Coming out June 2, the upcoming Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story season covers one of the most litigious divorces in the 1980s, followed by a double homicide that rocked California and the country. Betty Broderick, scorned ex of well-known medical malpractice lawyer Daniel Broderick, entered the home Dan shared with new wife Linda Broderick in the middle of the night and killed them both. If you know the story, you probably already know the long saga of Betty and Daniel, but what of his new wife Linda (played by Rachel Keller), who was just 28 when she died?
Linda was from a strict Catholic family, and her mother died when she was 11, according to Hell Hath No Fury. She had a strong work ethic and started babysitting when she was a teenager, becoming a Delta stewardess after high school. She was asked to leave after she used profanity to another stewardess while flying as a passenger. She came to California in 1982, apparently following a relationship that ended.
That same year, Daniel Broderick hired the 22-year-old to be his legal assistant and, although the two denied getting together until the separation, clearly had something while he was married to Betty. Betty said later that during a vacation while the two were still married, "On the walk, he told me he didn’t love me anymore—in fact, he hated me." A short while later, she discovered after she came to his office to celebrate his birthday, that he'd already celebrated and was out with Linda.
Betty became agitated and volatile, setting fire to his clothes on the lawn while her children watched. The behavior escalated—leaving threatening, angry voicemails, defacing their property, even driving her car into the front of their new house.
It wasn't all just Betty, though—at the trial her housekeeper testified Linda came into Betty's house without permission and took documents. (Previously, Betty had taken the couple's wedding guest list from Daniel and Linda's home, so Linda may have been trying to retrieve it.) She then returned several hours later to put them back.
Linda was apparently so worried, she asked Daniel to wear a bulletproof vest for their wedding. Instead, the couple hired security, and Betty didn't appear. The behavior didn't improve after the wedding. "Books were disappearing from Linda’s bedside stand, right next to the bed,” friend Marshall Hockett told the L.A. Times. “She indicated to me they were surprised by the ex-wife in the house one night. It scared the hell out of her, and she asked me to speak to Dan about it. I didn’t, which I’ll probably regret for the rest of my life."
On November 5, 1989, Betty killed the couple—seven months after their wedding.
Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “The Bachelor” to Everlane to Meghan Markle. Igoe: “I go to the store,” not “Her huge ego."
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