This is the unbelievable true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. Two short months after they married in 1993, they were in a horrific car accident. Krickitt was in a coma for weeks, and when she awoke, she had no recollection of their relationship - not from courtship and not from marriage. Loving husband Kim tried everything to jog his wife’s memory, to no avail. So he made a vow to woo Krickitt all over again and stay with her for eternity. Millions read their book. Millions more saw the Hollywood movie inspired by their story. The Vow (2012) was one of the most successful modern romance dramas, but the film took many liberties with the truth, like Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum’s movie characters eventually divorcing. Yet, of course, with their faith and devotion to God, that couldn’t happen to Kim and Krickitt in real life, could it? Or could it? To find out if they kept their vow, you’ll have to read on…
In the Beginning
Aged two, Krisxan Pappas’ aunt nicknamed her Krickitt because she couldn’t stay still. That little girl grew up to become a gymnast and then a sportswear sales associate in Anaheim, California. One day, in September 1992, Kim Carpenter––Assistant Athletic Director and head baseball coach at New Mexico Highlands University––called a toll-free number to make a purchase. Krickitt answered his call, and after one conversation, he was smitten by her animated voice, which sparkled with laughter.
By April ‘93, Krickitt had accepted Kim’s invitation to visit him at his home in Las Vegas, New Mexico, to see his team play. "It was like I had known her all my life," felt Kim. So two weeks later, Krickitt took him home to meet her parents. Then, in June, Kim asked Krickitt’s father for his daughter’s hand; Gus Pappas happily gave his blessing and so Kim flew to California to pop the question. It was a match made in heaven.
Modern-Day Romeo and Juliet
In the sweltering California heat, Kim stood beneath his beau’s apartment, shouting her name. Finally, Krickitt sauntered onto her balcony. “Well, will ya?” Kim yelled upwards like a modern-day Romeo, only via Brooklyn. “Will I what?” Krickitt shouted back. The sport-loving, Arizonan Juliet raced downstairs to meet Kim and was greeted by him dressed in a suit and tie, down on one knee and holding a massive bouquet of flowers. “Will you be my lifetime buddy?” Kim asked. “Yes!” she replied. “Yes, I will.”
Three short months later––on September 18th, 1993––Krisxan “Krickitt” Pappas and Kim Carpenter were married in a dreamy candlelit ceremony in Scottsdale, Arizona. After that, they honeymooned in Maui, Hawaii, and when they returned, they moved into Kim’s tiny apartment in Las Vegas. It was a bit of a squeeze, but everything worked out just fine because love... love conquers everything.
The Day Everything Changed
Our inciting incident takes place on Thanksgiving Day––November 24th––1993. Having been married just five weeks, blissfully happy Kim and Krickitt were driving from their Las Vegas N.M. home to Krickitt's parents’ home in Phoenix, Arizona, for the holiday.
Spirits were high as the lovebirds drove their new Ford Escort and chatted about Kim’s baseball team, the Cowboys. Traveling with them was Milan Rasic, Kim’s assistant coach. They had a long, long drive ahead, and the 500+ miles should have taken them somewhere in the region of eight hours on Interstate 40, traffic permitting. Husband Kim had a head cold, so he was lying down in the back seat to get some much-needed sleep. Krickitt was at the wheel, and––being late November––it was pitch-dark by 5 p.m.
When the trio was just under halfway into their mammoth trek––at around 6:30 p.m. and about six miles west of Gallup, N.M.––a flatbed truck was chugging away, billowing exhaust smoke in front of them. It was traveling excruciatingly slowly at about 30 miles per hour and was obscured by a cloud of thick black smoke. As Krickitt pulled out into the other lane to overtake the flatbed, Kim was suddenly awoken by his wife screaming and Milan shouting: “Watch out!” But it was too late.
Krickitt hit the brakes and tried with all her might to swerve to the left, but their vehicle collided with the truck. A second or so later, a pickup truck that had been behind them smashed into Krickitt’s driver’s side. The Escort flipped, flew through the air, and landed on its roof before skidding more than 100 feet and eventually coming to a halt. Then came the worst sound of all… deafening silence.
