The Betty Broderick Story & Her Children
Where Are Betty Broderick's Children Today?
Betty Becomes Betty Broderick
Elisabeth Anne Bisceglia became Betty Broderick in 1969 after dating her boyfriend, Daniel Broderick, for four years. He was in medical school and she was an old-fashioned girl in pursuit of a college education. Although determined to get a college degree, Betty had always intended for her full time career to be as a mother and wife. By all appearances Dan was a young man on his way to the top. He was serious, ambitious, and focused on his goals.
Little did either of them know at the time that their marriage would end in bitter divorce, that their four children would be caught between a cheating father and a distraught mother, and that one early morning in 1989 Betty would shoot and kill her ex-husband Dan, along with his second wife.
So what has become of their children? Where are they today and what is the story of Betty and Dan Broderick?
Kim & Dan Broderick, Jr. on Oprah in 1992
Betty and Dan Broderick's Children
Testified for the prosecution during her mother's trial.
The most supportive of her mother after the murders.
Pleaded with his mother to stop leaving threatening messages on his father's voicemail.
Testified for the prosecution during his mother's trial.
Disinherited by her father in his will, amended the year before he died.
Remained in San Diego where he leads a commercial real estate firm.
Betty Sacrifices for Her Husband Dan
Shortly after their marriage Betty became pregnant with their first child, Kim. Their other three children, daughter Lee and sons Rhett and Daniel Jr., soon followed.
After Kim was born Dan graduated from medical school and surprised everyone when he announced a new goal: law school. The couple had lived on a shoestring budget, with Betty taking odd jobs and babysitting her neighbors children all day in order to survive. Dan's father had paid for his son's medical school education and considered his responsibility to support Dan through school fulfilled. This meant at least another four years of Betty having to find a way to support the family and keep her husband's nerves as steady while he struggled to make good grades. Betty considered it her job to keep her husband as stress-free as possible as he now studied law at Harvard University.
At some point in Dan's medical training he began to realize that doctors can be sued by shady people with good lawyers. He became uneasy about having his assets on the line every day while he worked as a doctor to support his family. As he witnessed the country become more and more liberal, Dan became disgusted by a system that allowed people to legally pick the pockets of people who have worked hard. He decided to change with the times and be on the winning end. His new goal was to become a medical malpractice attorney. This way he could combine his medical and law degrees.
After earning his law degree, Dan worked for a law firm and learned the ropes. It was not long before Dan was well-known in the legal field. He hired Linda Kolkena in the early 1980s to be his receptionist.
Betty's life was anything but glamorous after marrying Dan, but she never complained and supported her husband's ambitions. She believed that with hard work, determination, and the loving support of her family, things would work out and life would bless her for all the sacrifices she had made. While other young mothers were buying new cars, having an occasional party on the weekend, and spending their extra cash to buy a lipstick or have a manicure, Betty was living at poverty level. She did not spend one dime on anything extra and her recreation had to be the same as her full time job: caring for and entertaining the kids.
Betty took in other children to babysit all day. This way she could earn money without having to leave the house. She then began teaching part-time when her children were in school. Betty walked to the laundromat with her kids and planned meals based upon the discount coupons in the paper. She was a master of the extremely limited budget. Betty was the sole support of her family while her husband was free to give 100% to his education.
Although she tried not to show it, Betty was lonely for Dan. She knew he had to keep his focus on getting ahead. At some point during law school, Dan became aware what a good appearance could do for ones success. He had a nose job to give his face a more celebrity-like appearance and talked Betty into undergoing braces to fix her overbite. Even with his financial struggles, Dan wanted to spend extravagantly in ways that he thought would boost his image.
Dan Broderick, Jr. and His Bride
The Saga of Dan, Betty, and Linda
After eleven years of marriage, the Brodericks' were finally beginning to gain some stability. Dan got a job with a law firm right after graduation and quickly earned a reputation for himself and built a business. In a short time Dan, was a force in his field and was earning millions.
Betty thought that she would reap the rewards of hard work as a dutiful wife. She bought some nice clothes and started to take it easy and enjoy her success. This feeling of contentment would be short-lived as Dan began having an affair in the early 1980s.
