How long had everyone known each other before the affair?  

I didn’t know this doctor until our second child was born.  I met him in the hospital room with my wife and our baby daughter.  My wife met him after the birth of our first child and just before our daughter’s birth.  After the daughter’s birth in 1976 he and his wife bought a home in our neighborhood – three doors down and across the street.  On several occasions we and they dined out together, going to a movie afterwards. That’s all I knew about him.  

In the book, the way you describe figuring out that there was an affair happening, it almost sounds like you divined it. What things/ what memories clicked that day? What red flags came together?

It was not my imagination at all!  As I shared in the opening paragraph of the Book while swinging the children, it suddenly came to me what the problem was between my wife and myself, or more specifically who the problem was, by considering the facts and by deductive reasoning.  My wife’s doctor, the man who had delivered our second child was having intercourse with her.  It was not my imagination at all. My observations were that she wasn’t speaking to me, she was unwilling to have any constructive dialogue, she was distant, cold, calloused, indifferent.  I could literally feel the burn of her scorn.  I felt I had become an obstacle in her way to him.  She had refused to go to marriage counseling.  She had told me she didn’t love me any longer.  She had moved me out of our bedroom to an empty room upstairs.  She had asked me to come home early on Wednesday afternoons to keep the children for her while she went out “shopping”.  It didn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to solve this mystery.

How long had the affair been going on before you suspected?

I’ve only been able to surmise that the relationship started just a couple of months before December 1978 when it suddenly dawned on me what was going on.  I missed a lot of signs, I am sure, but at some point – the precise moment has always been a puzzle to me – she and her doctor’s relationship became much more than just patient and friend. 

Walk us through why you decided on a wire tap?

When it dawned on me what was going on, as I was swinging the children in the backyard that cold day in December 1978, I knew that I had lost my wife, that the children were all I had and they were at risk, and that it would be my word against hers (theirs).  I knew this would be litigated and I was toast unless I could deliver incontrovertible evidence that would sway a judge.  My testimony alone would not be enough. After all, I was facing a renowned medical doctor and a woman, who because of her gender, would typically get custody of the children.   To better my chances of success, I needed an advantage. The only way I could do this was to know the details of what was going on. I needed to know what they were saying to one another, what they were planning; and in order to get those details, I had to hear what they were saying to each other.  As important, if not more so, would be my ability to produce proof – evidence.  And, this would require a wire tap of their conversations.  I had no idea how instrumental the wiretap would be, nor the issues it would cause me.  But, that didn’t matter.  As I’ve said, my children were at risk and I didn’t stand a chance unless I took action that gave me some advantage. I also understood the importance of being able to coordinate information gleaned from the wiretap with detectives and attorney I knew I would be employing.   

Can you explain a little more about how you knew the friend that covered for Linda?
Follow up- Did you have any dealings with her after the events of the book? By the sound of it, she was excited to be part of Linda’s affair.

The friend, Susan Johnson, was actually someone I had introduced my wife to 10 years earlier.  I was a real estate broker and I sold Susan and her husband their home.  They lived in an adjacent neighborhood.  They had moved to Florence from New Jersey, which is where my wife was from.  They were the same age as my wife.  They were Catholics.  My wife was Catholic.  They had children of similar ages to ours.  They had lots of things in common.  I had no dealings with them after the events related in the book; however, they attended the weddings of my two children in later years and I saw them, of course, at these events and we were cordial.  My daughter has told me recently that had she known the details related in this book about Susan, that she would not have invited her (and her husband) to her wedding. 

During the recorded conversations, the most common thing they talk about is sex. But the second most common subject is you. Please take us to that moment when you are in your closet, listening to these conversations for the first time and walk us through what that felt like? What was going through your mind?

