Why Gayle Haggard Stayed
In January 2009, when Ted and his wife, Gayle, appeared on The Oprah Show, Ted told Oprah that he was a "heterosexual with homosexual attachments."
When Oprah asked Gayle why she stayed with Ted after the scandal broke, Gayle said she realized that Ted's struggles were only one aspect of him and that they didn't take away from the life they had built together. "I choose to forgive him, and I choose to love him. I made the decision. Then I had to work it out. And that was the painful process for me."
One critical moment Gayle writes about is when she questioned herself after learning of her husband's infidelity. "After I asked myself those questions, I asked Ted those questions, "she says. "'Did I fail you somehow? Was I not appealing enough to you or attractive enough or sexual enough or fun enough? Where did I fail?'"
Ted told Gayle about his encounter more than 25 years ago, Gayle says. "I think now that would be a huge, huge sign for me," she says. "But at that time, I felt as though I understand the fact that we all have struggles. We're all going to mess up in different areas of our life."
Ted says that after reading Gayle's book and getting greater insight into why she stayed with him, he also got a true look at how much she loves him. "That is an incredible thing. I mean, this woman is deeply...she's infatuated with me," he says. "And I am so grateful. I think it's an incredible thing for a woman to love a man the way she loves me, and I don't deserve it."
Gayle says the process of earning trust has been slow but steady. "I know trust is important. I've been hugely betrayed here," she says. "So where do I start? And I thought, 'The things that I can trust today are that I know he really loves me, and I know he's committed to going through the process with me.' Then beyond that, when he came to me and said: 'Gayle, it falls on me to re-earn your trust. This isn't your job. This is mine,' that was huge."
Ted says he lives by the rules of open communication these days. "I Tweet and Facebook my schedule because I feel like not only did I violate Gayle's trust but the public's trust," he says. "But whenever I go anywhere alone, which is very seldom, I'll call Gayle when I arrive. If there's any adjustment to schedule, I call Gayle. ... It would feel very different if Gayle was harshly imposing things on me, but I stepped up and I said, 'I'm going to do this.'"
Gayle and Ted both say that going through hardship and coming out the other side has made their relationship stronger. "I love him more now after we've walked through these difficulties together and I know his weaknesses," Gayle says. "I think before I always felt like I couldn't get close enough to him. That there was a wall I couldn't get past. Once the huge lights were shown on my husband, we were able to really get behind that wall and walk through that, and that actually gave me more love for him."