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Kristy Woudstra

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I Know Why Rob Ford's Wife Stays By His Side

Posted: 11/08/2013 12:39 pm

As I stood in the Huffington Post newsroom on Wednesday, watching Rob Ford admit on live television to smoking crack cocaine, I didn't think about all his lies, I didn't think about what an embarrassment he is, I didn't think about the fact he needs some serious help. Nope, those thoughts came later. What I thought about then and there was Ford's wife, Renata.

Until about 10 years ago, I would have wondered "how on earth does a woman stay with a man like that?" I would have thought of her as weak for not leaving him -- a man who's been in numerous public "drunken stupors," a man who was charged with assault after police were called to their home, a man who confesses to smoking crack. No woman should stand for that, right? She should kick him to the curb or take her kids and run, right?

But I know better than that now. I was married to an alcoholic for 12 years, and I didn't leave.

Living with an alcoholic is draining. It slowly chipped away at me until I was a pile of rubble. By the end of it, I was an emotional mess and wasn't sure what I thought or who I was.

Alcoholics are fantastic at the bait and switch and trying to get a straight answer from my ex was like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall. If he came home two hours late with no explanation, and I dared to ask where he was or why he didn't answer his mobile, I never got a straight answer. Somehow, he would manage to turn it back on me: "Why don't you trust me? I thought we were on the same team here."

After he walked out (yup, he left me), I finally went through all his bank statements only to discover he was spending $1,000 to $1,500 at the Beer store and LCBO every month for about a year. When I confronted him, he sneered: "I don't have a problem, I just like to have a good time."

And the fact that he'd taken out a line of credit without my knowledge, racked up his credit cards and had put us nearly $40,000 in debt? He told me that he'd put more than that amount into the renovations he'd made to the house. There was no point in arguing with him. Nothing. Was ever. His fault.

During our marriage, he had slowly isolated me from many people. He had me convinced his family hated me and his friends could barely tolerate me. I didn't really have anyone to talk to or listen to. Where would I even start in explaining the whole mess anyway? All I could hear were his words: "You don't know how good you have it. You are so lucky to have me for a husband."

Before he left, he'd come home at least three times a week unable to walk straight or form a complete sentence. When I'd ask him if he was drinking, he'd flat out deny it, saying he was just tired and stressed. I honestly thought I was going insane. I would start to watch other people carefully when they said they were tired, hoping they'd act like he did to prove he wasn't lying.

Was I stupid to believe him? To not trust my gut that something was horribly, horribly wrong? Sure, if you take out all the emotion, abuse, fear, isolation and loneliness, you could say I was beyond stupid. But I think of it more as willful ignorance -- I simply didn't want to see it.

We were married young. I had just turned 20 the month before we tied the knot. We were nearing our 12th anniversary when he suddenly left on an April afternoon in 2007, stating he no longer loved me and would never return. Leading up to that, I didn't want my marriage to fall apart. I had too much time invested in it and in him. I had made a commitment and, most importantly, I couldn't imagine being a single parent (our daughter was only 20 months old).

After hearing that I was the problem all along for so many years, I truly believed it. Besides, I was lucky to have him as a husband, wasn't I?

So when I stood there, listening to Ford tell the mob of reporters, "I wasn't lying. You didn't ask the correct questions. No, I'm not an addict and no I do not do drugs"... it was like listening to my ex deny, deny, deny being drunk or having a problem of any kind.

It's infuriating to listen to. Just imagine living with it every day.

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  • Lisi Meets Ford At Soccer Game

    On June 26, 2013, police were using plane and ground surveillance to follow Alexander Lisi. They tracked him to a kids' soccer game, where he met Ford and then dropped off a white plastic bag in the mayor's Escalade.

  • The Esso Meet

    On July 11, 2013, police obtained the CCTV footage from a gas station near Ford's home. The screengrabs from the footage show Ford entering the Esso and heading for the bathroom.

  • The Esso Meet

    Shortly afterwards, Lisi enters the gas station and is seen holding a manila envelope. After buying some drinks and chips, he leaves the gas station and walks along the passenger side of Ford's parked Escalade and out of frame.

  • Dry Cleaning?

    On July 16, 2013, police cameras watch as Lisi drops off a bag at Richview Cleaners. The documents note that a source has told police that "Lisi will deliver marihuana to the cleaners in bags or wrapped up in clothing."

  • Nighttime Visit

    On July 23, 2013, police cameras watch as Ford arrives at Lisi's home at 9:30pm. At 11:10pm, Lisi walks him back to his car and the mayor drives off.

  • Parking Lot Meeting

    On July 28, 2013, aerial surveillance cameras capture images of Lisi meeting with Ford in a school parking lot. Lisi gets into the mayor's car with a white plastic bag.

