Julie says she ignored warning signs for 16 years and rarely questioned her husband, a man she describes as a loving father with a big personality. "It seemed like a good life," she says. "I was afraid. ... Finding too much or probing too much would have meant the end of what we had or what I thought I had."
Then, one morning, Henry collapsed on the kitchen floor. Emergency personnel rushed him to the hospital, but it was too late. Doctors told Julie her husband was dead. "I felt like everything that I had, all the ways I had defined my life, were going to change," she says. "I felt very lonely almost immediately. He'd filled up the house with his big personality, and suddenly, the house felt very big and empty."
Read more of Julie's story in her memoir Perfection.
Soon after, Julie was busy making funeral arrangements when she stumbled upon the secret life Henry had been hiding for years. She discovered e-mails from multiple women who'd had affairs with her husband. "When I found out about these women, I was completely enraged and I wanted answers," she says. "I got on the phone and called them up."
Julie spoke to a woman her husband met at the gym, a mistress who lived in Argentina and two others. But, she says, the affair that hurt the most was with someone she'd known for years...the mother of her daughter's friend.
Looking back, Julie says the shocking discovery she made that day helped her learn to depend on herself. "I found out that I was a lot tougher than I might have guessed. I could manage alone and take care of my daughter alone, and that was really comforting and reassuring," she says. "I also discovered that opening my heart again to somebody else would be okay and that I could trust somebody again."
Now, Julie says she's in a relationship with a man who shares her core values.