If you’ve seen the first few episodes of Candy on Hulu, you may be wondering: Why did Candy Montgomery kill Betty Gore and was her motive to murder her best friend? It was more than her affair with Betty’s husband.
Candy is based on the 2018 true-crime book, Evidence of Love, which investigates the real-life case of Candy Montomgery, a housewife who was accused of murdering her close friend, Betty Gore, in Wylie, Texas, on June 13, 1980, after having an extramarital affair with Betty’s husband, Allan Gore. Candy—who lived by the Gores with her husband, Pat Montgomery, and their two children—was accused of assaulting Betty 41 times with a three-foot ax. In an interview with Pop Culture, Jessica Biel, who stars as Candy and also executive produces the series, revealed why she wanted to play the character. “[Candy is] such a fascinating person, and the story is just too crazy to be real almost, is what it feels like to me,” Biel said. “But I just love the pathology of a character like that. And I’m just interested in humans, and why they do the things that they do. I always think like, ‘Wow, we’re all capable of anything.'” She continued, “I like to put myself right at the edge there and look over and [ask], ‘Am I capable of this?’ Those are the questions that I’m always asking myself specifically with a project like this.”
Biel also explained to E! News about how she can relate to Candy, despite her character’s alleged crimes. “As we started to get into it and started to really understand who these characters are, just the pathology of what it was like to be a woman back then in the ’80s, I think I was really able to empathize with these women,” she said. “I could see myself struggling with some of the same issues that they’re struggling with.” She continued, “The pressure of being a woman and trying to do it all with a smile on your face, family pressures and work pressures and everything. I feel that.”
In an interview with Pop Culture, Melanie Lynskey, who plays Betty, explained how she wanted to do Betty justice with her performance in Candy. “I loved all the little moments where they just show the mundanity of the suburban life that these women were leading and how much was placed on their shoulders – how much they had to do every single day, how exhausted they both were and how [we] slowly get to know both of them,” she said. “Then, it all culminates at the end of the show in this way that’s so shocking.”
She continued, “I wanted to make sure her story was told in the fullest way possible. That you got an understanding of the fact that she was a woman who was really struggling and had absolutely no help in any respect and just the loneliness of that – of being somebody who needed help and was getting it from nowhere in the time when everyone was supposed to just be like, ‘Ooh, I got married, so that’s the rest of my life set.'”
So…why did Candy Montgomery kill Betty Gore and what was the reason for her murder? Read on for the motive that was revealed in the trial for why Candy Montgomery killed Betty Gore and whether Candy went to jail for her best friend’s death.
How did Candy Montgomery kill Betty Gore?
How did Candy Montgomery kill Betty Gore? Candy, whose full name is Candice Wheeler, killed Betty, her close friend, in their hometown of Wylie, Texas, on June 13, 1980. On the day of the murder, Candy visited Betty’s home to pick up a swimsuit for Betty’s daughter, Alisa, who was staying with Candy and her husband, Pat, for the night, Candy claimed in a hypnosis session with psychiatrist Dr. Fred Fason, according to Texas Monthly. While at Betty’s home, Betty accused Candy of having an affair with her husband, Allan, which Candy confessed to and told Betty that the infidelity happened a “long time ago.” According to Candy, Betty then left the room and came back with an ax, which she used to threaten Candy with to never see Allan again, which Candy agreed to.
As she picked up Alisa’s swimsuit to leave, Candy apologized, which caused Betty to become angry and shove her into a utility room. A struggle ensued between Candy and Betty that caused cuts on Candy’s toe and head. Candy also claimed that Betty told her she wanted to “kill” her. During their fight, Candy was able to take the ax away from Betty and used the blade on Betty in self defense before her friend could attack her again. In terror that she killed Betty, Candy tried to leave the room, but before she could do so, Betty stopped her by slamming her body against the door.
During the fight, Betty told Candy to “shush,” which set Candy off and caused her to hit her with the ax to the “point of utter exhaustion.” During her hypnosis session, Candy claimed that she suffered from childhood trauma that was triggered when she’s told to “shush.” On the day of Betty’s murder, Allan was out of town. When he couldn’t reach his wife by telephone, he asked the neighbors to check on her. After they forced their way into the home, they discovered Betty’s dead body, as Betty and Allan’s 1-year-old baby daughter, Bethany, who had been sleeping in her crib in another room at the time of the murder, was crying and awake. A few feet away from Betty was a three-foot-long ax, which authorities claimed that Candy used to slash Betty 41 times, including 28 times on her head and face.
Why did Candy Montgomery kill Betty Gore?
What happened to Candy Montgomery? Candy, a housewife, met Betty, a middle school teacher, at a service at the United Methodist Church of Lucas in Collin County, Texas, and became close friends. Betty and her husband, Allan, also lived close to Candy, her husband, Pat, and her two children. Candy and Allan’s affair started in the summer of 1978 when Candy and Allan were playing in a church volleyball game and Candy liked the way Allan smelled after the two accidentally bumped into each other, according to Texas Monthly, which also reported that Candy had told her friends that she wanted shake up her “very boring” life with Pat and wanted “fireworks.” Weeks later, Candy, who had known Allan for nine months at that point, asked Allan to talk in his car after choir practice. “I want to talk to you sometime, about something that has been bothering me,” Candy asked Allan, according to Texas Monthly as she got into the passenger seat of his car. “I’ve been thinking about you a lot and it’s really bothering me and I don’t know whether I want you to do anything about it or not. I’m very attracted to you and I’m tired of thinking about it and so I wanted to tell you.” Candy then exited Allan’s car before he could say anything.
