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Author Vicki Rose Shares Personal Story of Marriage Struggle

A union destroyed by infidelity and substance abuse is miraculously restored. Read Transcript

NARRATOR: In 1977, Vicki married Billy Rose, part owner

of the New York Yankees.

They dined at fine restaurants, partied with celebrities,

and looked like they had it all.

But in reality, their relationship was crumbling.

There were times I was doing up to four grams of coke.

I would drink unbelievable amounts of vodka.

My life was in a tailspin.

I was so angry at Billy.

I couldn't understand why he wouldn't

want to be home with us.

NARRATOR: They separated for five years

before Billy moved back.

In her book Every Reason to Leave,

Vicki shares what changed their lives

and why they stayed married in the midst

of a difficult relationship.

Well, Vicki, you're one of my heroes.

And you're here to talk about it.

Thank you.

It's an honor to be here.

It's an honor to have you.

Let's go back to when you first got married.

What were you expecting?

What was the dream?

Well, the problem was I was expecting so much more than

is humanly possible from a husband.

I was expecting my husband to buy

me happiness, take away all my childhood hurts, be everything.

And that's just not humanly possible.

Why did you do that?

Don't talk from your standpoint now where you realize,

I married a human being, I didn't marry Prince Charming.

I didn't know that then.

But when you got married-- because I think a lot of people

go into marriage with the expectation that now

you're done and not understanding, well,

now the work really begins.

That's true.

So what was in your mind?

I had come from a background of non-nurturing parents.

And my mom had died when I was 18, just before I went off

to college.

So I had a lot of baggage.

I had a lot of pain.



Grief that I had never dealt with.

And I don't know why I thought this,

but I thought that marriage would make it all OK.

So that you'd found the nurturer

you were always looking for.

I thought I had, yeah.

And I thought somehow that being married, having that position,

being married to a man who I thought would take care of me

and fulfill all my needs.

What do you mean by "position"?

I thought being a married woman

would just make everything work out OK.

And I think I thought it would give me security.

When my mom died, my dad remarried a couple years later.

And I felt like my family was gone

and everything had changed.

And I hadn't dealt with it in a healthy way at all.

And I thought marriage would just fix all that.

Now you guys had money.

We did.

Was that part of the dream?

It was my dream.

I thought when I grew up I wanted to be rich and famous.

My mother got this newspaper, Women's Wear Daily,

and it had a social section.

And I would look at the women in the pictures

and their long gowns and the parties they went to.

And I thought that's what was success.

How long did it take you to figure out

money wasn't going to fix that?

It wasn't going to fix the problem.

I've had money.

I've been without money.

Between the two, I'd rather have money.

But I know that it doesn't solve the problems.

I don't think I learned that for a long time

after that, not just when we separated.

But it took coming to know Jesus Christ to learn that

and to really be without and find out that there

was a lot of joy in that time.

And it was a good lesson.

It was good to know that.


What did Billy do?

Because I hear he did a lot of bad things.

When we first met, he worked with his father

in a textile business that his father had founded.

And they supplied designer clothing, houses,

with beautiful fabrics, mostly from Italy.

So he worked there.

And I was working as a buyer at Saks.

So I thought here we had all this in common.

It's the perfect marriage.

The perfect marriage.

In fact, there were times--

I'll be your buyer.

You'll be my supplier.

I had to be very careful because he was supplying

people I was buying from.

And you know where that leads.

So I thought I was marrying someone

that we complimented each other, because we

were in the same industry.

And somewhere around after our first child,

Billy had always wanted to own a restaurant.

It was one of his dreams.

And a sports bar--

in those days, it was the very beginnings of sports bars.

So he left his dad in business.

And his dad was much older.

So it was a huge decision.

Yeah, that is a big decision.

And he opened this place in New York

called the Sporting Club.

It was 6,000 square feet of space in Manhattan--

which is enormous for Manhattan for a restaurant--

with no prior restaurant experience-- just a dream.

And he put televisions everywhere

and had these fancy scoreboards built

so you could follow every game in hockey and baseball

and football at all times and filled it up

on weekends with football and football fans-- college

football and all sorts of stuff.

I imagine that took him out of the home

for extended periods of time.

Yes, it did.

And it opened two months before our second child was born.

And I loved that he had a dream and wanted to follow it.