Betty Broderick's Story
Betty's Marriage Falls Apart
Linda Kolkena had been hired by a lawyer friend of Dan's as a receptionist after being fired as an airline stewardess for lewd behavior. She had apparently been drinking on the job and began flirting with a male passenger by sitting on his lap and cuddling. Many disgusted passengers complained and Linda was let go from her job.
Dan first laid eyes on Linda at a party and remarked at how beautiful he thought she was. It was 1983 and Linda was 21. She had no legal or medical training and she couldn't even type, but after beginning an affair with Dan Broderick, she was promoted to legal assistant, a position that requires extensive training and in most cases, schooling or a degree. Linda was ecstatic at being given such a high position.
Dan was smitten with Linda but was not about to throw away his marriage to Betty. His affair with Linda progressed very slowly, much slower than Linda was comfortable with.
Linda threatened Dan, cried, and used all of her manipulative powers to pressure him to get a divorce. Dan even broke down at one point and told Linda to go ahead and date other men, which Linda did do. But no man could compare to Dan Broderick, who had bought her a beautiful new car and given her a huge office with a view of downtown San Diego. Linda would not back down without a fight. She kept Dan on a short leash, and when he traveled with his family to France, Betty actually caught her husband sneaking off to call his mistress on the phone. She also discovered that while they were vacationing in England Dan had sent flowers to Linda.
The tug of war between Linda and Betty grew to enormous proportions when Betty burned all of Dan's custom-made suits on her front lawn in effort to show him that she meant business too.
On one side he had Betty, vandalizing his possessions, and on the other side he had Linda, flaunting other men. Dan eventually had to make his decision, and he chose Linda. He was a doomed man from that moment on.
Betty relentlessly left nasty messages on Dan's answering machine and used her kids as pawns in her separation from their father. Although Betty had been a first-rate mother to her children throughout her marriage, she snapped and seemed to detach completely from her children. She even made comments such as, "I don't want to be a single mother." And that seemed to be the truth. If Dan Broderick were not in her life, Betty had no interest in her children.
The Home Where Betty Shot Dan and Linda Broderick
One of Betty's now-famous public scenes was when she drove her car into Dan's front door. Betty was growing more and more irrational and Dan was being warned to watch out for her.
Betty wanted Dan's affair to end so that they could go back to being a family. She made every effort she could to win her husband back. On Dan's birthday she showed up at his office with a bottle of champagne ready to celebrate, only to find Dan's office decorated with balloons and two empty wine glasses. She looked in Linda's office, which was right next to Dan's, and found cake crumbs and a photo of her husband as a teenager directly above Linda's desk.
Betty went on a rampage, destroying Dan's belongings while Dan denied having an affair with Linda. He told his wife that she was crazy and imagining things, but Betty knew better and demanded that he fire Linda.
Dan Broderick Chooses Linda Over Betty
After much pleading and arguing with Linda over Betty, Dan moved out, filed for divorce, and had Linda move in with him. Betty was hurt by what she thought to be a slap in the face. This pain was doubled when she discovered that the law actually sided with Dan in this case, not with her.
Betty was old-fashioned and believed that the law should punish those who were responsible for the marital problems, but she soon discovered that irreconcilable differences was what the modern divorce was all about. It no longer mattered that Dan had cheated because the old-fashioned morality laws that had protected women and punished men who hurt them were no longer valid.
In the past it used to be that if a man cheated, he owed his wife more money. Some men were left with very little money, while their ex-wives made off with a fortune. Those were the days when men feared divorce and being caught cheating, because there was a price to pay. No matter how badly Dan had treated Betty, it did not matter in any legal sense.
It was time for a divorce and they were to go their separate ways. Because Dan was raking in a fortune, Betty would not have to go broke, but that is really not what mattered to Betty. It was not about trying to make herself rich and Dan poor. She wanted to see justice, and that simply would not happen within the legal system. The thing that Betty could not tolerate was to see Dan and Linda riding off into the sunset as though the years of lying to her had never happened.