Half of the top of the car had been sliced off as if by a can-opener. Kim was lying crushed against what was left of the roof. He couldn’t move his legs, and when he tried, the pain in his back was excruciating. “Krickitt!” he screamed. But no answer came. He couldn’t see that his wife was suspended above him, held between the seat belt and the steering wheel. Things didn’t look good.
Fire crews had to cut the crumpled heap of metal to get Krickitt out. It took the rescuers thirty minutes to get her battered, unconscious body out of the vehicle. Critically injured, she took the first ambulance to Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital in Gallup. Kim––who had broken ribs, a broken nose, and multiple lacerations––and Milan––who was not so severely injured––followed in a second ambulance. Soon, it transpired that Krickitt’s injuries were so life-threatening, she was airlifted from Gallup to University Hospital in Albuquerque.
Miracle in New Mexico
Krickitt was utterly unresponsive, there was possible brain damage, and doctors delivered Kim the most tragic news imaginable: they doubted his wife would survive. Yet, just five days later, she was well enough to come off life support. But she still lay in a coma for what must have seemed like forever––the exact amount of time he had promised they would be together. This devastating turn of events had rocked their lives, but every day, Kim prayed for his wife’s recovery.
After many weeks, Kim’s prayers were answered when Krickitt woke up. She described the moment: “I knew nothing until I awoke from a coma ... with no idea where I was or what had happened.” Now, naturally, a state of confusion is commonplace for people recovering from comas, but what happened next––especially for Kim––must have been almost as terrifying as the car wreck.
After she awoke, Krickitt just stared blankly at her husband. She underwent a series of tests to assess her mental faculties. Kim nervously stood by and prayed she would correctly answer the therapist’s questions. “Who is the President?” Krickitt replied: “Nixon.” Oh, dear. Next, the therapist asked her, “Where do you live?” Krickitt said: “Phoenix.” It was the wrong answer; Arizona was where she had lived years before.
Next, the therapist asked: “Who are you married to?” Poor Kim must have held his breath in anticipation, but then, without emotion, Krickitt replied: “I’m not married.” Overcome, Kim stepped out. In the hallway, he wept and slammed his fist against a wall. “God, help me! Help Krickitt and me,” he pleaded.
Strangers in the Night
As Krickitt became more responsive, it became crystal clear she had lost all memory of the years before the accident. She couldn’t remember dating Kim nor their wedding. Her husband was a complete stranger, even though he loved her with every ounce of his soul. What seemed like a miracle recovery had turned into a nightmare.
Worse, Krickitt experienced many personality changes that are common with severe brain trauma. She had an injured frontal lobe––which controls personality, emotions, and decision-making––and in her parietal lobe, the brain’s language and mathematical center. Gradually, it dawned on Kim that the woman he'd married just months before was gone; "his" Krickitt had essentially died that Thanksgiving on Interstate 40.
Every Trick in the Book
Kim tried everything to jog Krickitt’s memory. Her parents and friends would push her: “Who are you married to, Krickitt?” They'd ask. She’d concentrate hard before reeling off half a dozen guesses—her gymnastics coach, old friends, a doctor. Then, finally, Kim showed her their wedding video, saying, “That’s me, Kimmer. And the girl is you, Krickitt.” But his wife remained emotionless.
Once an accomplished, talkative gymnast, Krickitt had to learn to walk and talk again. Gradually, childhood, then teenage and college memories returned. But the man trying to coach her through torrid physical and mental therapy––her husband, Kim––was just some random guy. Often, she’d react with anger to him. Other times, she’d straight up reject him. “Why don’t you go back to Las Vegas?” she’d growl. “Because I love you” was always Kim’s heartfelt response.
Krickitt had been a former gymnast who could perform backflips on a 4-inch beam. Now, she could barely walk or stand. She hated the therapy, and she hated Coach Kim for pushing her so hard. Yet, over the coming months, she showed tiny signs of improvement, like when Kim pitched a baseball to her, and she almost knocked it out of the park. In her surprised, delighted laughter, he could hear echoes of the woman he fell in love with. One day, she told a therapist, “I miss that guy who was here.”
When she got home, her mom phoned Kim and said, “Krickitt wants to talk to you.” Kim was thrilled. “How are you?” he asked. “Fine,” she replied. “I gotta go now,” before hanging up. Her short attention span was also evident when she warmly greeted visitors with: “Hi, how are you? I’m glad to see you,” followed immediately by, “Well, bye now” in her next sentence.
