My story is not unique by reality TV standards today … think Bravo’s Houswives, the Osbournes & Hollywood Ex’s but it does have a message. “Nothing is as it seems”… I met Kevin Loud from the original PBS reality TV show ” An American Family” at a party at UCLA when I was 19. We married years later & were together for 23 years. We have the only grandkids of Bill & Pat Loud. I was going to start out with this inside story about the William C. Louds of Santa Barbara featured in People magazine ( 2010) as one of the most important TV shows of the 1970′s along with” Charlies Angels” & the recent HBO movie ”Cinema Verite“( April 2011) starring Diane Lane & Timothy Robbins based on their original reality TV show… BUT decided that too much of my life had already been spent on wanting to FIX things. Trying to fit in with this unique & infamous family had its challenges!! Did Reality TV play a role in the unraveling of their family & inevitably my family… probably.
But rather than get into all of that, I decided first and foremost to make the focus about reconstructing MY life . I began to write for cathartic reasons & through journaling I found the courage to leave my marriage.
You see everything changed for me on one particular night…people on the outside looking in envied my House & Garden lifestyle showcased in magazines & TV, the exclusive country club,the fancy cars, but none of it mattered anymore the night my ex made a bad decision to drive under the influence, got in an accident & fled the scene leaving our traumatized 14 year old daughter in her brand new cheer uniform on the side of a busy road. He may not have hit rock bottom but I did…the emotional & financial toll ( the lawyers, the hospital, the counselor, rehab ,the fines) were overwhelming!! Some days I couldn’t even get out of bed, was this really happening ?? My biggest fear had become a reality nightmare…The addiction had taken over & I could have lost one of my most valuable possessions…my daughter.
The process of starting over for my kids & I has been tough on so many levels. I found out later that two thirds of the children that are killed in alcohol related crashes are killed by the very people who are supposed to protect them. We tell our teen kids not to get in to a car when their friends are drinking, we also have to tell them about their parents drinking.
As I write & speak about my situation, not cover up anymore other women approach me & want to share their stories. I hope to inspire people that they can get out of a bad situation. Addiction is epidemic it affects 1 out of every 5 families in this country…we need to talk about it!
With knowledge, courage & faith (I got down on my knees ) you can regain control of your life…don’t ignore the red flags they are not going to go away…LISTEN to that inner voice inside your head sometimes it is the only one telling you the truth!! … let the cameras roll on your terms …LIVE, LOVE & CHAT OUT LOUD!!!
~ judi Loud