It’s been over 30 years, and I could live very well on the $16,000 a month...not even increasing it for inflation, which would be over $33K a month now.
Look, Dan was an ass. But Betty knew he was an ass, and she knew that he was having an affair. She was deluded to think he was going to buy her a ring which I can only assume must have been outrageously expensive at that point in their marriage. He wanted OUT.
I don’t like Dan. I think he took great pleasure in seeing Betty squirm. He liked the fight (he thrived on it, in fact). He was not a good parent to those kids or they’d have been better cared for. He had the money to have a nanny to help those boys with their bath times, their homework, and keep them home from school when they were sick. He just didn’t care enough to be bothered. He also used them as weapons against their mother, allowing and perhaps (probably?) even encouraging those phone calls to go to that level. He was a creep...mean, unkind to the point of blatant cruelty, and vindictive as hell, with his little fines against his wife of many years, the mother of his children. He still didn’t deserve what Betty did to him.
I understand some of Betty’s frustrations. I divorced my husband of about 14 years in the early 90’s. I, too, had been a stay-home wife and mom. I had no money, no job, no resources. My ex didn’t make anything like Dan Broderick levels of money, but he sure tried to keep every penny he could. I hated his guts at that point (and for a long time after). But I took great pleasure in finding out what all he had squirreled away (while we were married and living on a dime) and In getting my half of it. I loved seeing the bitter twist of his smile when I pointed out in our settlement conference that both attorneys had missed adding in one of the accounts, nearly costing me a few thousand dollars. He had worked hard for “his” money, in his opinion, and I didn’t deserve any of it. Guess again.
Bette had a couple of really great attorneys in there, and she could have actually screwed Dan to the wall, if she had been willing to cooperate. But she didn’t just want Dan’s money and their kids, despite her saying so. She wanted to still be Mrs. Dan Broderick, to be attending the parties and the charity events on his arm, to be able to name drop her way in to clubs and parties by virtue of her marriage. Instead, that went to Linda.
She just didn’t have the mindset to be happy with a huge chunk of money, the kind that would have given her a great deal of freedom to travel and live well with her children and whatever man she chose. She wanted what she wanted, and nothing else would do.
I think it’s really telling that, in interviews for the first several years after her incarceration, at least, she expressed how happy she was in prison, and that she didn’t really want to get out. It was never about living well for Betty, it was about getting her way. And her way was for Dan (and Linda) to not be allowed to live happily together. Mrs. Daniel T. Broderick III was her title alone, and once she made sure that no one else could ever claim it again, she was at peace.
Personally, I’d have taken every dime I could get and enjoyed the hell out of knowing he and Linda weren’t getting it. But then, I’m not unhinged.