Now that everyone's binged Love & Death, they're asking, "Where is Candy Montgomery today?"
Truthfully, you might be surprised to learn the answer. As if the Candy Montgomery trial wasn't shocking enough—as evidenced in Love & Death on HBO Max (now MAX) and Candy on Hulu—her current whereabouts definitely spark debate amongst true crime fans. Even the women behind the role of Candy, Elizabeth Olsen in Love & Death and Jessica Biel in Candy, cannot seem to wrap their heads around this whole story and what led to such a tragic and unnecessary ending.
"It was someone who was put in such absurd circumstances," Olsen told Harper's Bazaar. "What are all the steps that led to the decision making that happened and for the decision making to have gone so wrong?"
Likewise, Biel told Variety: "Once I really started diving into who she is and how this ending happened this way, I got really interested in why and how did this very normal woman — seemingly very normal, upstanding pillar of the community, good mother, good wife, nice human — how did she commit this crazy act of violence?"
But what's even stranger than how it all happened is how life unfolded for the Texas housewife after the grisly murder.
Where is Candy Montgomery today? Did she go to jail?
Believe it or not, Candy Montgomery is a free woman today. But let's backtrack a bit.
Candace "Candy" Montgomery was accused of murdering her close friend, Betty Gore, in Wylie, Texas, on June 13, 1980. Montgomery, who had been having an extramarital affair with Betty's husband Allan Gore, had stopped by the family's residence to pick up a swimsuit for their daughter when Betty confronted her about the affair. A physical fight ensued, ending with Montgomery reportedly stabbing Gore 41 times with a three-foot-long ax, all while Allan was out of town.
So, when did Candy get caught? After Allan had confessed to authorities that he'd been having an affair with Candy, she was subsequently brought in for questioning. According to sources, she did not take any responsibility for Betty's murder and she had refused to take a polygraph test. But ultimately, the footprints and evidence at the crime scene was enough for her arrest warrant.
Four months later, the trial took place, and during which Montgomery argued that she had acted in self-defense after Gore had grabbed the ax from the garage. Hypnosis sessions led psychiatrists to claim that Montgomery had experienced a "dissociative reaction" during the altercation and that her rage was the result of childhood trauma. A jury acquitted Candy Montgomery of murder charges on October 29, 1980.
Candy Montgomery's attorney, Don Crowder, experienced a more trying fate post-trial, and even he was surprised how things played out. According to The Dallas Observer, he referred to it as "maybe the zenith of an extraordinarily successful career, or the demise of what could have been."
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Where is Candy Montgomery today?
Following the trial, Candy Montogomery, her husband Pat Montgomery and their children left Texas in 1980 and moved to Georgia. The couple divorced four years later and Candy adopted her maiden name, Candace Wheeler. She, ironically, went on to become a mental health counselor, per Newsweek.
Is Candy Montgomery still alive?
Yes, Candy Montgomery is alive and was recently working as a therapist in Georgia. Born in November 1949, she is currently 72 years old.
Jessica Biel reportedly tried to get in touch with the real-life Candy in preparation for her role, the actress told Entertainment Weekly: "She was not interested." Biel then turned to Robert Udashen, one of Candy's attorneys in the murder case, who was a "huge resource of information."
Of playing the real-life Candy Montgomery, Biel told Variety, "I wanted to create this person that you really, really were conflicted about. You’re with her. You’re with her and then, wait a minute, I’m not sure if I’m with her. As the story unfolds, you empathize with the actions. You get it on some level. You connect on a human level in some way."
Likewise, Olsen planned to dig into the character's psyche and what made her carry out such horrific acts, but also wanted to leave the character's story up to interpretation.
"My job was to tell what her truth was that she presented and allow for space for there to potentially be another truth," she told Bazaar. "In performance, there are opportunities to maybe create a window into 'Maybe there’s another truth besides the one that I’m telling.' But ultimately, it wasn’t a conversation I had [with directors]."
Love & Death is now streaming on MAX and Candy is streaming on Hulu. Check out all documentaries and shows about Candy Montgomery.
Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life.
More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York.
When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.
- Danielle ValenteDigital News Writer
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