But as he got more and more into it,

it drew him away from the family more and more.

When did you discover that not only was

he working all the time, but he was abusing drugs all

the time and then other women?

So I knew about the cocaine.

But he had quit, and then he had started back up.

And I was very naive.

I didn't really know anything about addiction

or that cocaine was addictive.

And I was clinging to my marriage.

And I didn't know about the other women thing.

I just knew he would leave at 11:00 or 12:00-- at noon time--

and not come home till 2:00 or 4:00 in the morning,

because the restaurant was going strong.

And when I asked him to leave, it

was really because of the drugs and the fact

that it meant he had no life with his family whatsoever.

What was the breaking point for you?

If you're asking him to leave, that's a big break.

It's something I thought about over

and over and over in my mind.

How long?

Known for obsessing probably two or three years, maybe more.

And we went away on a vacation two weeks before we separated.

And he said he was going to do it on his own, get cleaned up.

And we went to Hilton Head, South Carolina.

And I sat on the beach, looking at the ocean.

There are families all around me.

And they were playing Frisbee with their kids.

And I just sat there, tears pouring down my face,

wondering why my life wasn't like that.

And my husband was sitting in a hotel room,

trying to not do cocaine but doing some,

because he couldn't not.

And we had no communication.

He didn't talk.

He just slept or-- it was just awful, miserable.

Addiction is horrible.

Addiction is awful.

And we got back to New York.

And I realized--

I don't know what the breaking point was.

But maybe that was it that day on the beach

that I just couldn't go on like this--

that something had to change, and it wasn't working.

And you didn't divorce.

You separated.

We separated.

And it was a long time.

This was five years.


It was a very long time.

And you didn't divorce.

We did not divorce.


Part of it was financial.

It was beneficial to both of us not to.

Part of it was I was hoping.

I think he might have been, too.

I think for him it was, have a foot in both worlds.

Did you hate him?

I hated him.

I was angry at him.

I loved him.

I wanted to throw things at him.

I wished he would die--

many things.

How did you get through that?

I came to Jesus.

Really and truly, that's how.

It was a year and a half into being separated.

Were you praying at any of these times?

So when I was 10 years old, my family

joined a church in New York City.

And so I had been exposed to church.

I'd gone to Sunday School.

I had been in confirmation class.

I'd been confirmed.

I even appeared on a radio Bible quiz show

with my Sunday School class.

And I'd memorized the 23rd Psalm.

And when things started being so difficult,

random people would say, well, read the Bible,

or read the Psalms, or read this.

And so I would open a Bible and look at it.

And it really didn't have any meaning.

Didn't speak to me at all.

But I did start going back to church.

You ever praying that, God, change him?

Honestly, I don't remember.

I just remember--

God, kill him.

I mostly remember being distraught and frantic and


And I had gone back to work.

No hope.

I didn't have hope.

Nothing seemed like it was changing.

Babysitters were coming and going.

One babysitter left my children out on the street in a double

stroller, asking the five-year-old to watch after

the 2 and 1/2-year-old while she went into the supermarket.

Another babysitter gave my youngest

too much medicine, because she was foreign and read

the fraction wrong.

There was so much happening all the time.

I was just trying to keep my head above water.

And yet, you changed.

How did that happen?

I hear there was a black-tie event,

and you said, great, I can get out of the house,

I can get dressed, I can get my life back.


I went to this black-tie event.

And I learned that night that God loved me and had a plan

for my life but that I was separated from him by what

the Bible calls sin, and that Jesus Christ was God's only

provision for my sin, like worry and fear and self-righteousness

and control over my own life--

that I qualified as a sinner, and that Jesus Christ was

the solution to that, and that I can simply receive Him and ask

Him to take over my life.

And all my sins would be forgiven,

and He would make me into the person

that He created me to be.

You did that that night?

And so that night, there were were 900 people who accepted

the invitation to this black-tie event.

And they offered us an opportunity

to pray and ask Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior.

And I did that night at that event.

And there was a little comment card.

And it had three things you could check--

I'm interested in more information,

I'm interested in Bible study, and I

prayed to receive Jesus Christ.

And I checked them all.

And I can't say there were flashes of lightning

or anything like that.

But I left-- it was at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel--

I left there knowing something had changed.

And they invited us to Bible study.

