Do Any Of Us Really Know The Person We Married?
Of course I want to believe I know all there is to truly know about my husband. That I’ve uncovered every annoying idiosyncrasy and been privy to the dark secrets he's held deep in the recesses of his heart. I want to believe if there were signs that his behavior was off, that his actions would foreshadow his deadly intentions. I feel like I know this man better than I know myself, and yet there are certain moments when I look at him, and I feel like there's this layer I have yet to peel away. That even after all these years there are still secrets I have yet to discover.
I bristle at the thought that this man, with whom I've shared the most intimate moments of my life and lay in bed with each night and close my eyes without fear, might slash my throat or defile me with some other sinister act - could at the same time have the presence of mind to kill me. And yet, read the news, watch a handful of Lifetime movies, and this phenomenon of men slashing their wives throats and hacking their lifeless bodies into pieces are unfortunately more commonplace than any of us who are living in our protective bubble of ignorance and matrimony care to acknowledge.
And that's the weird part about entering into a marital union -- you think you know someone enough to take vows of monogamy, but ultimately you enter into the union with this sort of blind faith and trust. You put your confidence in another human being that they will not forsake you and that regardless of whatever temptations, fears, or sinister demons they harbor they will be honest enough with you to talk about their feelings rather than committing the ultimate unthinkable act.
And having all these feelings is why screening the film Fatal Honeymoon had me squirming in my seat.
In the original Lifetime film, Fatal Honeymoon, premiering on August 25th, Alabama couple Gabe Watson (actor Billy Miller) and his new bride, 26 year-old Tina Watson (actress Amber Clayton), married just 11 days, go on their dream honeymoon to scuba dive near Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Tina drowns in what appears to be a freak accident. With authorities puzzled over Gabe’s inconsistent statements about Tina’s death, her father Tommy Thomas (Harvey Keitel) begins to suspect Gabe may have murdered his daughter. When an underwater photo of Tina lying motionless on the ocean floor emerges, Australian authorities begin to suspect foul play, charge Gabe with his wife’s death and extradite him to their country, where he eventually pleads guilty to manslaughter and serves 18 months in prison. Alabama prosecutors, agreeing with Tommy’s suspicion Tina was murdered, and Gabe had possibly planned it before they left the state, decide to pursue murder charges in the United States. But, due to lack of evidence, the judge dismisses the case – causing many to wonder what a jury would’ve made of the evidence and leaving Tommy with more unanswered questions about what actually happened to his daughter on her honeymoon.
When I recently chatted with Billy Miller about playing the real life Gabe Watson, Miller admitted while Watson does appear to be a man with demons there could be many sides to this story.
“As a guy from the South—I thought what if he didn’t do it," says Miller. "What if he freaked out and panicked and left his wife-- and how would he handle that guilt and shame. Maybe he was just a guy trying to cover up a massive mistake- or was he a guy who was trying to get away with murder.”
So the real question…did this husband do the unthinkable? Here was Billy’s take.
“I think everyone has a dark side that could come out and whether or not it was neglectful homicide I think he did love his wife,” says Miller. “But I do believe everyone could be capable of the unthinkable.”
For me this was both a difficult, interesting and tragic story.
Unfortunately there is no possible way we will know what happened in that water, but it is certainly a movie that provides us with insight into the mind of a married man and the unraveling of a marriage.