Krickitt’s medical bills were going through the roof, so in March 1994, the couple went to their apartment for an “orientation” visit before moving in full-time. In the cramped living room, she picked up a wedding photo but seeing herself and Kim blissfully happy on their special day didn’t even raise a glimmer of recognition.
A month later, Krickitt went home for good, but her constant state of confusion and anger towards Kim for his tough love caused tantrums. This kind young woman, known for her patience, compassion, and joie de vivre, had regressed to an angry, rebellious teen, not caring about anyone’s feelings and treating her husband with hostility.
For the first time in their relationship, they argued like cat and dog. Then, after one flair-up, Krickitt ran out of the apartment. Beside himself with worry, Kim drove around the neighborhood until he found her sitting outside a fast-food restaurant. “You promised me you would not run off!” Kim reprimanded her. “I can’t promise anything,” she cried, as shocked by her erratic behavior as he was. “I can’t live like this anymore,” Kim told her. “I can’t see me without you, and I can’t see you without me, but maybe that’s the way it has to be.”
It looked like the nail in the coffin for their relationship. However, there was one shining light at the end of the tunnel. Krickitt had grown up believing that marriage meant ‘in sickness and in health’ and ‘til death us do part’. It was a promise she and Kim both believed in even before they met. Through the darkest of days and nights. It was this shared vow that kept them together.
In the fall of 1995, Kim went to see a therapist for help. The counselor asked him a simple but profound question, “What made Krickitt fall in love with you?” Being his usual, jovial self, he replied: “funny, clever, handsome.” But when he got home, he began to take the point more seriously. The question “What made Krickitt fall in love with me?” rattled around in his brain. He remembered the good times, his love and affection, and how they made each other feel when they first met.
Then he considered how he’d acted since the accident. He realized he’d become more like a parent or coach, showing tough love to help Krickitt through her arduous therapy. But you can’t keep a good man down. Not a man as good as Kim Carpenter. So he came up with a plan: he would become who he used to be to win back her love. And guess what… it only went and worked!
At first, they had date nights, watched movies, went on long walks, played golf, and hung out. It wasn't easy, yet slowly but surely, Krickitt began to see Kim’s boundless compassion and generosity. Against all odds––but with faith on their side––Kim and Krickitt slowly fell in love all over again. She described the feeling as “sort of like falling in love, only better … but it was never a fluffy, gooey falling-in-love feeling again.” Kim had stood by Krickitt through the darkest times imaginable, yet he insisted, “I’m no hero. I made a vow.”
Kim’s therapist enquired if it would be a good idea to renew their vows. “Oh, yes! But if we’re going to have a wedding, I want a proposal, too,” Krickitt gleefully accepted with her jaw set. So, on Valentine’s Day 1996, for the second time, coach Kim went down on one knee with a bouquet in one hand and asked his wife to marry him
Second Time Lucky
Two years and countless date nights later––on May 25th, 1996––the Carpenters tied the knot for the second time. Again, Krickitt made a vow in front of God. “I thank you for being true to your original vows … and I pray that I might be the wife you fell in love with.” They exchanged their original wedding rings and––unbeknownst to each other––they had each brought a second ring to commemorate their second vow.
The Carpenters emerged from the chapel, posed for photos, and then made their way through the crowd of family and friends. It was perfect. Love had won through. This was the beginning of a whole new life, and Krickitt now had a moment that she could remember and treasure forever. Or would she?
Whatever Happened to Coach Carpenter?
Life was sweet. The couple attended church and were pleased that congregations were encouraged by their tragic, life-affirming story. Krickitt prayed: “Okay, Lord, I guess people get encouraged by our story. If you want us to do something with it, I pray something happens ... I put our story in His hands and trusted Him with the results.” A few years later, they were also blessed with two children.
Amazingly, around one week after Krickitt prayed, a reporter came along who was doing a show called On the Road with Van Tate. You see, when Kim was named head baseball coach of Highlands University, it had been kind of a big deal as he was the youngest coach in the NCAA. So in 1996, the reporter ran the article called, “Whatever Happened to Coach Carpenter?” Quite a lot, it turned out!
