Is Lifetime's 'Damaged' Based on a True Story? These Real-Life Scandals Share Similarities with the TV Movie
Sometimes it's hard to tell which Lifetime TV movies are based on true stories and which are pure fiction. And I'm not talking about the network's endless lineup of biopics this year — Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, The Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story, and The Brittany Murphy Story among them. Some of those melodramatic tales made for Lifetime TV are actually based on real events, because every movie these days is either ripped from the headlines, based on a book (The Fault in Our Stars, anyone?), or even board games and toys (Battleship, The Lego Movie). But what about Lifetime's latest, Damaged ? Is It based on a true story? After some research, it looks like the made-for-TV movie set to premiere Saturday night is fiction.
Damaged stars Merrit Patterson as Taran Holloway, a wealthy gal new to the neighborhood. She settles into a house across from a high school English teacher named Sam Luck (played by Chris Klein of American Pie and ex-boyfriend of Katie Holmes) and his wife Kate. But guess what? Taran is also Sam's student and he finds himself drawn to developing an out-of-classroom friendship with her. Coincidentally, Sam's running into a string of bad luck, which includes his wife becoming very suspicious of his new friendship being more. What he doesn't realize is that Taran's got a plan and the goal is revenge.
Even though the story of Damaged is only made for Lifetime, it could totally happen in real life — and has in these similar student-teacher affairs, as illustrated with GIFs from the Cameron Diaz movie Bad Teacher.
Revenge with a Student in Scotland
In Stirling, Scotland, Brian Smith cheated on his wife in 2004, and in an interview with the UK's Daily Record, gave his account of what happened next. Smith said that 10 years later, his wife Bernadette decided to get her revenge by sleeping with one of her 16-year-old students.
"She said I deserved it, that this was payback. I’ve hit a brick wall trying to explain or understand it," he told the Daily Record. "I maybe could have understood if she had gone with another teacher, or a neighbor, to get back at me. But not a boy, never. Not someone in her care."
An Ex-Wife's Revenge?
According to BBC News, in 1999, Cathy Woodhead accused her ex-husband, England's chief schools inspector Chris Woodhead, of having an affair with a student when he was a teacher — and she wanted him to confess it to the world. Considering his high position leading the country's schools, a claim like this could ruin the schools inspector's career.
"It is not about revenge, it is only that I want him to tell the truth," Cathy told BBC Radio Four, though Chris denied the claims.
Mentoring Gone Too Far
According to Houston's KHOU, Texas teacher Kelly Ann Garcia claimed she was nothing more than a mentor to one of her 16-year-old students. But soon, KHOU reported, the 29-nine-year-old teacher's life advice sessions went from educational to flirtatious when Garcia told the young student she had a sex dream about her and broke up with her boyfriend so they could be together. Totally inappropriate. But it keeps going, as KHOU reported that Garcia became more intimate with the student, resulting in a sexual relationship. Once word got out, Garcia was fired and charged with indecency with a child and sexual assault of a child in 2013.
So while Damaged may be a work of fiction, there have been plenty of real-life scandals between students and teachers, some even involving revenge, it could have drawn inspiration from.
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