Daniel Broderick III started a relationship with his legal assistant Linda Kolkena shortly after his split from wife Betty Broderick, but did the relationship start before the breakup? Betty Broderick suspected her husband was having an affair, though he denied the allegation. Broderick’s story is being featured on Season 2 of Dirty John, a USA Network series that looks at men who gaslight women.
Betty Broderick shot and killed her ex-husband and his new wife, Linda Kolkena Broderick, on November 5, 1989. She was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 32 years to life behind bars, but there are some who view Betty Broderick as the victim. The Broderick vs. Broderick story has captivated people since the ’90s, being featured in various television adaptations.
Kolkena Reportedly Viewed Broderick as a ‘God’
Kolkena, who is being portrayed by Rachel Keller in Dirty John, viewed Dan as a God, her friends told Bella Stumbo, author of Until the Twelfth of Never. He hired her as a receptionist at his law firm in 1983 and later promoted her to his legal assistant. They would go for long lunches and co-workers would find empty bottles of wine in his office. People soon started to suspect they were having an affair.
One of those people was Betty Broderick, who stopped by Dan’s office for his birthday. When he wasn’t there, the receptionist told her that he was out to lunch with Kolkena. By 1985, the Brodericks’ marriage had come to an end, with Dan filing for divorce. Betty Broderick would go on to leave lewd messages on her ex’s answering machine, continuously drop by his new house and smear a pie that Kolkena baked all over his bed.
Kolkena reportedly called Betty Broderick a “wild woman” who “tormented Dan for all of their marriage,” Stumbo wrote, as noted by Oxygen. “Linda may have been just a woman in love — but she was evidently also one without compassion for an older woman she had never met, whose life was going down the drain,” Stumbo wrote. “All Linda knew about Betty Broderick was what Dan had told her — here was a harpy asking for all that she got — and she accepted that.”
Betty Broderick often accused Dan of suffering from a midlife crisis since he was 16 years older than Kolkena. “He went off with the bimbo at 40, driving a red Corvette–haven’t we heard this before?” she told the Los Angeles Times.
Kolkena Offered Broderick a ‘Second Chance,’ Friends Said
But friends said Kolkena and Broderick’s relationship was genuine. “Linda offered a new life, a second chance,” a friend said at Kolkena’s funeral, Stumbo wrote in her book. “She gave him the optimism to marry again and to hope for a second family. Together, they were such a delight with their broad smiles, twinkling eyes, rich laughter, and sweet terms of endearment.”
“Their life among us has ended, but all of us here will be together on days and nights in the future to drink and sing and laugh,” the friend added. “Without Danny and Linda, the wine will never be as wet, the songs will never be as pure, and the laughter will never again be as joyous.”
Betty Broderick wasn’t just upset about Dan moving on with another woman. She was also concerned about their money. Dan Broderick was a successful lawyer who was making $1 million per year at the time of his death. She had come accustomed to living a lavish lifestyle after supporting the family while Dan Broderick was in school, getting law and medical degrees. He was paying her $16,000 per month in alimony but it wasn’t enough. She also didn’t have custody of her four children and Broderick sold their shared home without her consent.
Broderick maintained that if things went her way she would have been happy. “I would’ve been fine,” she told the LA Times. “I would’ve had my house, my kids. I would’ve still worn a size 6. I could’ve done my ‘superior’ dance.”