The Real McCoy
The Albuquerque Journal’s editor saw that article, and their story soon became a Sunday front-page feature. Two weeks later, the Carpenters received a call from a Hollywood company asking if the story was The Real McCoy. The voice on the phone said, “I want to release this story … If I do, your life will never be the same. This could be one of the greatest love stories that was ever heard.”
Kim and Krickitt said they would think and pray on it. The man called back, and they were ready to tell their story. The voice replied, “In about 45 minutes, you guys are going to start getting phone calls. I highly recommend that you get an agent.” Within ten minutes, the first phone call came in from 48 Hours. Then Dateline. Then 20/20. Then People magazine. Before long, the couple appeared on NBC, Inside Edition, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, and Japanese, German, British and Australian TV, newspapers, and magazines. They did 65 interviews in the first three months. Not for the first time, their lives were flipped upside down.
In 2000––that's the same year Krickitt gave birth to their first child, a boy they named Danny––the Carpenters released their New York Times bestseller-listed book, The Vow. Three years later, they had a girl named LeeAnn. But when the movie script came back, Krickitt went crazy over how her parents were represented and how the characters in the movie end up getting divorced. Divorce was something the Carpenters had promised one another and God they would never, ever do. Remember that; it’ll come in handy in about 60 seconds.
After negotiations, compromises, three writers, seven drafts, and many years, the script was completed. Finally, Kim and Krickitt’s heart-breaking love story was turned into a Hollywood movie, also called The Vow. Starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum; the Carpenter's story became a hit in 2012, earning $125 million at the North American box office.
The Gospel According to Krickitt and Kim
Though Krickitt’s brother said, “The world’s going to love this movie, and it will turn people towards your book where the Lord can speak to them in a different way,” no one prepared them for the film’s success. The Vow was a number one box office hit in nine countries and was the eighth highest-grossing romantic drama film since 1980. Globally, it earned $20 million on Valentine’s Day weekend alone. Krickitt and Kim had believed God wanted them to tell their story, and now millions of people heard them.
So, you know, a minute ago when we said the movie was based on their story? Well, “very, very loosely inspired” might better describe it as the film’s plot plays fast and loose with the truth and the Carpenters’ unwavering faith. And yes, the divorce that Krickitt hated so much––because it would never happen in real life––made the final cut. Divorce?! Nothing could have been further from the truth until, in 2018, when the unthinkable happened...
Guilt and Shame
After being part of one of the greatest modern love stories, Krickitt was stunned to learn her husband was having an affair, and she shocked the world when she announced that Kim had broken their vow. Appearing on Inside Edition, she said: “I never thought that’s the road I would go down because I made a vow for life." She continued: "I was beyond devastated because I never would've imagined that would happen to me, and I experienced the most excruciating pain that I’ve ever felt." Kim stated: “I’ll forever feel in my character the guilt and shame that I have."
Just like the Hollywood film, Krickitt and Kim ended up getting divorced. Today, she lives with their daughter, LeeAnn, while Kim resides with their son, Danny. Krickitt said: “I am thankful for the 25 years that I had. I have two amazing children, and we had so many great times together.” When asked if she still believes in love, Krickitt replied with a smile: “I do." The moral of the story? In the words of 70's rockers, Journey - "Don't Stop Believing!"
A Tale of Betrayal: Father of Three Finds Out His Children Aren't What He Thought
This businessman found out that his entire family life was one huge lie. Richard was a loving father to his three young sons and had no reason to believe they weren't his. Why should he? His wife was very loving towards him. This devoted father would soon receive news that would hit him like a high-speed car crash.
Once he found out the truth, what was he going to do about it? He was going to make his wife pay. Keep reading to find out what happened in this bizarre real-life story.
Richard Mason is a 55-year-old man from the United Kingdom. He also happens to be a millionaire as he is the co-founder of one of the UK's biggest price comparison websites, MoneySupermarket.com. This website is an extremely popular one, which has grown in popularity through its reputation.
While he was building his career, he was married to a woman called Kate. They had met each other in the 1980s when they both worked in the same bank branch, got married, and had three sons together, or so Richard believed...