It was a very painful moment. It was heartbreaking and maddening. The conversations were shocking, revealing, and provided information that crystallized my determination to obtain custody of the children.  The initial conversation started with the doctor asking her where “Doohicky” was (meaning me, of course, which was insulting and offensive – being addressed this way in my own home).  And, then the conversation progressed quickly to moving me out of the house so the doctor could get to her more easily.  Then, their conversation pivoted to his favorite topic: sex.  My wife’s compliant and supportive responses were even more devastating to me.  His conversations didn’t sound like the kind of conversation a prominent physician should be having with his patient. He had a myopic focus on sex and a one-track mind. He spoke and acted as he thought.   And it didn’t sound like a conversation my wife would condone. It was beyond me.  She was obviously subjecting herself to the whims of this repulsive deviate; compliant to his urges.  So, yes, the reality of the wiretap content yielded clarity of what actions I had to take next to gain whatever evidence I could to support my claims.  

Why do you think you were a fairly common subject, but Dr Ewing’s wife, Louise, only came up about twice?

I was in his way!   She wasn’t!  Dr.Ewing’s wife was inconsequential as she presented no threat to the two of them.  Dr. Ewing could have behaved the way he acted throughout his lifetime with the complicit wife he had. He controlled her; but could not control me; and for a control-freak, that was problematic.  I was the threat!  I was the obstacle. I was the problem for them – the one who would create the most resistance, as was ultimately proven.  

It’s mentioned  that Dr Ewing had other affairs. Did his wife know of these? Did you?

I’ve never known what his wife knew and did not know; and No, I didn’t know anything about him but that he was my wife’s obstetrician.  Of course, once the papers that were served on his wife, in his absence (papers meaning my lawsuit against him) she became aware of this affair.  And, later with all of the publicity in newspapers and on TV, and ultimately Medical Board actions taken against him, of course, his multiple patients, at least eight volunteering to come forward, all became public.  I’m sure his wife learned of these affairs as the actions taken against him by the Medical Board were printed verbatim in newspapers across the country.   

Most of the events happen around Christmas and New Years. Linda and Dr Ewing also saw each other twice on the day of your 11th wedding anniversary. Because of the process unfolding, you had to play dumb to even being suspicious. You even had to offer the man a soda after they concocted a plan to test your suspicions. How on earth did you deal with that?

The importance of the children and convergence of events crystallized as kryptonite.  I had to summon super human abilities.  For those 25 days I was in a zone in which I could never have imagined myself .  I had to be an Oscar-winning performer!  And, to my amazement I was able to contend for that award.  I knew the role I had to play.  I set my innermost emotions aside in order to play the part.  My children meant the world to me.  My family meant the world to me.  I would have given my life  – for my wife, prior to all of this.  Having been treated as badly as I had been by her for months, but now knowing she did not love me any longer, and was intent on Ewing replacing me in her life and in the lives of my children, I was fearful for the children and fearful for myself in losing the children and becoming a visiting parent and having no further impact on their lives.   They were only 4 and 2 years old at the time.  All the impressionable years were ahead.  In the first chapter of this book, there is discussion of how derelict this doctor was with his own children.  He and his wife and kids were neighbors.  His kids were at our home all the time because they couldn’t get attention at home.  I was almost a surrogate father to his son because of the father’s neglect.  I felt a desperation for the safety and well-being of my children.  They just couldn’t fall into his hands, which appeared from her choices to be what was happening. The children were at risk.  Her resolve to continue the relationship was obvious.  She was not going to reverse herself.  I had to have time to build my case.  I had to be equally as determined  as her by keeping all I knew to myself.  That was the only option I had. 

Chapter 12, Linda asks if “we can try again”. At that point you present these conflicting emotions; “It was very very painful, but I turned her away. I had condemned my family forever”. Can you please explain what you meant? Do you feel like you are really the person who condemned your family?  

I think on a purely intellectual level, no, I know I didn’t condemn my family.  On an emotional level in that moment, yes – that’s what it felt like.  But she, along with him, planned and schemed to get rid of me. Without a father, we don’t have a family. That’s condemning.  Her idea of trying again was – if you take me back, then I will drop him.  That’s a Quid Pro Quo.  And I wasn’t negotiating with her and wasn’t going to accept that.  I wanted her to express some sincerity.  And because she wouldn’t or couldn’t , she condemned her family.  

