Dr Phil’s second marriage to wife Robin has lasted for 40 years now. His first barely survived three. Despite occasional divorce rumours throughout the years, the McGraws still seem to be going strong. They even sued the National Enquirer to put an end to some malicious rumours.
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A brief marriage to Debbie
In high school, Phil McGraw, who later became world-famous simply as Dr Phil, was a prominent football player. As such things go, his girlfriend was a cheerleader and she was also the homecoming queen at some point. Her name was Debbie Higgins McCall and somehow the two thought it a good idea to get married in 1970 at the age of only 20.
It took barely three years for the two to discover that their marriage was not going to work out. What had they been thinking?
Many years later Debbie went on to claim that Phil had been a domineering husband, who had wanted her to stay at home, lose weight and lift weights to improve her bustline.
Phil never commented on these allegations and only said that the two never had a cross word about their separation, instead simply sitting down and agreeing to end things. In fact, the marriage was annulled instead of divorced.
It has been claimed, though, that Phil had met Robin prior to ending his first marriage and that it was his philandering and straying eye that led to the break-up to begin with. You’ll see why that seems a little bit hard to believe.
40 years with Robin
It is true that Phil met Robin whilst he was in the process of dissolving his first marriage. That was in 1973. But the two decided to figure out their relationship for over two years before they actually got married.
Speaking candidly on their marriage back in 2007, Robin talked about how they went into they lived in their relationship for two years, trying to figure out what kind of husband and wife they wanted to be and how they wanted to make their marriage work. Phil added that it was important to realize what expectations a couple can have of each other and what was unrealistic. And only once they had come to an agreement, did the two actually marry. That was in 1976.
In 1979 their first son Jay was born. Jordan followed in 1986.
Whilst Robin chose the life of a stay-at-home mom, Phil studied psychology and later experimental psychology, obtaining his PhD in 1979. His TV career was launched almost by accident in 1995 when Oprah had him over as a guest on her show and was so impressed with him that he came back for weekly appearances. Only in 2002 did he go on to host his own show, which has been handing out life advice ever since.
Famously, Robin is always there when a show is being taped, either behind the scenes or sitting in the audience. Whilst she may have been a stay-at-home mom for many years, she also ended up giving advice when it came to relationships and child-rearing topics.
She’s always been incredibly supportive of her husband, in good times and in bad times. And he has courted controversy throughout the years, as it was.
Indeed, Dr Phil and his wife Robin are very good when it comes to presenting a united front. Regardless of the rumours, they have faced about marriage troubles throughout the years, they’ve always shown up side by side.
In 2016, then, the two had enough when it came to nasty rumours about their relationship, business practices and ethics on his TV show. They filed a defamation suit for damages in excess of $250 million against AMI, the publisher of The National Enquirer.
They claimed that the nasty and unfounded rumours the Enquirer has published over the years had done serious damage to the couple’s personal and professional reputations, causing “stress, emotional distress, and other pain and suffering.”
The Enquirer hit back by publishing an article that claimed all the allegations they’ve been making throughout the years have been “100% true”. And indeed, many of the allegations could be confirmed, but they still remained nothing more than allegations and could not possibly be sold as cold, hard facts, which is what the National Enquirer had done.
In the end, the two parties ended up settling for an undisclosed amount.
Onward and upward
Two years after that lawsuit Phil and Robin appear to be still happily married. The couple will celebrate the 42nd anniversary this year and there are absolutely no signs that the two will ever get a divorce. After so many years together, they’ve been through it all and it seems extremely unlikely that Robin would give up her life as his wife this late in the game. Dr Phil doesn’t have the greatest reputation. Regardless of rumours that have swirled around about his personality and character, his practices as a psychologist have been called into question many times over the years, ending up in suits against him on numerous occasions.
Still, his wife has stuck by his side and it would be a huge surprise if she changed her mind after 45 years with him.
The way things are, the couple is likely to celebrate the Golden Wedding Anniversary on his TV show, if it is still around by that time.