Richard and Kate's eldest son, Will, is 23 years old, and he has twin brothers, Ed and Joel who are four years younger than him. However, by the start of 2007, Richard and Kate's marriage was starting to fall apart.
So, they decided to split up and were divorced in early 2008. Richard never had any regrets about his marriage and subsequent divorce. He really loved his sons and wanted to make sure he was still providing for them after the divorce.
Massive Divorce Settlement
As part of their divorce, Kate received a $5 million lump-sum payment. This also included enough to cover the boys' private school fees. Despite this, Richard said that for years, his ex-wife kept pestering him for more and more money.
Richard saw the settlement as more than enough money to let his ex-wife and three sons live a comfortable life. So, when Kate was behaving this way, Richard firmly believed that the only good thing to come from his joyless marriage were his three sons. However, he was in for a massive surprise.
The Day His Life Changed Forever
Richard had been divorced from his first wife, Kate, for almost 10 years when he was due to go for a routine check-up at the doctor's office. However, this was the day that his life as he knew it was going to change.
One day in 2016, Richard woke up and got ready to go to a doctor's appointment without knowing that it would change his life. He had no idea that he would leave the doctor's office feeling desperately confused and uncontrollably angry.
Richard had made an appointment with his doctor for a routine check-up, and he had no idea that the appointment wouldn't be as 'routine' as he was expecting. Not even close, he was going to get some news that would turn his world upside down.
The doctor ran a few tests, and Richard could never have anticipated what the results would be. First, his doctor told him that he was suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. But that wasn't the only shock the doctor revealed.
Cystic Fibrosis is a chronic disease that gives people chronic lung infections which over time, damages them and reduces their functionality. This leaves people with difficulty breathing and it only gets worse. There is no cure for this disease and the prognosis isn't good.
Cystic Fibrosis is also a genetic disease, and Richard's sister died from it years ago. Richard was obviously devastated by this diagnosis and then he also started to panic. He was concerned that he had passed on the condition to his three sons.
Brief Moment of Relief
His doctor told Richard that there was no way he would have passed the disease onto his children, and when he heard this, Richard felt a huge wave of relief wash over him. He didn't want to put this burden onto his sons.
However, this relief didn't last, because Richard felt this relief before the doctor finished talking. The doctor continued to explain the specific reason as to why Richard hadn't passed on the disease to his children.
Richard remembers exactly when his entire life changed before his eyes, he said that the doctor told him that it would be impossible for him and his wife Emma to pass it on. Due to his Cystic Fibrosis, Richard was infertile.
Richard knew that this couldn't be right because he had three sons. So he started to feel a small bit of hope inside his heart. He was wondering if it was a medical miracle, or that his diagnosis was wrong. It had to be, didn't it?
Hope and Misery
Richard told the doctor that the diagnosis had to be wrong because he already had three sons. At the time, he was really happy to tell the doctor this because it proved that the diagnosis wasn't true. Or at least, he thought.
The doctor felt really awkward and shocked by Richard saying this to him, so he just shook his head. Richard realized at that moment he was wrong. Of course, a medical professional wouldn't get a diagnosis like this wrong.
Dazed and Confused
With all this news hitting Richard hard in the chest like a high-speed train, he took a step back and was able to look at his life with a fresh set of eyes. He then came to realize something.
With all this news hitting Richard hard in the chest like a high-speed train, he took a step back and was able to look at his life with a fresh set of eyes. He then came to realize something.
Almost Completely Certain
Richard started typing out an angry text to Kate, demanding that she explain everything. He told her that he was in the Liverpool Chest Hospital that day, and finally got diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. He told her that the medical team told him that they had never come across a male patient with Cystic Fibrosis who had fathered a singular child, nevermind three.
He went on to say that he was 98% certain that he wasn't the father of any children. He sent the text to Kate and saw that she had read his message, but didn't reply. This made him sure that being civil wasn't going to get him any answers, so he decided to play hardball.
He sent Kate another message, asking for her to tell him the truth about the boys, to save him the indignity of going for more tests, this time about fertility. He even told her he was happy to follow her lead as to how to tell the boys the truth.
He wasn't quite done though, he informed Kate that if she didn't tell him the truth, and he had to go for more tests then he would tell the boys the truth however he saw it. Kate, knowing there was no escape, replied to Richard in a couple of minutes.