When she asked “if we could try again,” this was well-into the events. In fact it was the night following my confrontation with her earlier that same day, when, “the jig was up”, and she finally knew I knew everything. And, by the way, her only comment to me along with her excuse, “Could we try again” was that “It was just a romantic thing.”   I did (technically) turn her offer down, when I had the opportunity to accept her back and try to make a go at it – to keep our family together.  That was always my hope and prayer, but this had to be confirmed with some genuine show of sincerity which never was. This was really the saddest and most pivotal moment of the entire experience; but I still, this many years later, believe I know I made the correct decision.  As I stated in the book, her words rung artificial in my head.  They came way to late; fell far too short of what needed to have been said.  I had essentially begged her for several months to come back to me.  I had made persistent efforts to retrieve her love without any sustaining response from her.  She had been insensitive, brazen and belligerent, unwilling to take any action toward reconciliating, to admit any responsibility or that she had been wrong.  She hadn’t said any of the things I would have said had I been in her position: that this was all a terrible mistake, that she wanted her family back, that she would get him out of her life.  She expressed no sorrow, no remorse, offered no apologies, and had not asked for forgiveness. In fact, she had exhibited no sense of decency in her treatment of me.  If she had expressed some sorrow or remorse or apologies, I may have seen her as authentic, but she came across as a phony. I had never seen this before in our marriage. She broke down because she had been found out, not because she was sorry for what she did.  She had become a different person.  I knew she didn’t have it in her heart and in her conscience to be sincere.  She, along with him, had planned and schemed to get rid of me, to oust me (but let me babysit for her in the future, they discussed).  I couldn’t get out of my mind the solid month or more of incessant love-making between the two of them.  My attorney had warned me about cohabitating with her – that this would constitute a forgiveness by the court of all that had been done and would negate all that had been accomplished.  This would jeopardize the children; and I wasn’t risking them.  Her asking me to “try again” and my sending her away was definitely the saddest moment of my life, a moment that is seared into my memory and soul. I had turned her away; but, her true self was now too well displayed – and I had no choice.  If I had taken her back, all would have been forgiven and she could deceive me again in the future, reconnect with him – and they would get the children.  I had no confidence in her sincerity; zero trust.  She condemned the family; not me.  

There is a feeling of outrage in the book on the part of companies and news outlets at recording devices being available and used in the way they were in your case. There are people who would say that even between husband and wife, wiretapping a phone in this way is a criminal invasion of privacy. Today that would probably equate to gaining access to their spouses social media. I’d be very surprised if no one has given you any dirty comments or looks for it. How would you respond to that?

Yes, it opened a pandora’s box and caused major companies to push back.  At the time, I was vindicated by the South Carolina courts, Supreme Court and the US Supreme court with their rulings in my favor; so, I have that to validate the correctness of what I did and I remain grateful for the way things developed.   

Initially the court sided with you in the wire tapping issue. But in later years they would change their mind. Did it bother you when the court reversed their position on wiretapping?

No, because the favorable ruling had served my purposes at the time and, later, because people used the case to justify wiretapping and it became a license to abuse the rights of others, I felt the reversal was justified. In fact, it was only twelve to sixteen months after they ruled in my favor that the decision was reversed and any form of wiretapping became illegal.  It must always be remembered  that the circumstances of my case were unusual; the courts ruled specifically that the telephone was in my name, it was on wires within the confines of my home, it was my only defense, she and I were still living together in the same home at that time, and that the doctor, simply, was not entitled to privacy within the confines of my home.   I’ve always felt relief that the events that occurred in my case predated the court’s reversal on wiretapping.  It was a close call for me!  At the time of the court reversal in 1981, my attorney commented to me that if I had done what I did in December 1978, that I’d go to jail. 

You had a very public divorce. With media and newspaper coverage because of the wiretapping that took place. So I imagine there was no way to keep things private. How did your closest friends and family react to the news of your divorce and the situation? I imagine your own parents found out first since they are mentioned in the book, which took place over the holidays. How did they react? How did your extended family react? Did they all learn the details?

