NY Times Vows Wife Swap Controversy – Riddell, Partilla Selfish Happiness

Filed in Gather News Channel by on December 22, 2010 0 Comments

Recently the NY Times Vows story of a real life wife swap caused quite a controversy. The paper printed a story about two people, Carol Anne Riddell and John Partilla, who found happiness together at the expense of their spouses and children.


The controversial NY Times Vows story claims to examine what happens when love strikes at the wrong time. However, there are those who feel that it actually examines the ultimate in selfishness. The perhaps oversharing “Vows” couple actually met in their children’s pre-K classroom in 2006 – they were both married to other people. In fact, the entire foursome became friends after that night.

Riddell is a WNBC New York anchor while Partilla is Time Warner’s president of media sales. They said they felt an immediate connection. The two families actually vacationed together. In 2008, the two finally admitted their mutual love even though they were married to other people with children who were all friends – they say that they never had an affair during their previous marriages. Ultimately they decided to act on their love regardless of the consequences to their spouses and children. They appear to view this as a love story, but there are many who are quite offended by their selfishness.

Partilla said, “I did a terrible thing as honorably as I could.” Strangely he appears to have tortured his family by leaving and then returning and continuing this pattern for six whole months. What a terrible uproar this had to be for the household – especially the children. Finally in July 2009, they moved in together after being separated from their spouses for over 6 months. They were married on November 15, and then on December 11, they had another ceremony.

Of course, Riddell’s ex-husband feels quite differently about things. Bob Ennis says that he wasn’t contacted in any way over the NY Times Vows story. It seems that one couple’s supposed fairy tale has another side to say the least. Ennis feels that having the story be so public in the NY Times is actually making things even more difficult for the children involved – especially the photo of his daughter that was published with the story. He said, “You could easily try to brush this off as a kind of self-evidence, a self-serving act by a couple of narcissistic people who for whatever reason have a need to try to persuade people, except for the fact that there are lots of children involved. These kids watch TV, they read newspapers a little bit and certainly they surf the internet.”

There is no doubt that spouses and children of two families were deeply affected by this major spilt. It seems crazy that the NY Times Vows story was published as a type of love story when there are so many real people who are suffering as a result of it. It is hard to see this as a celebration. Obviously Riddell and Partilla made their decisions, and they have that right. However, to celebrate it so publicly is quite crass. The video below provides more information about the controversy.


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