Relationships

Groom Regrets Scandalous NY Times Wedding Story

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

A man who left his wife and three children for his current spouse regrets agreeing to a New York Times "Vows" section story profiling his new marriage.

Advertising executive John Partilla and former TV reporter Carol Anne Riddell both left their spouses so they could be together. The New York Times article detailing their love story created an uproar: New York Times Web site readers left comments such as, "Why does the Times glorify home-wrecking? Is it a sign of our times that personal responsibility to one's spouse and children takes a back seat to selfish, self-centered love?" Another commenter said, "I'm not sure this is the sort of thing I'd be proud to have published in the Times."

Partilla now says, "I think if we had had an indication afterwards of the nerve it would have struck, we obviously would not have shared our life in any way publicly." Riddell, however, stands by their decision to tell their story in the newspaper, telling Forbes magazine: "We did this because we just wanted one honest account of how this happened for our sakes and for our kids' sakes. ... There was nothing in the story we were ashamed of."

Riddell's ex-husband, media executive Bob Ennis, counters that the account in the New York Times was anything but honest. "People lie and cheat and steal all the time. That's a fact of life. But rarely does a national news organization give them an unverified megaphone to whitewash it," he told Forbes magazine's Jeff Bercovici.

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It does seem remarkably narcissistic and self-serving to publish an article in the New York Times about your new relationship when so many people, including your children, were wounded during the dissolution of your old one. As one commenter said, "In this case, where others were so hurt, perhaps a New York Times feature was not the most graceful choice."