The True Story Behind The Vow Now in Theaters

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What better time to catch a great love story then on Valentine’s Day? The Vow, starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum is inspired by the true story of Krickett (Wife) and Kim (Husband) Carpenter.

Here is the synopsis for The Vow:

Paige and Leo (Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum) are a happy newlywed couple whose lives are shattered by a car accident that puts Paige in a coma. Waking up with severe memory loss, Paige has no memory of Leo or their marriage, a confusing relationship with her parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange), and an ex-fiancé (Scott Speedman) she may still have feelings for. Despite these obstacles, Leo endeavors to win her heart again and vows to love her and rebuild their marriage.

But we all know that Hollywood likes to spin or change things sometimes so here is a real treat for you. I got the chance to speak to the real couple that inspired this amazing story. The best part about the true story is that they are still happily married with two beautiful children. The trials they went through were hard but holding firm with their faith and remembering that they made a Vow kept this couple together to develop an even deeper love than they had before.

How long did you date prior to getting married?

Krickett-We met in September of 1992, on the telephone. He called to order sports jackets and I was a sales rep for a Sports Company in California. Met in person in April of 1993, engaged in June and married in September of 1993. So we met in September 1992 and were married by September 1993. We lived in different states so we wrote letters and talked on the phones with our calling cards. It was before text messaging, cellphones and emails; you know that stuff wasn’t around in the early 90’s.

After the car accident how long were you in a coma?

Krickett- I was in more of a deep coma for three weeks but I was somewhat comatose or months.  In the Hollywood version it’s like you’re laying there not talking or moving, and there is that stage because I was a 3 on the Glasgow coma scale early on which is virtually brain dead. I emerged from my coma and my numbers started to rise. So it really was months that I was considered in a coma but you can actually walk and talk in the later stages of a coma.

From what I’ve read and the portrayal in the movie is that the accident completely took all of your memories of Kim altogether, is that correct?

Krickett- I lost a year and half prior to the accident.  Till about four months after.  So I basically lost a two year period out of my memory.  I have a few snapshot memories from a time where I can remember sitting at a table and looking out and seeing the ocean.  But there were no emotions or feelings from it.  It’s like a quick picture in my mind. We’ve been able to actually go back and figure out where those snapshot pictures were from, but I don’t have anything other than that.

Did you try to do any hypnosis to bring the memories back.

Krickett- I was not focused on trying to remember. I just figured the memories were gone and I needed to look ahead and fix my eyes above.  I did not choose to go back and rehash everything that had gone on.  And retry to figure everything out with my whole heart.  Because to me it was gone and it wasn’t going to do me any good to look back on what was lost.  I just looked ahead.  Whereas my husband wanted me to try and respark something to remember. He was more focused on that than I was.  But that was just my personality and could have been due to some of my personality changes from my head injury. But the core of who I was, I am a positive individual and I looked at the good. I was walking and talking and I wasn’t in a wheelchair. You gotta look at the good.

What were some of the key things that Kim did to make you fall in love with him or to convince you that you were going to stay?

Krickett- There was never convincing I would say. I was married to him I had a wedding ring, a wedding video and wedding pictures, so I had obviously made a vow to him. In good times and bad, in sickness and health and I was going to be a person of my word. There was no excuse for me to leave. I’ve never read in the word of God where you can leave because you forget who your husband is. Even though maybe according to the world there was an excuse but to me there wasn’t, because I know that I will stand before God one day. I choose to love him the second time around and that was based on obedience to God not on feelings, because all my feelings were gone I didn’t have any for him. We went on dates and we did fun things and I got to know this man that I had given my hand to and I liked the characteristics that I saw in him. So my love grew for him and I have a much deeper love for him now than I probably would have had before and a stronger love. But as far as that fluffy pitter patter feeling of falling in love, I never had that feeling again and that’s ok because that’s not what’s going to hold a marriage together, it’s the commitment of two people. Our love grew and developed and I love him deeply.

Explain to me the emotional toll that it took on you knowing that the person you met, fell in love with and married was gone.

Kim- The biggest thing was that we were dealing with the fear of the unknown. In the sense that we couldn’t understand and comprehend what brain injury was. For me to try and put it into words for the duration of time that we emotionally had that roller coaster its just hard to explain. The bottom line is that time was in slow motion and there was so much uncertainty as to where we were heading and what was going to happen. Is this person going to recover to where we were going to be able to have a normal life or relationship? Was this person going to end want to stay here and so it was just a daily fathom of the unknown. It was three steps forwards and five steps backwards. That’s what was really nerve racking for me.

Were there times that you thought it was too hard and that you both should just go your separate ways?

Kim- I had a social worker say that divorce might be the best way to go in all this because it didn’t look good. But I never once thought that I was going to leave. I think the biggest thing that I did think was that if she did not want anything to do with me in terms of our relationship I would at least stay with her until 1. I knew she was going to be capable of taking care of herself and 2. be competent enough to tell me that it’s just not going to work but until that time I was not going to leave. Along the way some things started developing that really reframed the direction in which we were heading in. It gave me a real sense of peace that We’re going to make this. It’s going to work.

Have you both seen the movie yet?

Kim- We have, we’ve seen it about 3 times now!

Does watching the movie bring back hard or happy memories?

Kim- Even watching it for the 3rd time last night I found myself having to get up and walk out because of some of the emotions of some of the scenes that are in it. In many respects the movie is dead on and touches on me and there hasn’t seen a time yet that I cried when I say the movie. It really is a reminder of how truly blessed we are.

Has life been everything you hoped and wished for it to be?

Kim- Yeah, we have such a deep and trenched love now that we have a real appreciation for the small stuff. It’s just not something that affects us. In many respects it has given us a sense of appreciation that we’re able to persevere even through the smaller things in life where other people make a bigger deal of them and really affects their relationship and lives. It doesn’t do that with us. How valuable and precious life is to us. We have two loving children and they are extremely instrumental in our lives. They really are the treasure of the blessing of our Vow.

Did you guys every go into therapy or counseling to help solidify everything?

Kim – It actually was a social worker that got us back on track. Was brought into our life and able to nail down the concepts of what our struggles were about and we are absolutely grateful for the counseling that we received. As humbling as it may seem and the type of person that I am I always wanted to help people. It gave me a better sense of the circle of life, we are born into this world needing to be helped and we live our life helping others and to have the favor returned when you are of age and ready to pass on. It was extremely important to us and that was one of the major roles of getting us to where we are today.

 

So there you go folks. Real life, real marriage. I love that I got to speak with them about their story because it makes you realize that the Hollywood portrayal of love is simply that. A portrayal.

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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.

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