Kate replied to say that regardless of what science and Richard's diagnosis suggested, that the boys were definitely his. At his point, Richard was fuming - Kate was full-on denying everything. How could she be so heartless and brazen when she had been caught out?
He thought fair enough, if Kate wants to play it the hard way, then he would play it the hard way. So, Richard went to his eldest son, who was in university at the time, and told him everything. But he didn't know how he would react.
The Hard Truth
Richard told his eldest son that he had been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, which his son took quite well. However, that wasn't the only difficult thing he had to tell him. He had still to broach the topic of paternity.
Richard told him that one of the other things he had learned was that it was incredibly unlikely that a man with Cystic Fibrosis would be able to father a child. At this point, his son jumped in and asked him, 'So you're probably not my father?'
So Many Emotions
Richard can still remember the day he had this conversation with his eldest son, Will, and the mixed emotions he felt. He had been told that his father has a very serious disease and that his father wasn't really his father.
Richard told his eldest son that he was definitely still his dad, but that he didn't think he had biologically conceived him. Richard was incredibly emotional, but also incredibly angry about it all. He had been given a double-hit that day, and the question remained: what was he going to do about it all?
Nothing to Leave Behind
Richard always believed that your children were a huge part of defining who you are. So when he found out that he had a dreadful disease, he also found out that he didn't have any children. Talk about a huge amount of life-changing news in one go.
He was upset about it all and realized that his legacy would end with him. It was all so hard for him to handle. He had spent almost twenty years believing he had fathered three children. Eventually, Kate finally contacted him.
The Truth Comes Out
Kate had been confronted by her eldest son, so she was forced to call Richard and told him the truth. She told Richard that she had been dating another man during their 20-year marriage, and if that wasn't bad enough, Richard had met him in passing a number of times. The man worked in Barclays Bank.
Kate told Richard that she and the other man would meet in a hotel in London when she was traveling for work. However, she still was adamant that Richard was the father of her children. Richard was left with no choice but to seek expert help, and he was going to make Kate pay for her betrayal.
Seeking Expert Advice
Richard knew he had no choice but to get advice from paternity fraud expert, Roger Terrell. Part of the process involved Richard getting lots of medical tests done, and it was confirmed that Richard was infertile.
The next step was that Richard had to get DNA samples from his sons. The twins' agreed to give DNA samples, and these DNA samples proved that they weren't his biological children, but Richard's eldest son refused to give a DNA sample.
He Is Still My Father
The reason for this was because his eldest son said that as far as he was concerned, Richard was his Dad no matter what. However, Richard wanted to put a legal case against Kate, and he needed samples from all his sons.
Eventually, Richard had enough evidence (DNA and otherwise) to start legal proceedings against Kate in December 2016. But his eldest son had a serious warning for the man he accepted as his father for his entire life. And it wasn't a good one.
Lies Have Consequences
Richard's eldest son told him that if he sued his mother, he would never speak to him again. And, unfortunately, his son kept his word and as of this being written, he has not spoken to Richard since.
Richard has been seriously heartbroken by this and said that the effects of Kate's lies have been enormous. He did say, however, that the twins' reaction as the case went on was totally different.
Despite knowing that Richard isn't their biological father, the twins still think of Richard as their dad. And one of the twins sent Richard a truly heartwarming message of support, which is exactly what Richard needed.
His son told him that from the very beginning of it all, Richard was still his dad. He told him that he will always stay in touch with him, and that will never change. He told Richard that he will always be there for him and that he loves him.
After Kate's lies were unveiled in court, Richard won the case against her and she was court-ordered to pay Richard more than $300,000. This was a small amount to pay for the deception she put her entire family through for years.
Kate agreed to pay the money but had one condition, that the real father of the boys would be able to stay anonymous. This was a small victory for Richard, and he has a message for the boys' biological father.
Come Forward and Say Who You Are
Richard told the media that he wants the biological father to hear the story and come forward because he thinks the boys have a right to know who their dad really is. He won't expose their father's identity, but he wants to encourage him to identify himself.
He said the boys will want to know who their real father is, and they hopefully will always think of Richard as their dad. He wants them to still think of him as 'dad' who was with them from the beginning.