The second season of Dirty John called Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story, which originally premiered on June 2, 2020, on the USA Network, has hit Netflix. Season two is showing the real-life story of Dan and Betty Broderick to the streamer.
The couple made headlines when Betty shot and killed Dan and his new wife, Linda Kolkena, while sleeping. Betty and Dan, who had had an unpleasant and public five-year divorce, shared four kids together: Kim, Lee, Daniel Jr., and Rhett.
In her 2015 memoir, Betty revealed this was not the ending she had in mind for 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.”
At the time of the couple’s 1989 divorce, Dan had complete custody of all four kids. According to her memoir, Betty was pregnant nine times during her 16-year-long marriage to Dan. She shares that her husband did not let her use birth control.
As adults, the couple’s kids, Kimberly Broderick, Lee Broderick, Daniel Broderick IV, and Rhett Broderick, have discussed their troubled upbringing. Kim and Lee, Betty’s daughters, even testified at their mother’s criminal trial in 1991.
Consequentially, their parents’ tension ended in tragedy: In 1989, Betty killed her ex-husband, Dan, and his new wife, Linda Kolkena. Betty was sentenced to prison, where she is still there.
In the 30 years since the murders happened, the couple’s kids have grown up and married and even remain close to each other. Based on her Facebook, Kim, Lee, and Rhett reside near each other in Idaho—yet they are mainly divided about their mother’s fortune.
Here’s what we are going to tell you about the Broderick children’s lives after the events of Dirty John and how they are managing their lives.
The Broderick kids have grown up and have their own families.
Since Betty was sentenced to jail in the years, three of her children have begun their own families. In 2009, Betty sent an L.A. Magazine reporter a family picture 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 now and have children, all girls, that Betty’s never seen outside the prison walls.
A write-up of Dan’s marriage in Inside Weddings does not discuss his parents or his family’s past but has a significant 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 people that most likely includes Betty.
The siblings have a close bond.
In a Facebook post for National Siblings Day in 2020, Kim shared a post, “My all-time favs. Couldn’t do life without you.“
Based on Kim’s public Facebook page, Kim resides near her siblings, Lee and Rhett, in Idaho.
Rhett Broderick appeared for an interview with Oprah.
The youngest of the four Broderick kids, Rhett discovered the death of his father and stepmother through a family friend.
For the Brodericks, being questioned by Oprah is practically a rite-of-passage. Oprah interviewed Betty Broderick in prison in 1992 and later spoke to Rhett, Betty’s youngest son.
Rhett remembered not being shocked 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,” Rhett said.
More than once during Rhett’s childhood, he was sent to live with family relatives or in boot camps for troubled kids. 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 turbulent, moving 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 give her a visit to prison.
In 1991, when Betty was convicted to 32 years to life in a California prison, her youngest child was just 12 years old. While talking to the San Diego Reader in 1998, Betty told 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.
Kim published a 2014 book titled Betty Broderick, My Mom: The Kim Broderick Story, and wrote bout how she and her siblings managed what occurred (essentially agreeing to disagree).
In her book, Kim explains visiting her mother in prison as “the worst heartache and sorrow I could ever imagine” other than of her dad being murdered.
It seems they are still in contact, decades later. In her 2015 memoir, Betty confirmed that at the time, she was speaking to and seeing her children–and grandchildren—frequently.
As of 2010, the Broderick children were split over whether their mom should be freed from prison.
Just as the jury was divided over Betty’s guilt, so were her children. In 2010, they testified at her parole hearing, per the San Diego Union-Tribune, and were split about whether she should be released.
Her daughter Lee said to the parole board that she had a room made for her mother. “She should be able to live her later life outside prison walls,” Lee said. Years earlier, while talking 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.“
Dan Broderick thought otherwise, 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 discharge.
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 showed the extent of Betty’s deterioration 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 price on Kim’s bond with her mother, who allegedly behaved carelessly 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.
Lee, the second-oldest Broderick child, also testified in court; Lee was the first person her mother called after shooting the gun in Dan’s home. Betty reportedly said to Lee on the call, “The bitch is dead.”
During Betty’s criminal trial in 1991, Lee testified after her sister, Kim. She remembered 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.
Distractify reports that Lee had an uneasy relationship with her father. Dan reportedly changed his will before his death to eliminate his second daughter from inheriting any of his wealth (though it allegedly was due to her school difficulties and drugs, not because of Lee’s relationship with her mother). According to the L.A. Times, Dan’s will said his property be divided equally among his other three children.
Despite her role in the trial, Lee vouched for her mother’s release in 2010. She said she missed her father, but told the board that her mom could live with her if released. “She should be able to live her later life outside prison walls,” she said, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
According to the San Diego Reader, Betty claims Lee is most like her.
Betty and Dan Broderick could have more children.
According to her memoir, Betty got pregnant nine times during her 16-year-long marriage to Dan Broderick. As she tells in her memoir, Dan did not like her to use birth control.
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 fastened to stop further pregnancy.
Where is Betty Broderick now in 2021?
Betty is still alive, aged 73 years old, and still in jail at the California Institution for Women in Chino. Although the sentencing is almost finished, she is supposed to spend the rest of her life behind bars.
In January 2017, California’s parole board, consisting of only two members, decided against releasing her from prison. She is now up for parole again in 2032 when she will be 84 years old.
Speaking about the decision District Attorney Richard Sachs said, “Betty Broderick is an unrepentant woman. She has no remorse and zero insight into the killings … She just basically said they drove me to do this.”
However, Betty reportedly penned a letter to the producer of the true crime T.V. show, Murder Made Me Famous, who were looking to profile the murder, saying, “I have no one to speak for me. This was a case of domestic abuse: a pattern of coercive control that lasted throughout our marriage until the day I killed them.”
“I have met all criteria for parole and my release date was 2010 … Now I am only a political prisoner. They have no reason to deny my parole,” she continued.
One harsh decision can make life hell not only for you, but the people around you also suffer. This is what Betty Broderick has learned from her life.