Betty Broderick's Children Were Split Over Her Potential Prison Release (2023)

  • The second season Dirty John unspools Betty and Dan Broderick's contentious divorce in the 1980's, which culminated in a double homicide.
  • The Broderick's four children—daughters Kim and Lee, and sons Dan and Rhett—have spoken publicly about Betty's crime.
  • Today, many of Betty Broderick's children have families of their own.

Warning: This story contains minor spoilers for season 2 of Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story.

The second season of Dirty John focuses, yet again, on another real domestic drama—and the children caught in its crosshairs. Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story follows Betty (Amanda Peet) and Dan Broderick's (Christian Slater) contentious, five-year-long divorce process, during which they fought for custody of their four children.

As adults, the couple's kids—Kimberly Broderick, Lee Broderick, Daniel Broderick IV, and Rhett Broderick—have spoken about their tumultuous upbringing. Kim and Lee, Betty's daughters, even testified at their mother's criminal trial in 1991.

Ultimately, their parents' tension resulted in tragedy: In 1989, Betty murdered her ex-husband, Dan, and his new wife, Linda Kolkena. Betty was sentenced to prison, where she remains today.

Betty wrote in her 2015 memoir that this was not the ending she expected when she started her family. "I absolutely adore my children, from the first moment of the day to the last, and still do. They were my priority and I wanted so badly for them to have a happy childhood."

Here's what you need to know about the Broderick children's lives after the events of Dirty John, and where they are now.

The Broderick kids have families of their own.

In the years since Betty was sentenced to prison, three of her children have started their own families. In 2009, Betty sent an LA Magazine reporter a family portrait taken in prison of herself, her four children, and her two granddaughters—a family that has only grown over the years.

Kim and her brothers, Dan and Rhett, are all married with children—all girls—that Betty's never seen outside of prison walls.

(Video) Betty Broderick 30 years later: Dan and Betty's daughters testify at murder trial in October 1990

A write-up of Dan's wedding in Inside Weddings does not mention his parents or his family's history, but has a telling sentence about their presence in his lives: "Dan’s heartfelt speech also included a special moment of silence for all of the couple’s loved ones who could not be present," the article reads, referring to a population that most likely includes Betty.

The siblings remain close today.

In a Facebook post for National Siblings Day in 2020, Kim shared, "My all-time favs. Couldn’t do life without you."

Based on her public Facebook page, Kim lives near her siblings, Lee and Rhett, in Idaho.

Rhett Broderick once sat down for an interview with Oprah.

For the Brodericks, being interviewed by Oprah is practically a rite-of-passage. Oprah talked to Betty Broderick in prison in 1992, and later spoke to Rhett, Betty's youngest son.

Rhett recalled not being surprised by his mother's drastic actions. "I just remember thinking, 'Wow.' I wasn't really surprised. On multiple occasions [my brother and I] went to my dad and said to him that we wanted to live with my mom, and that not having her kids was driving her crazy—and that she could do something extremely irrational if she didn't have us," he said.

Betty Broderick's Children Were Split Over Her Potential Prison Release (1)

(Video) What happened to Dan Broderick's money?

Soon after their mother was arrested, Rhett, then 13, and Daniel, 15, moved in with Kathy Broderick, their uncle Larry Broderick's ex-wife, who lived in Colorado. Rhett told Oprah the years to follow were chaotic, shuffling between relatives and boot camp for troubled teens. "I constantly felt like I was under the microscope, like everything I did they were trying to blame on my parents' situation," he said.

Growing up, Betty's children visited her in prison.

In 1991, when Betty was sentenced to 32 years to life in a California prison, her youngest child was 12 years old. While speaking to the San Diego Reader in 1998, Betty explained how she stayed a part of her kids' lives.

According to the interview, her children visited her in prison for her birthday and Mother's Day, but not Christmas and school holidays. “I didn’t want for all their memories of those times to be of visiting Mom in prison,” Betty said.

It appears they're still in touch, decades later. In her 2015 memoir, Betty confirmed that at the time she was speaking to and seeing her children–and grandchildren—regularly.

As of 2010, the Broderick children were divided over whether their mom should be released from prison.

Just as the jury was split over Betty's guilt, so were her children. In 2010, they testified at her parole hearing, per the San Diego Union-Tribune, and were torn about whether she should be released.

Her daughter Lee told the parole board that she had a room prepared for her mother. "She should be able to live her later life outside prison walls," Lee said. Years earlier, while speaking to Oprah, Rhett expressed a similar sentiment: "Keeping her in prison isn't really helping her. She's not a danger to society—the only two people she was a danger to are dead."

Betty Broderick's Children Were Split Over Her Potential Prison Release (2)

Rhett Broderick on The Oprah Winfrey Show

Dan Broderick felt differently, telling CBS at the time that his mother should remain in prison. "In my heart, I know my mother is a good person," he said. "But along the way she got lost. Releasing a lost person into society could be a dangerous mistake." According to NBC, Kim Broderick also testified against her mother's release.

(Video) The Betty Broderick Story: What Really Happened | Dirty John | Netflix

In 1991, Kim and Lee Broderick testified at their mother's trial.

When Kim Broderick was 20 years old, she took the stand at her mother's trial. Kim's testimony revealed the extent of Betty's decline during the five-year-long divorce process. At one point, Kim said, Betty burned all of Dan's clothing in the yard, per CBS8 San Diego.

The divorce took a toll on Kim's relationship with her mother, who allegedly behaved erratically and cruelly toward her. Kim recalled the day that her mother was supposed to visit her apartment, and then abruptly decided not to. "All of a sudden, I remembered, I just hate your guts," Kim recalled Betty saying. "You betrayed me. You make me sick."

Lee was written out of her father's will.

During Betty's criminal trial in 1991, Lee testified after her sister, Kim. She recalled the devastating call she received from her mother in November of 1989. "She said she was in trouble and she needed help. She said that she had shot my father," Lee said, during her mother's criminal trial.

Lee also reported that her father had written her out of his will due to her troubles with schoolwork and drugs. Per the L.A. Times, Dan's will dictated that the Broderick estate be divided equally among his three other children.

Betty and Dan Broderick almost had more children.

According to her memoir, Betty was pregnant nine times during her 16-year-long marriage to Dan Broderick. As she reveals in her memoir, Dan did not allow her to use birth control.

(Video) D.A.'s office opposes Betty Broderick parole

Ultimately, the couple had four children. Their daughters, Kimberly and Lee, were born while Dan was in graduate school on the East Coast—he had degrees from Cornell Medical School and Harvard Law School. Their sons, Daniel and Rhett, were born in California.

Betty also had a son who died soon after birth. She also had two miscarriages and two abortions. After the birth of her fourth son, Betty got her tubes tied to prevent further pregnancy.

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Elena Nicolaou

Elena Nicolaou is the former culture editor at Oprah Daily.

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