  • You're On Candid Camera

    Police documents show the mayor "walks to the treed area (where Lisi's vehicle is parked), urinates then returns to the driver's seat of the Escalade".

  • Garbage Pick-Up

    On Aug. 13, 2013, police watched as Lisi and Ford met in suburban Weston Wood Park, and stayed there for about an hour. After they left, police picked up a vodka bottle and a juice bottle.

  • Another Meeting

    On Aug. 14, 2013, CCTV cameras at a Petro Canada show Lisi meeting up with an unknown man and appearing to pass him something at the gas station pumps.

  • UP NEXT: Rob Ford Shoves Photographers

  • City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, right, pushes members of the media off his property as he leaves his home in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013.

  • City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, right, pushes members of the media off his property as he leaves his home in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013.

  • City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, right, reacts to the media to get off his property as he leaves his home in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013.

  • City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, right, reacts to the media to get off his property as he leaves his home in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013.

  • City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reacts to the media to get off his property as he leaves his home in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013.

  • City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford leaves his home in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013.

  • Mayor Rob Ford talks to media at City Hall in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013. Ford says he has no reason to step down despite police confirmation that they have seized a video media have alleged appears to show him smoking crack cocaine.

  • Mayor Rob Ford talks to media at City Hall in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013. Ford says he has no reason to step down despite police confirmation that they have seized a video media have alleged appears to show him smoking crack cocaine.

  • Toronto Police Service released documents Thursday morning, Oct. 31, 2013 that show police surveillance photos of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (left) and Alexander Lisi, Ford's friend and occasional driver.

  • Toronto Police Service released documents Thursday morning, Oct. 31, 2013 that show police surveillance photos of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (left) and Alexander Lisi, Ford's friend and occasional driver.

  • City of Toronto police chief Bill Blair speaks to the media in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013 regarding a recovered video file involving Mayor Rob Ford.

  • UP NEXT: The Best Photos From The Rob Ford Crack Scandal

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford at a press conference at City Hall in response to possible provincial funding cuts to the city.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford leaves after making an appearance at the raising of the Rainbow flag to kick off Pride Week festivities on the Podium roof at City Hall.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford takes in the Argo game in the stands at Varsity Stadium Toronto, June 20, 2013.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford takes in the Argo game in the stands at Varsity Stadium on June 20, 2013.

  • Mayor Rob Ford shares a laugh with General Richard Rohmer, left, and Chief Paul Raftis during speeches as Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) celebrated the graduation of 40 new paramedics at EMS headquarters. Ford later ducked the media by leaving through a secured exit.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford steps off an art installation of the rooster bust at Nathan Phillips Square. The rooster is the Mayor's birth sign under the Chinese Zodiac. The Mayor unveiled 12 bronze animal heads by renown Chinese artists Ai Weiwei presented by AGO. The 12 sculptures are animal heads depicting the Chinese Zodiac.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford touches the nose of a new rat at City Hall. The Mayor unveiled 12 bronze animal heads by renown Chinese artists Ai Weiwei presented by AGO. The 12 sculptures are animal heads depicting the Chinese Zodiac.

  • A police officer from Toronto Police Integrated Gun and Gang Task Force picks up an assault rifle as police display guns seized during a series of raids for operation "Project Traveller" at a news conference in Toronto on Friday, June 14, 2013. Police say a violent gang which was terrorizing a northwest Toronto neighborhood has been dismantled following a series of raids targeting suspected drug and gun traffickers. One of the raids targeted an apartment complex where an alleged video appearing to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine was reported to be located. Police haven't said if Ford was in any way part of their year-long investigation.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford answers questions about the three new staffers he has hired at a news conference at city hall in Toronto on Friday, May 31, 2013.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford whistles as he walks to a meeting at city hall in Toronto on Thursday, May 30, 2013. More staffers are leaving the Toronto mayor's office as controversy swirls about a video that purportedly shows Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford emerges from his office holding slices of a birthday cake to offer to members of the media at city hall in Toronto on Tuesday May 28, 2013. The mayor is celebrating his 44th birthday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford attends an Executive Committee meeting at city hall in Toronto on Tuesday, May 28, 2013. This is Ford's first meeting with his executive committee since allegations of Ford's videotaped drug use surfaced earlier this month. Ford has denied the drug-use allegations, making a statement late last week after six members of his executive committee urged him to publicly address the allegations following a week of mostly silence on the issue. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford sits during a City council meeting at Toronto City Hall on Tuesday May 21, 2013. Ford ignored a crush of reporters waiting outside his city hall office this morning in the hopes he would address allegations that he was recorded on video appearing to smoke crack cocaine. (AP Photo/THE CANADIAN PRESS,Nathan Denette)