A week later, Candy and Allan saw each other again at choir practice, and Allan walked Candy to her car, where Candy asked if he wanted to have an affair. Allan told her that he wasn’t sure because Betty was pregnant with their second child. Candy told him that all she wanted was to sleep with him once. Allan then kissed Candy for the first time in her car before he left. Candy and Allan continued to stay in touch, as Allan warmed up to the idea of an affair and agreed to sleep with Candy. They had sex with each other for the first time on December 12, 1978, at a Continental Inn three minutes away from Allan’s home. Allan and Candy went on to sleep with each other almost every other week throughout the end of 1978 and the start of 1979. In June 1979, Allan and Candy agreed to pause their affair because Betty was seven months pregnant and almost ready to give birth. After Allan and Betty’s baby, Bethany, was born in July 1979, Allan and Candy resumed their affair, with Allan realizing that Candy was more reserved than before. A few months later, Allan told Candy that he wanted to end their affair after he and Betty completed a Marriage Encounter program, a faith-based program to improve couples’ relationships.
Seven months after Candy and Allan’s breakup, Candy killed Betty. So…why did Candy Montgomery kill Betty Gore? Weeks after Betty’s murder, Allan revealed to the police that he and Candy had an affair, which gave authorities a motive for Betty’s death.The police arrested Candy, who was the last person to see Betty alive, and charged her with murder. To represent her in the case, Candy hired Don Crowder, a lawyer she knew from church, who found Dr. Fred Fason, a psychiatrist, to help Candy unlock the memories she couldn’t recall. During a hypnosis session with Dr. Fason, Candy revealed that she hated Betty. “I hate her. She’s messed up my whole life. Look at this. I hate her. I hate her,” she said. Dr. Fason then asked Candy to recall the first time she remembers feeling angry, which was when she was four years old and lost a race to a boy named Johnny, which caused her to break a jar. The incident led Candy’s mother to take her to the hospital, where her mother told her to “shhhh.” In the next few sessions, Dr. Fason determined that Candy’s childhood trauma and the memory of her mother telling her to “shhhh” in a painful moment was what triggered Candy’s rage to kill Betty, who told also told her to “shhhh” before Candy killed her.
Where is Candy Montgomery now?
Where is Candy Montgomery now? After an eight-day trial—where the defense argued that Candy acted in self-defense and the prosecution argued that Betty was conscious when most of the stabs happened and that her death was intentional—Candy was acquitted of murder charges in October 1980. Psychiatrists testified at the trial and claimed that Candy had a “dissociative reaction” that led her to stab Betty repeatedly. The murder was also protected under Texas’ “Stand Your Ground” law that permits the use of deadly force if necessary to prevent a violent crime, such as Betty’s violent threats against Candy.
According to Texas Monthly, Candy and her husband, Pat, left Texas soon after the trial in 1980 and moved to Georgia. They divorced four years later. According to Entertainment Weekly, Candy changed her name back to Candace Wheeler (her maiden name) and still lives in Georgia, where she works as a mental health counselor with her daughter, Jenny.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2022, Biel revealed that she tried to contact a representative for Candy to see “she was interested in having any conversation whatsoever.” “She was not interested,” Biel said. To play Candy, Biel talked Candy’s attorney, Robert Udashen, one of her two lawyers who defended her in her case, whom Biel called a “huge resource of information” for Candy.
Biel also explained why she was drawn to Candy and Betty’s case for Candy. “For 90 percent of their lives, they lived these very normal, suburban lives, and then boom, this crazy thing happens,” she said. “She had to be beloved and likable and nice and kind and someone that you can really get behind, and then after this crazy thing happens, I still want you to weirdly be behind her,” she says. Lynskey added of Betty, “I just felt like I knew her, and parts of me were parts of her.” She continued, “You’re living in this feeling and it can sometimes feel slightly repetitive, but that’s what depression also feels like.”
Biel also opened up about how she could sympathize with both Betty and Candy. “Some of the themes definitely were rage,” Biel said. “Undervalued is a great word… Loneliness, rage, and I think this societal pressure and need for perfection.” Lynskey added, “There is this expectation on women to do everything and not complain. And very much that was present at this time and in this community. It’s kind of beautiful to see a story about two women who are struggling and going about their lives as best they can, but acting out in different ways — coping, not coping — and then it all kind of comes to a head in this horrible fashion.”
Biel also revealed that there was “a lot of discussion” on whether to show Betty’s violent murder at all in Candy. “The pendulum sort of swung this way, then it swung back this way, and then it landed back in the middle,” Biel said. “Everything that we did, it was taken from the court documents, so we were really trying to be very true to her real story.” Lynskey added, “I understand the fear of showing something like that because it is so intense and upsetting, but at the same time, that’s what the story is about. This horrific thing that happened. I don’t know if you want to shy away from the brutality of it and how absolutely awful it was and the intensity with which it must have happened.”
For more about Candy Montgomery, read John Bloom and Jim Atkinson’s 2018 book, Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs. The true-crime bestseller—which was the basis for Hulu’s Candy series—dives deeper in to the case of Betty Gore, a middle school teacher from Wylie, Texas, who was murdered by her best friend, Candy Montgomery, on June 13, 1980. “Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore had a lot in common: They sang together in the Methodist church choir, their daughters were best friends, and their husbands had good jobs working for technology companies in the north Dallas suburbs known as Silicon Prairie. But beneath the placid surface of their seemingly perfect lives, both women simmered with unspoken frustrations and unanswered desires,” the publisher’s description reads. The book includes exclusive interviews with Gore and Montgomery’s families, as well as a gripping account of Montgomery’s murder trial. The book is described a nail-biting story that’s sure to “fascinate true crime aficionados,” according to Kirkus Reviews.
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