Is Debra From 'Dirty John' Based On A Real Person? Connie Britton's Character Lived Through A Harrowing Experience
Major spoilers ahead for Dirty John.There are some love stories that feel like something straight out of a fairytale, and then there are those that turn out to be the stuff of nightmares. Such is the case for Bravo's new series, Dirty John, which centers around a woman named Debra Newell, who falls head over heels for a man who seems too good to be true until things take a turn for the worst. But is Debra from Dirty John based on a real person or this is Connie Britton's character a complete work of fiction? Let's just say, this series may make you reimagine your thoughts about finding love at first sight.
Dirty John is actually an adaption of Christopher Goffard’s podcast, which is based on the real-life relationship between Debra (Britton) and con artist John Meehan (Eric Bana). They found each other the way so many people do these days: online. This led to a whirlwind romance, which led to marriage, but ultimately ended in tragedy. So yes, to put it quite simply, Debra is an actual, real-life person and this whole terrifying ordeal is something that really did happen to her, which makes the series all the more chilling — and downright horrifying — to watch.
According to Cosmopolitan, John and Debra met in October 2014 and got married after just two months of dating. John proved to be insanely charming, however, Debra's children were instantly suspicious of his motives. The more they uncovered about John's sordid past (like the fact that he'd previously been in jail), the more worried they became. Debra too, started to have doubts about the man she thought she knew and soon discovered that most of the stuff he told her was a lie.
To give you a better idea of the man Debra was dealing with, Goffard's podcast explains:
"From 2005 to 2014—from about the time he got out of prison in Michigan for drug theft to the time he met Debra Newell in California—he had seduced, swindled and terrorized multiple women, many of whom he had met on dating sites while posing as a doctor, court records showed."
Suffice it to say, John was a predator and Debra was to be his next victim. Once Debra became wise to all of this, she ended up leaving John in March 2016. This led to John threatening and harassing her — even going so far as to post nude images of her to her nephew's Facebook account. (He also stole her car and set it on fire in June 2016, according to the Los Angeles Times.) However, that wasn't the most horrific thing he ended up doing.
In the end, John attacked Debra's daughter, Terra, in the parking lot of her apartment building with a knife. After the two of them struggled, Terra was able to get her hands on the knife and stabbed John repeatedly. He died in the hospital four days later. Luckily, in this case good triumphed over evil, but Debra and her family definitely went through a roller coaster ride of emotions in the process — both on-screen and in real life.