The emotional brick wall that Betty was up against led her down a dangerous path for all. Her mind tormented her all day long as she remembered all the lies that Dan had told her. She could spend some time with her children and have a light moment and as soon as she was alone she would go right back to dwelling on what was happening to her. As she thought of each scenario over and over, she grew more and more angry. To add fuel to the fire, when she called Dan's answering machine, she would encounter Linda's voice: "The Broderick's are not home right now." This sent her to another stage of anger. She felt as though she had been traded in for a younger model and knew that Linda would never have stayed with Dan as she done when he was in school. She turned the air blue with profanity on Dan's answering machine on a regular basis until her youngest son, Rhett, picked up the phone to try to stop his mother from carrying on.
Rhett was crying and pleading with his mom to behave while Betty accused her son of being on their side. Betty could not believe or accept the fact that her friends, her children, and all who knew her had suddenly seemed so willing to accept Dan and Linda as a couple while they pulled away from Betty.
Rhett Broderick: Betty and Dan's Son
There was a certain amount of power that Betty maintained when Dan was simply living with Linda, but when they became engaged, Betty was defeated. The day Dan married Linda had to have been the worst day in Betty's life. Not only did that feel like a knife going in, but she was well aware, because of what her kids were telling her, that Dan and Linda were planning to have children.
How could Betty survive knowing that every two years this evil couple would experience the joy of a new child? Betty was gaining weight and felt unable to remarry. Certainly her child-bearing years were over.
Eight months after their marriage, Betty crept into the home of Dan and Linda Broderick at approximately 5:00 AM. She went into the bedroom where Dan and Linda were sleeping and shot Linda in the head twice and Dan in the chest with a single bullet. It was November 5, 1989, just two days before Dan's 42nd birthday. Linda was 28.
Betty contacted her daughter Lee who came with her boyfriend and turned Betty in to the police. Betty never denied killing Linda and Dan but had used the excuse that she was temporarily insane from the torment. The prosecution blew a hole in that defense, pointing out that Betty had pulled the phone in Dan's bedroom out after her dying ex-husband had reached for the receiver after being shot.
Betty's children suffered the most of all the parties involved. They were now torn between defending their only surviving parent and turning on the woman who murdered their father. Betty's eldest two children, Kim and Dan, made every attempt to do what was morally right by making their mother own up to her responsibility. They also refused to support Betty emotionally in any way. Their positions would change as time went by
Many women adamantly stand by Betty, due to the torment that she endured and have turned against Kim and Dan Jr. for not being on their mother's side in court. It is unfair to punish the Broderick children any more than they have been already. They have had to suffer tremendously and no one can can really put themselves in the shoes of these kids who suffered so much during the most sensitive years of their lives.
The children were divided after the murder of their father. First living with their aunt, Dan's brother's ex-wife, and then splitting up with one of the girls moving to La Jolla with family friends, and Rhett ended up living the the south.
Of all the Broderick kids, Lee was the most supportive of her mother throughout the ordeal. She testified on her mother's behalf and has always been there for Betty. She also remained in the San Diego area where she worked in a restaurant as a hostess. Interestingly, Daniel Broderick had amended his will in 1988, the year before his death, to exclude Lee from any inheritance. He gave no reason for doing so, but left all of his estate to his three other children.
Kim Broderick testified against her mother in both trials, as did Dan Broderick Jr. He is now a successful San Diego businessman and married in 2011. Intense Betty Broderick fans have bitterly criticized Dan Jr. for not supporting his mother and have commented that his wife looks exactly like Linda, but as one can see from the photo, the only similarities are the slender build and blond hair.
True Crime Reading
- Blood, & Money. The Strange Case of Dr. John Hill & Murder in Texas.
The strange case of Dr. John Hill and Joan Robinson Hill. John's affair with the three-times-divorced Ann Kurth was the beginning of the end. Joan died suddenly in 1969 at age 38.
- Classic Hollywood Scandals-Paul Kelly & Dorothy Mackaye
The love triangle scandal that rocked Hollywood. Dorothy Mackaye, Paul Kelly, and Ray Raymond. This remains one of the most famous Hollywood scandals of all time. It contains murder, betrayal, and lust. All the components for a great Hollywood movie.
- A Place In The Sun. The True Story of An American Tragedy
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser was a classic novel based on the true case of Chester Gillette. Forty years after the tragedy it became a classic movie with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, called A Place in the Sun.