Married at First Sight star Jamie Otis shared a shocking revelation in her new memoir about her experience on the show and in her marriage.
In her book Wifey 101: Everything I Got Wrong After Finding Mr. Right, Otis and her reality TV husband Doug Hehner reveal the details of his debilitating addiction to pain pills.
Otis discovered that her husband, who she never met or spoke to before she walked down the aisle at their wedding, was in recovery when he refused to take a Vicodin after an accident. Hehner explained to her that he had a “serious dependency” on painkillers following two shoulder surgeries, ending his dreams of a major league baseball career.
“Lost and aimless, he sank into a depression and became addicted to the pain pills prescribed after his injury,” Otis wrote in her book. “For two years, he was an incoherent zombie, suffering alone in the darkest period of his life. He lost weight and alienated his friends. He borrowed money from his parents to feed his habit. The pills took over his life and destroyed it.”
Hehner added an explanation in his own words. “After my second surgery, it was a slippery slope,” he wrote. “I got to the point where I started taking four, five, six at a time, and I felt like I needed them to sleep.
“It got to the point where my day was consumed with finding pills,” he wrote. “I would drive all over New Jersey, it didn’t matter where or how long the drive was. I couldn’t function normally without them. I would cancel plans, I would avoid my family, I was a miserable person, until I found pills.”
It got so bad that Hehner began stealing pills from his own grandfather. His friends eventually told his family about his addiction and they convinced him to quit cold turkey. He relapsed, but began attending meetings several times a week where he learned a valuable lesson.
“You can go to all of the meetings in the world, and educate yourself, and get a sponsor, but you will never quit unless you want to quit,” he explained. “It has to be your decision.”
The news was particularly heartbreaking for Otis because of her own family history: She was forced to raise herself and her siblings pretty much on her own while her mother battled her own addiction issues. But she and Hehner are still married and she said his secret brought them closer together.
“He trusted me with his deepest, darkest secret and I’d never felt closer to him,” Otis explained. “We were going to fight our demons together.”
Pretty miraculous considering the first thing out of Otis’ mouth after the couple wed was that she thought he was ugly. Guess she got over it!