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford arrives at City Hall in Toronto amid allegations of crack cocaine use on Friday May 17, 2013, in Toronto. Published reports say a video appears to show Ford smoking crack cocaine. Ford called the allegations ridiculous. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford leaves his home on Friday, May 17, 2013, after published reports said a video appears to show Ford smoking crack cocaine. A report published Thursday night said the video is being shopped around by a group of men allegedly involved in the drug trade. The Toronto Star said, however, it had no way to verify the video. Ford called the allegations ridiculous. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • Mayor Rob Ford in Council Chambers talking to councillors about seniors and housing. Earlier today Toronto Police launched massive predawn raid, as part of Project Traveller, targeting guns and drugs, and focusing on the Toronto neighbourhood thats ground zero for the Mayor Rob Ford crack video scandal. (Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

  • Mayor Rob Ford in Council Chambers talking to councillors about seniors and housing. Earlier today Toronto Police launched massive predawn raid, as part of Project Traveller, targeting guns and drugs, and focusing on the Toronto neighbourhood thats ground zero for the Mayor Rob Ford crack video scandal. (Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

  • Mayor Rob Ford in Council Chambers talking to councillors about seniors and housing. Earlier today Toronto Police launched massive predawn raid, as part of Project Traveller, targeting guns and drugs, and focusing on the Toronto neighbourhood thats ground zero for the Mayor Rob Ford crack video scandal. (Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

  • As city council debates whether or not the University of Toronto back campus field should have a heritage designation and be prevented from being converted to an artificial turf field for the Pan Am games, Rob Ford, Earl Provost and Doug Ford have an animated discussion on top of the Podium roof at City Hall. Ford is currently embroiled in a scandal after allegations surfaced that he was recorded on a cellphone video at this house smoking crack cocaine. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

  • As city council debates whether or not the University of Toronto back campus field should have a heritage designation and be prevented from being converted to an artificial turf field for the Pan Am games, Rob Ford, Earl Provost and Doug Ford have an animated discussion on top of the Podium roof at City Hall. Ford is currently embroiled in a scandal after allegations surfaced that he was recorded on a cellphone video at this house smoking crack cocaine. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

  • Mayor Rob Ford looks over Ontario Minor Football League standings while council breezes through a series of minor motions before the University of Toronto back campus field debate resumes at City Hall. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford looks at his tie during a city hall meeting. Today It was made public that Toronto City Councillor Jaye Robinson was fired from the mayor's executive committee. Ford is currently embroiled in a scandal after allegations surfaced that he was recorded on a cellphone video smoking crack cocaine. Robinson publicly urged Ford to take a leave of absence to deal with the scandal. (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Eugene Jones Jr., President and CEO of Toronto Community Housing, hold a press conference to discuss the ombudsman report on community housing at Old City Hall. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

  • Elena Johnson, 51, a resident at 15 Windsor Road, where Mayor Rob Ford was photographed with murder victim Anthony Smith and another shooting victim. The house is notorious for drug problems, according to people living in the area. Ford is currently embroiled in a scandal after allegations surfaced that he was recorded on a cellphone video at this house smoking crack cocaine. (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

  • Reporters keep a watchful eye on the house which is all quiet.The house at 15 Windsor Road in Etobicoke where Mayor Rob Ford was allegedly photographed in relation to crack use is seen the morning after the Star published the address. June 6, 2013. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford tours the Dufferin Street bridge just south of Springhurst Avenue. The Mayor addressed the media about the closing of the bridge on June 12 due to safety concerns. It will be closed to traffic to allow for repairs. The bridge will still be open to pedestrians and cyclist. Ford is currently embroiled in a scandal after allegations surfaced that he was recorded on a cellphone video smoking crack cocaine and making offensive remarks (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

  • A man identified by friends and neighbours as Fabio Basso, a resident of 15 Windsor Road, in Etobicoke, the address where a photo showing Mayor Rob Ford with two shooting victims was taken. Ford is currently embroiled in a scandal after allegations surfaced that he was recorded on a cellphone video in front of this house smoking crack cocaine and making offensive remarks. (Toronto Star Archives/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

  • A woman identified by friends and neighbours as Elena Basso, a resident of 15 Windsor Road, in Etobicoke, the address where a photo showing Mayor Rob Ford with two shooting victims was taken. Ford is currently embroiled in a scandal after allegations surfaced that he was recorded on a cellphone video in front of this house smoking crack cocaine and making offensive remarks. (Toronto Star Archives/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

 

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