Women News

Dr Phil’s first wife felt ‘trapped’ as he controlled his every action and brought women home

Philip Calvin McGraw’s first wife was meant to be the only woman he would ever marry; however, the good doctor had control issues and was not loyal to him. They ended up breaking up and they both had different stories to tell about their relationship..

Love is beautiful, but sometimes it pushes us to bitter extremes that ruin the bond. When Philip Calvin McGraw started courting Debbie Higgins, he had nothing but love to give.

He gave her a promise ring when they graduated from high school, and to keep the romance burning, they both shuttled back and forth between Springfield and Tulsa. Some time later, Higgins ran out of money, so she moved to Kansas, where she enrolled in college and hairdressing school.

TV Personality, Dr. Phil McGraw during an appearance on ‘Today’ Season 66 on October 26, 2017 | Source: Getty Images

The distance became too much for McGraw to bear, so he began trying to bring her closer; eventually she joined him in Lubbock, Texas, where he was working at a health club, and the same day she arrived there was a tornado.

Higgins never forgot that day, and neither did the others who had to endure the experience. She would later admit that the natural disaster, which killed up to 26 people, was a harbinger of things to come in their relationship.

Higgins and McGraw were married six months after she moved in with him. The ceremony was very intimate, and many family members from both sides stepped up to fill the most critical roles, such as bridesmaid and best man.

Higgins was a sight for sore eyes; She was dressed in an A-line dress with a long train and wore a gorgeous flood of white rosebuds and little mums.

The honeymoon was in Vail, Colorado, and when it was over, they returned to Lubbock. Meanwhile, in Kansas, Higgin’s mother simmered that her daughter had drifted so far away from her.

It was a sensational time, but the message the McGraws were sending was clear; write the truth or don’t write at all.

Two years later, Higgins and McGraw returned to Kansas when McGraw returned to the state to launch a Greek spa in Topeka. It didn’t take long for things to go wrong.

During their court days, Higgins enjoyed McGraw’s caring and romantic side; however, he changed and became emotionally unavailable after their marriage. He had trouble pronouncing the words “I love you”, but that’s not all.

He also developed a controlling attitude which soon began to threaten to overwhelm her because he wanted to control her in every way. For example, he forbade her to work and demanded that she always be beautiful to him.

Her love for him was strong, so Higgins did his best to obey his rules; however, nothing she did was good enough, and soon McGraw began to freeze her. One of his favorite statements was that his IQ was too low to have an intelligent conversation with him.

One day they got on a plane and she decided to test him to see how far he would go with his silent treatment. The ride lasted four hours and McGraw said nothing to break the silence for the duration.

Higgins felt trapped in the marriage, but luckily she was able to confide in a few people who helped her vent. Unfortunately, McGraw continued to do the wrong things. At one point, Higgins found out he was cheating on her, but when she confronted him, he told her not to take it personally.

When the union finally ended, the couple gave different accounts of what happened, with McGraw saying they both looked at each other one day and decided to end things.


After her divorce from McGraw, Higgins spent time healing her scars, but she never forgot the pain she had to endure with him. Her time with him changed her in more ways than one, and she admitted it thirty years later.

After falling in love with herself again, Higgins decided to write a book about their marriage, but rather than a detailed account of everything that happened behind closed doors, she chose to present it as a humorous book designed to help women retain their sense of humor after a breakup or divorce.

During her lifetime, Debbie worked as a copywriter and was best known for her contributions to “Demon Hunters: Fear the Silence”, which starred Mary Bonczek, Brian Gildea and Rob Dimension.

She died in 2014 from an undisclosed form of cancer and was survived by her brother, who had a lot to say about her relationship with McGraw and how it changed her.


When McGraw found Robin McGraw, the second wife he married, it was apparently love at first sight. It happened shortly after his divorce from Higgins, and when they first met, the woman knew he was her Mr. Right.

They started dating in the 70s and in August 1976 the two got married. Three years later, they expanded their family by welcoming their first boy, Jay McGraw, on September 12, 1979.

A few years passed before their family grew again with the birth of their second son, Jordan McGraw. He was born on October 21, 1986.

Considering his last marriage, many might have expected this one to be short-lived, but he survived the odds and the couple have been doing well for decades now. Speaking about the longevity of their relationship, McGraw acknowledged how much they love being together and her willingness to say “yes, honey.”

On the other hand, Robin has always claimed that their common values ​​and openness with each other has helped them overcome all the obstacles their marriage has faced so far.

One such obstacle was the rumors that the National Enquirer kept spreading about them. When the couple decided to settle the matter, they sued the outlet’s parent company for around $250 million in damages for libel and malicious libel.

The defamation would have affected them financially and professionally since they had made a name for themselves by advising couples in difficulty. The National Enquirer responded fiercely with an article titled “Verbal Abuse, Brainwashing and Worse! The TRUTH About ‘Quack’ Dr. Phil.”

It was a sensational time, but the message the McGraws were sending was clear; write the truth or don’t write at all. Fans are happy the pair stayed strong through it all, and the proof is in.

A great example was the camaraderie Steve Harvey fans witnessed when the pair made an appearance. That day, Robin made a joke about her husband having a “mistress” who happened to be his dog. The love between them was crystal clear that day, and it was proof that they would stay together for decades.


Related Articles

Back to top button