At the time, and largely to this current day, I only discussed the circumstances with my parents and a sister, without providing them specific details as revealed in the book.  They were my support system.  They, of course, were deeply disappointed and hurt by the facts, but they did as I did, moving forward with the  welfare of the children as our focus;  just determined to provide as much support as I might have needed at the time.  Only now, with the revelation of the details in this book, is the extended family learning of the facts – and only a few who have any lingering interest after all these years.   

I imagine that with that much publicity, it was also impossible to keep things from your kids. How old were they when they learned all the details? Have they read your book?

The children were never provided the details. They learned of only bits and pieces of general details over the many years.  However, both have read the book today and so they are informed of the specific details only now. 

What do you think would have been your chances of getting full custody of your children without the wiretapping?

Zero. Without the evidence that was collected, all coordinated as a result of the wiretap, it is not likely I would have gotten the children. 

How is your children’s relationship with you and Linda today?

The children’s relationship with me today is everything I would hope for.  They have always known of my love for them and that their welfare has always been my first priority.  They were given every opportunity to grow into well-adjusted adults capable of achieving the very best of their talents and capabilities.  They are both college graduates with business degrees. My son is the IT Manager in a law firm of 48 attorneys in Asheville, NC.  My daughter resigned her position with a national Insurance company some 15 years, after having served as their Human Resources Manager, to have her own children where she remains a full-time mother and wife.  Both adult kids are loving, supportive, and appreciative for the lives they are enjoying.  My daughter has commented recently that what is most upsetting to her is that her mother gave up her and her brother, and our family, for a man as disreputable as is this doctor.  

Over the years, in their visitations with their Mother, they have learned things by experience about her personality and her values that they, themselves, do not align with; but they remain respectful of their mother.

Both of my adult children detest Dr. Ewing and have had serious issues with him. As a side interest in how the doctor’s own family thinks of him, his daughter has been estranged from him for over 25 years and she does not allow her children around him.  In fact, he has never met his only two grandchildren.  His son committed suicide in his early 20’s as a result of his father’s negative notoriety, all the bad publicity and neglect of this boy early-on.

Throughout the book there is a lot of emphasis on the deplorable actions of Dr Ewing. The words used to describe him include “deviant sex predator”, “depraved”, and “pervert”. Your negative feelings towards him are palpable and very understandable. By comparison, there is relatively little of the same condemnation placed on Linda. I’d say there’s maybe a third the amount of the negative emotion expressed towards her. Until Chapter 12 all rage felt directed at Dr Ewing. Until Chap 15, the harshest thing you called her was “Naive”.

I find this odd because, though I don’t want to excuse Dr Ewing, he’s not the one who married you, he’s not the one who had children with you, he’s not the one who betrayed you. That was all Linda. It was Linda who was supposed to be faithful. It was Linda who promised “I do”, until death, and it was her job to safeguard that relationship.

I’ve always, even from the very beginning, recognized all that you say here. I’ve had no delusions about these things.  Contrary to the above however, my first thoughts early-on when realizing what was occurring were thoughts of anger and disgust toward her.  I think a fair analysis of my comments of her and him would acknowledge that I expressed many complaints of her.  The book is replete with, maybe not as derisive labels as I attached to Ewing, but just as damning traits including  her being self-centered, irresponsible, narcissistic, having little or no conscience, being uncouth, lacking decency etc.  I even referred to her as being a “slut” (a very strong label to use), being arrogant, immoral, depraved, being a facilitator, having lost all sense of decency. I said she had almost descended to the doctor’s lowest level.  She had orchestrated some of their bawdy tyrsts. She had arranged an episode of documented debauchery in our home; that she had lost her values, was sex-addicted.  I acknowledged plenty of faults and that she was far from blameless.  But, he was in control and orchestrating things.  Throughout, she was passive.  He was aggressive.  He was the teacher.  She was the student. He was the villain.  She was the follower.  She was mindless and caved into his every whim to a fault.  He was in control.  She was controlled.  He exhibited blatant acts of control.  I loved her; not him. He was the proven sex-addict. This was pervasive throughout the story.  Everything and everybody was secondary to him.  His perverted, commanding persona dominated and everyone was expendable to him; all obvious from the record.  I think it is only natural that I would be more harsh with him under all these circumstances.