And that was-- I don't know-- a Thursday or Friday night.

And next Wednesday, I was in Bible study,

learning that the Bible was God's Word, the Truth,

and that Jesus was the Way, the Truth, and the Life-- not

one of the ways to God.

And it just started to feed that emptiness that was in me.

And that fear started to abate.

And I started to have peace.

I bet that was a big relief for you.

That was a big relief.

And I actually started to have joy

again and be content with my life just the way it was.

I was grateful for the apartment that had never been enough.

I was grateful for the clothes in my closet

that weren't fancy enough.

I just started to be grateful.

And that was a huge change for me.

Did you ever think you could have joy again?


When you were on the beach at Hilton Head that--


I didn't.


And part of it was, if he would just get off drugs,

everything would be OK.

But part of me knew that wasn't enough.

And really, nothing's enough except when Christ

is in your life, is in my life.

And He alone is the one who is enough and fills that emptiness

and promises to never leave or forsake me

and promises to be with me always,

even unto the end of the age.

And He is the one who fulfills that neediness in my heart--

Jesus and Jesus alone.

Let's get back to your marriage.

Here you are, new Christian, going to Bible study,

having all this transformation, but it still

took your children to say, let's pray for Daddy.


I wanted no part of my husband.

I wanted no part of him.

But yet, I wanted my family together.

And when the children said--

and they were young.

They were, by then, 3 and 1/2 and six--

they said, let's pray for Daddy.

Out of the mouth of babes.

I thought, oh, I'd rather kill him than pray for him.

But thankfully, I didn't say that.

And I agreed.

And so we started to pray that Daddy would come to know Jesus

every morning at breakfast and every night

as I tucked them into bed.

And then I started to ask my Bible study

to pray that he would come to know Jesus.

And then I started calling the 700 Club every month--

their prayer hotline-- and asked them to pray for Bill Rose

to come to know Jesus.

And as I prayed--

I prayed, and everybody else was praying--

my heart started to change and thaw.

And I started to have compassion for my husband

and realize that he needed Jesus just like I did.

And so we prayed.

Did you ever come to the knowledge

that he couldn't control his addiction?

No, not back then.

--that it wasn't his fault.

Not back then.

I understand that now that addiction is a disease.

But addiction is a compilation of sin,

disease, and things we just don't understand.

I've come to the place--

It's a body, soul, and spirit problem.


And that God alone knows and that I'm not to judge anymore.

That's taken me a long time.

Was that hard for you to do?


Yeah, because--

You want it.

All the things he did bad--

it's hard to forgive when we're right.


And that sense that we're righteous and he's not.

Which is not true.


All our righteousness is like filthy rags.

So I've been a very critical person.

And only in the last few years has God really worked

on that a lot.

We're all works in progress, coming

to the realization, judge not and you will not be judged.

We all have our conception of religion

and what should be right and we carry that.

Well, it's that self-righteousness.

It will kill you.

Yeah, it's sin.

And it will kill relationships.

It will kill a relationship, yes.

My husband's a very patient man, thankfully.

So how long did you pray?

We prayed for three years.

And then what happened?

Well, I had gone back to work to help support us now

that we were living separately.

And then I started reading the Bible at lunch hour.

And I read Matthew chapter 6 about not

worrying about what I'd eat or wear

and started to pray about--

well, actually, I took a piece of paper

and wrote down what I was earning and how much of that

I ended up with after I paid the babysitter and the dog walker

and the house cleaner and the transportation

to get to and from work and the clothes to wear to work.

And I realized it was like this much

and maybe I could live without it.

You're working to work.

Maybe I could live without that,

which was a brand new concept.

I always needed more.

I always wanted more.

So after I added that up, I started praying.

And the people at Bible study approached me at the same time

and asked if I'd be willing to come work there

in the office part time during my children's school hours.

And so it was like, wow, I wanted to be home with them

and be Mom and not leave them in a babysitter's hands.

What would you say-- we've just got 30 seconds--

what would you say to women who are going through what you went


How can they see to the end?


I would say be in God's Word every single day.

Seek God first, and ask Him what He wants to do.

And be willing to surrender it all.


Seek Him first.

All these things will be added.

If you want more, Vicki's book is

called Every Reason to Leave.

It's available wherever books are sold.


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