Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mrs. Bob Tilton # 2

After Marte, but before Maria, there was Leigh Valentine.

As in Mrs. Bob Tilton # 2.

These days Leigh is selling anti-aging products. Here's a recent Leigh as "beauty expert" YouTube-mercial:

But readers of this blog are probably much more interested in Leigh's role in letting the world know about the "rats eating Bob's brain," as revealed in nasty divorce-related court documents.

Here's what Snake Oil reported at the time, Summer of '96:

"They want to say I'm a GOLD DIGGER," complained Leigh Valentine Tilton to The Dallas Morning News.

Now why would anybody say that?

In both interviews with the press and statements made in court documents, the second Mrs. Robert Tilton has taken the couple's vicious divorce battle into the public arena, dramatically playing the part of the wronged wife who has tried so hard, sniff, to be strong (dab eyes). While Bob has remained tight-lipped during the ordeal, Leigh has wasted no time in airing enough dirty laundry to give a fascinating, if one-sided, glimpse into the lifestyle of the one time Pope of Prosperity. Leigh's fight thus far has centered on staking a claim in the $1.6 million parsonage in the Dallas suburb of Addison. Bob has been in Florida, living aboard the Liberty Leigh, a 50 foot yacht docked in Ft. Lauderdale.

Shortly after filing for the divorce in March, Bob tried to kick Leigh, her son, and her mother out of the parsonage on Winnwood Road. Church representatives were sent in to box up and haul off household effects. Leigh, notified of the intrusion by her personal assistant, came rushing home to find the locks changed, the utilities cut off, and, according to her, many personal possessions missing. Especially upsetting was the bedroom wall safe being removed. Leigh was also furious that Bob had cashed an insurance check on her Jaguar and that her $100,000 annual salary from the church had been cut off. In an application for a protective order, Leigh made the following assertions in an affidavit filed in Dallas County on May 15, 1996:

"I regret having to make accusations; however, to protect myself and my son I find it necessary to tell the truth in this affidavit so that my family and I can be adequately protected. "Approximately Sunday the 18th day of February, 1996, we were in Florida. Bob began one of his drinking sprees, started yelling and screaming at me and telling me how worthless I was and I tried to get away from him. He grabbed me by arms and wrist and cut my leg while dragging me up the stairs. He was verbally abusive and he cursed over and over again in front of my three year old son.

"He told me on this occasion and a couple other occasions, 'You don't understand, I am the Pope! That means I am the boss, haven't you learned that yet? Everyone does what I tell them to do and you had better obey me. If you do not obey me and be submissive with me I am going to make sure you loose everything, everything!'

"It was during the last three months together that Bob was having trouble sleeping and he woke up with several weird dreams and even told me that he was afraid he was not thinking straight. He indicated that he thought he was going crazy and that he didn't think that he was going to 'make it.' When he was in this type of state it was usually after he had been on a drinking spree and he got mad at me during these times because I wouldn't buy his liquor for him and I would not drink with him. Several of these times he woke up in the middle of the night saying that he thought rats were eating his brains and other wild dreams such as that.

"He also indicated that he would have other people kill the people that have messed with him."

It is certainly not the intention of anyone associated with Snake Oil to "mess with" Bob. We had, in fact, hoped that his union with Leigh would be the impetus needed to get his television ministry up and going again. It seems, however, that Leigh was the last thing Bob needed. Leigh, a former Miss Missouri USA and an evangelist in her own right, first met Bob at a religious conference in Germany, and the two supposedly began dating in the fall of 1993. They were secretly married in the Dominican Republic in February 1994 although their marriage was not made public until months later, at which time Bob wrote a letter to his friends and supporters claiming that Leigh had saved his life. This was also the time that Bob, under Leigh's influence, radically altered his preaching style, dropping the Pay As You Pray Prosperity message and embracing a Shout The Devil Out Of You Life form of worship. The double whammy of switching theologies and divorcing Marte, his first wife and co-founder of the church, seriously diminished the attendance at Bob's Word Of Faith Family Church in Dallas. Besieged by religious-fraud lawsuits and unfriendly media attention, his television ministry off the air, and now the church he built falling apart, Bob has become understandably angry and isolated, even vulnerable.

Whether Leigh intentionally set out to wreck Bob's first marriage and then split his church is open for speculation. What seems clear is that Leigh is not going away quietly and is willing to sling a little mud in order to get her lunch hooks into Bob's and the church's coffers.

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