Alternatively, I had spent 12 years with her as a model couple with an idyllic lifestyle.  Before all of this, I loved my wife.  I had always loved her.  I couldn’t just automatically shift my feelings of her to those I had for him.   I was just hesitant to totally throw her under the bus.  I realize my hesitancy with her, in some instances, gives her unwarranted grace or an undeserved pass whereas, with him, I’ve given him no grace. I think this understandably demonstrates my raw emotions of his aggression.  After all, had he been a gentleman gynecologist, none of this would have happened. 

I have not seen pictures of Linda, but if she is as beautiful as you describe, then I doubt Dr Ewing was the only man who made romantic advances towards her. Dr Ewing only gained a foothold in her life because she allowed it. She could have stopped it at the first sign of flirting. Or she could have kept “innocently” flirting and stopped when touching started. She could have decided not to be alone with him like the employees of his office did. She could have stopped when they kissed. She could have stopped the first time they had sex. There were many places along the way where she could have stopped but instead allowed it to continue or even encouraged it, then became actively complicit. Why isn’t the same amount of anger and emotion aimed at her?

I don’t disagree with the above. And, I think I have already answered the question “why I don’t display the same amount of anger toward her that I do of him.”    I’m contemplating a 2nd edition to this book with an intriguing list of lessons learned from the story, of which there are many, and a list of questions, answers reflections prompted by many comments in reviews of the book posted on Amazon.   

“What lessons did you take away from this ordeal?

  • There are many lessons in this story; but, perhaps the comment I hear most and see predominantly in reviews of the book is that, in comparison to their own marriages, after having read this story, readers are more appreciative for the spouses they have.
  • We humans, when motivated, are capable of doing things we never thought possible before.
  • Persistence pays.
  • In the midst of circumstances like those in this story, (in the position of the protagonist) one may feel every emotion within the whole spectrum of human emotions; perhaps the most powerful emotion being anger – wanting to resort to violence, etc.; but, ultimately, by controlling one’s emotions and containing our worst impulses, we give ourselves the opportunity to take stock of our circumstances, to consider what is most important to us and to act with wiser discretion.  Sometimes this may only be to resolve issues.  But, in this case, it was being composed, and pursuing effective measures to outwit and outmaneuver the opponent – which was central to the story.
  • For those inclined toward self-centered behavior, this story gives pause for reflection on the myriad and immeasurable negative consequences of irresponsible and thoughtless actions such as those demonstrated by the antagonists in this story. 
  • For those who are aligned with the motivations and objectives of the protagonist in the story, the measures taken in defense provide a composed, commonsensical path to pursue.
  • This story reminds us that “What we do in life…echoes in eternity”; that we want to leave a better legacy than that which the antagonists are leaving for themselves.
  • One of the antagonists themselves, in the midst of the central plot of the story, had a foreboding observation and commented at a moment of circumspection that “You always know what you have, but you don’t know what you’re going to get, and get yourself into.”  This was a profound and wise observation which, unfortunately, was ignored, to the detriment of all.
  • The devastating effects of addiction to sex and pornography
  • Falling in “love” involves certain illusions; especially so if it is lust rather than love that has been fallen into.
  • The importance of awareness.
  • How difficult it is to return to normalcy once trust has been broken.
  • Knowing who you put your trust in. (know who you worship). 
  •  (one lesson worthy of discussion) Self-deception precedes the deception of others.
  • Good guys can finish first, despite overwhelming odds.
  • Long and hard is the fall of the high and mighty. (How the lofty in our society may not be so lofty (morally). 
  • The capacity for humans to be self-absorbed.
  • The importance of principle in all we do in life. 
  • That people are often able to conceal their real selves, keeping their true identity secret, until the right bad forces and influences arrive.
  • The story reminds us that out of bad can come good. 
  • It’s incredibly important in life to surround yourself with good people and professionals.
  • When you do the right things, right things happen.
  • And, ultimately, when we ignore the general lessons of the past, we do so at our peril and are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

You mentioned towards the end that what you had with Linda was special and you never wanted to settle for anything less than that. Is that really the full story? Is it that you never found anything as “good” or that you were no longer willing to invest yourself in the same way?

