Bob & Ted & Liz (& Malice?)


By Neal Comment

After we ran Tuesday morning’s blind item about the literary marriage busted up by a tycoon, it didn’t take too long for Gawker to get its own copy of Robert Olen Butler‘s breakup email, the one where he told his favorite grad students that his wife, Elizabeth Dewberry, had left him for Ted Turner, and run with it. Turner’s name was enough to attract the interest of Page Six, which presumably alerted Butler to the fact his email had been posted on teh Intarweb, because he complained to Gawker. Full of vitriol, he grandly informed Emily Gould that his email, “intended strictly for those who personally know Elizabeth and me, was to explain an event that, if not explained, would be spun in ways that would unfairly make Elizabeth look bad.”

Or, as Butler clarified to NPR’s Alex Chadwick yesterday afternoon, (and also to Neely Tucker of the Washington Post) it was essential that the creative writing students at Florida State University “know” that Dewberry couldn’t take the strain of living under his Pulitzer’s shadow any longer and was playing out her childhood trauma issues with Turner, because otherwise they might think that she was after his money, and Butler still cares too much about his ex-wife to let people think that about her. So, you see, he really wrote that letter out of the goodness of his heart. Although she would not grant an interview to Chadwick, Dewberry apparently didn’t see it that way, denying off-microphone that she gave Butler permission to air their dirty laundry, and adding that the email contains “inaccuracies.” You don’t say.