I’ve always been a fan of Dr. Phil and his daytime talk show. He addresses important and interesting topics that make it feel like you’re learning something new every time. While some guests and cases can leave the audience feeling sad, Dr. Phil’s humble and stable approach to therapy, combined with his take-no-prisoners style, has always made him a favorite of mine.
However, until recently, I didn’t know much about his previous life, specifically his failed first marriage. Dr. Phil’s ex-wife, Debbie Higgins McCall, has spoken openly about their turbulent marriage, referring to him as “domineering.” Dr. Phil, on the other hand, has always kept a low profile and hasn’t revealed much about what really happened between them.
Despite this, by taking a deeper dive into their time together, we can learn more about who Dr. Phil is and the events that shaped him into the man he is today. It’s fascinating to see how his past experiences have influenced his current work and perspective on life.
Phil McGraw, better known as Dr. Phil, has become one of the world’s highest-paid daytime talk show hosts of all time with his popular TV show “Dr. Phil” and best-selling books. According to some reports, the 70-year-old is worth an estimated $400 million today, giving him the option to retire anytime he wants.
However, despite his success, Dr. Phil’s story is also marked by scandals, allegations of sexual abuse, and lawsuits. Additionally, he has been accused of exploiting people suffering from mental illness. These controversies have cast a shadow on his otherwise impressive career and wealth.
Phil McGraw’s ex-wife
Today, Phil McGraw is happily married to his beloved wife, Robin McGraw. Over the course of four decades, Phil and Robin have been inseparable and have expertly managed to keep their love alive.
However, before Robin came into the picture, there was another woman in Phil’s life – his ex-wife Debbie Higgins. Phil and Debbie were high-school sweethearts in Kansas City and they met when they were just 20 years old.
Their relationship was marked by a turbulent marriage, which Debbie has spoken openly about and referred to Phil as “domineering”. Despite this, Phil has always kept a low profile and hasn’t revealed much about their time together.
Phil McGraw actually grew up among the oil fields in North Texas but was forced to move to Kansas when his father got an internship and saw a chance to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a psychologist. According to Debbie, Phil was not excited about the move from Texas. “Daddy made him come up here because he wanted to keep an eye on him,” Debbie told The Kansas City Star in 2002.
Despite Phil’s initial reluctance, the move ended up being beneficial for him. He met his future wife Debbie and was also a favored linebacker in the high-school football team.
Debbie was popular in high-school, known as the cute, blonde cheerleader and homecoming queen with “the million-dollar smile”. Somehow, she fit in perfectly with the big, strapping linebacker, who stood out with his cowboy drawl dialect.
They started dating in their junior year and many felt that the couple were made for each other. However, complications were present in the beginning as Debbie was not allowed to date until she turned 16 and her brother watched her like a hawk. Despite these challenges, Phil and Debbie’s relationship continued to flourish.
In 1970, Phil and Debbie tied the knot in the Roeland Park Southridge Presbyterian Church, where Debbie had grown up. However, their marriage was not as happy as it appeared on the surface.
Debbie made some serious accusations against Phil, saying he was domineering and unfaithful.
According to Debbie, Phil wanted her to stay at home and take care of the household, and even asked her to bulk up her chest by lifting weights. She also claimed that Phil had multiple affairs, and that he didn’t deny them when she confronted him about it.
Eventually, Debbie felt trapped in her marriage and left Phil in 1973, just three years after they got married.
Allegations of cheating
Phil McGraw, the host of popular TV show “Dr. Phil” and best-selling author, has kept quiet about his first marriage. In an interview with Newsweek, he briefly touched on the topic, stating that pressure to get married was a factor.
He went on to say, “I was the big football player, and she was the cheerleader. This was just the next thing to do. It just didn’t work out.” Despite this, he has never commented or denied allegations of infidelity made by his ex-wife Debbie.
Phil has spoken about the importance of preparation in marriages, stating in a 2007 interview that, “If you ask me, that’s the one major reason why marriages fail. If people fail to prepare themselves for the hard work that is required, that’s the biggest problem.
If you’ve gone into a marriage and you haven’t been clear about how you’re going to handle money, how you want to raise kids, who is going to work or stay home or what have you, then you’ve set yourself up for failure.” He has not mentioned Debbie or his first marriage since the 2002 interview with Newsweek.
Started dating Robin instead
After the annulment of his first marriage in 1973, Phil McGraw began dating his current wife, Robin. The couple tied the knot in 1976 and had two children together, Jay McGraw and Jordan McGraw.
Despite Phil’s tumultuous past, he has since focused on building a solid and long-lasting relationship with Robin.
Settlement with Debbie
Despite the attention celebrity divorces often receive, Dr. Phil’s breakup with Debbie has been relatively forgotten. Although there has been speculation surrounding the settlement of their divorce, it is difficult to verify the exact details.
However, reports suggest the split cost around $1 million, with Debbie not seeking any alimony due to her limited assets and net worth estimated to be less than $1 million.
Dr.Phil’s ex-wife death
In 2002, Debbie spoke to a reporter about managing a liquor store in the Kansas City suburbs. Later, she gained recognition as an editor, particularly for her work on the documentary “Christy Mathewson’s Day” in 2011.
Unfortunately, Debbie passed away in 2014 after a prolonged battle with cancer. Her brother, Bill Higgins, confirmed her death and said that he had tried to inform Dr. Phil about Debbie’s passing but had not received a response.
Debbie, Dr. Phil’s ex-wife, led an interesting life before and after her marriage to the famous psychologist. From managing a liquor store to becoming a respected editor, Debbie’s career was diverse. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2014 after a long battle with cancer. Her death was a tragic loss for her family and friends.
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