That’s the full story.  I’ve always believed I had the capacity to love again.  But, a high-bar had been set with Linda, in my experience, which was never matched again and I was unwilling to settle for anything less”.  Instead I’ve chosen gratitude for the joy and peace of our 12-1/2 good years together.”

A lot of people feel that all is lost after a divorce. How did you pick yourself back up? Where did you find support?

There was a huge vacuum in my life without a wife and partner. But, for me all was not lost.   Instead, in a way, all was gained because I had my children with me. With the children, I had a full time responsibility and, along with my regular job, the responsibilities consumed me.  I immersed myself in those responsibilities and just kept at it – that’s how I continued.  It wasn’t a matter of picking myself up. I just continued on.  And, initially I had support from a very loving family that I could count on – my mother, father, a sister. Consumed with parenting and raising healthy, mentally stable kids was my preoccupation. 

I can promise that someone who is going to listen to this, has a spouse who is having an affair. Or maybe is the spouse having the affair. They are looking at walking a similar path to the one you’ve taken. What advice would you give them?

My advice to the offender: Choose truth.  Think about what is real.  Think about what is most important to your family.  Avoid thinking of only yourself. 

Advice to the Offended:   Hire the best lawyer and best detectives you can find.

Can you tell us why you were so dead-set on getting custody of the children?

Not only was I the better parent, but she had become irresponsible and intended on his becoming the full-time custodian of my children and I could not allow my children to have their characters formed by this crass, foul-mouthed sleazy character who had no morals and talked as he did.  He was not committed to his own family and I knew he would not feel any more responsibility to mine.  All of this was eventually proven in later years.  His own daughter, based on her history with him, denied him access to her children.  He has never even met his natural grandchildren.  And, his son, in his early 20’s took his own life as a result of the bad publicity and other things that effected his life as he was growing up under this man’s influence.  And, of course, his wife divorced him. 

There was a point in the recording where Linda said you had a right to be mad, can you tell us more about that statement?

Well, she had just told him that I had been a good father, that I loved my children, that I had been good to her, that I would have a right to be upset about all this; that she had pretty much brought all this about; that she had never pushed me this far.  Perhaps that was an indication that she had some semblance of a conscience, however thin it may have been.

Which was more important to your objective(s); the wiretap or the evidence the detectives were gathering?

Both served vital purposes; the wiretap providing crucial information about what their plans were, allowing me to coordinate with the detectives in advance to capture the actual events as they occurred.  And, the evidence gathered by the detectives which documented the actual events in the process which became the hard evidence and proof of their illicit activities for the court to consider in their decision. 

You’ve been vilified for writing this book, disclosing the sordid details of these taped conversations, and for carrying out a vendetta to “smear the antagonists across the face of a book” and being unwilling to move on from the circumstances even after all these years.

Yes, for some, it is thought this story should not be told at all; that it is too sensitive of a topic to be aired in public. And, of course, we never know how the public is going to treat us!  Recognizing that and the expressed criticisms, to an extent, prevented me from exposing these details earlier.  Over time, I came to realize that I have a higher obligation (than just to myself or even my children who are adults themselves today and have children of their own); I had an obligation to society to reveal these details. 98% of those who have sent in Amazon reviews on the book agree the story should be told; that the details are illuminating and provide knowledge beneficial to everyone.  I believe the entire book exemplifies the extraordinary actions taken to protect my children, to protect myself and to move on with life in the most positive way possible; ultimately to share details of this story with the world, after 45 years of circumspection, for all the reasons stated in Chapter 19.