the interview – she decided that she would not judge, but seek to understand.

Women of Faith, Not Doormats
She did, though, qualify her epiphany a little by saying she thought she and Mrs. Haggard came from different cultures, adding:

 “I’m a woman who has always taken care of myself.  I’ve been independent, I’ve  always made my own decisions…so it is unimaginable to me to be in a situation  where someone would betray me and I would stay. Yet in reading that you did, I  can understand where you were coming from, and that is how you did it”.

The inference, to my thinking, was that because she herself was independent and strong, evangelical women in general, and Gayle in particular, were not.  Thank you, Gayle for setting her straight with the response you gave Oprah:

 “I’m glad that you don’t want to judge me, because I would say I am an  independent woman, I’m a strong woman, and I take care of myself, and these  were my choices. Because I feel as though the betrayal had the potential to lead us  to greater health in our marriage.”

Bravo, Gayle. We’re women of faith, not doormats, and when a woman of faith makes a rational decision to preserve her home, I’d say that shows independence, decisiveness, and a willingness to take care of herself as well as her family. What’s weak about that?

Opportunity to Talk About The Issue
Gayle’s book gives us an opportunity to talk about a huge problem in the church.  Just like her, there are many Christian women married to men who’ve been leading secret lives. They go through the same type of shock, humiliation and pain that Gayle did.  So her book can do a service to the church by putting a face on these women and hopefully, making it safer to get help and support in their time of need. -R

For more, please see the  Charisma news article  I (and others) was interviewed for, along with and my interview on the Exodus blog.


  1. Unfortunately, I felt her later interview on the Joy Behar show was not as forthright as it should have been. Many of the comments she made were very eloquently stated, but sadly, some issues were skirted, or watered-down. However, I cannot judge Gayle. She appeared composed and convicted in everything she said. I am very proud to see her standing up for herself in such a dignified and articulate manner. I surely wouldn’t want to do it!!

  2. Susan Hundley says:

    I saw the Oprah interview and thought Gayle’s response was excellent.

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