I recently came across an article written last January by Mike Fleming in which he published a very detailed puff letter by Deborah Rennard, Paul Haggis’ ex-wife, that was to me stunning but not surprising.
I was stunned because Deborah has known for a very long time about Paul’s promiscuity and behavior toward women. But not surprised because she must be in a difficult position, relying for support on Paul and fearful of losing it.
Of note are two things: first, that it appears to be a point by point address of the claims raised against Paul in the current lawsuit he is embroiled in, and second, that the author of the article happily presented this sugary apotheosis of Paul without further digging into his life.
Kathy told me that Deborah had consulted Kathy about her concerns about Paul’s fidelity during the 5 years they had been dating. Kathy and Deborah both knew that Paul had been unfaithful to his first wife. Kathy advised her that if she wasn’t sure she should marry him, she must get Paul to come clean on any affairs he may have had and then get him to get honest and straight. She also advised her to write up everything she found. Sometime later, Deborah sent Kathy a photocopy of the memo she wrote about what she had found out. It is from this copy that I draw Deborah’s words below.
The disparity between the Paul that Deborah knew and wrote about at that time and the recent canonization of Paul she sent to the media is quite stark, as you can see for yourself.
In her May 1996 memo, Deborah wrote:
“Last night at 1:00 in the morning I learned from Paul that he has had sex with “dozens of women” throughout our … relationship.
“This was something I had no knowledge of. My first concern was that he had endangered my life and the livelihood for his children by engaging in unsafe sex. (We had an agreement that he would never ever do that.) He swore to me he had always used a condom. Later I asked him again, again he swore he had. However, the next morning when I spoke to him again and again asked him, he confessed he had not used a condom twice with two different women. I asked him who they were. One was a woman I know to have many sexual partners, the other was a woman he had just met somewhere and had sex with. He also admitted then to having been tested twice for HIV. I had no knowledge of any of this. He said he was last tested 2 months ago.
“I asked him both times I spoke to him to tell me exactly how may women there were. He said he would make a list, he wasn’t sure. He could only recall 7 that night. The next morning he said it was 15 but he wasn’t positive, most of them he said he couldn’t remember their names.
“Both of these conversations occurred on the phone. Paul is, and has been since Mar 3rd in Chicago.
“Most of these women are women he just met while being out of town. Three of them he mentioned he had met while staying for two or three days in a city. One of them, in Germany, he was there for one night.
“He told me this first started about 4 years ago, when he was up in Toronto shooting his pilot for “Due South.” The first woman, Betty Michalyshen was doing PR for the show. (The next year when I was living with him in Toronto, he made a point of suggesting I befriend Betty. When I mentioned to him she and I had had dinner together he became almost giddy (excited) asking what we had talked about.) The last one he admits to sleeping with was two months ago, in Chicago. He said she was an artist staying at his hotel. There was also someone he says he just kissed and flirted with, just prior to my arrival last month to visit him for a week.
“When I arrived in Chicago last month I immediately felt something was going on. I asked him about this and he said there wasn’t. I told him I felt our relationship had been “unmocked”, and I felt he was, or had been somehow involved with someone. He denied this adamantly and said he was just distracted by his work.
“He vehemently denied anything time and time again. I told him I was really afraid of him going off and sleeping with another woman. He swore to me over and over he hadn’t done anything. He reassured me over and over and asked me what he could do to help me with my problem. I began to feel I was getting paranoid because I had so much attention on catching him all the time, and yet because he constantly denied having done anything … and agreed with him, it was “my problem.”
“I told him I cannot be with anyone who I can’t trust. I told him he has to be completely honest with me or it’s all over. He told me “You couldn’t handle the truth.” I told him it didn’t matter what my reaction was, he had to tell me the truth. That’s when he said “your worst fears are true. I’ve had affairs with dozens of women.”