Finding Your Roots

S7 E1 | CLIP

Catholic Divorce Scandal

John Waters discusses how his Catholic grandmother's divorce was seen as a scandal.

AIRED: January 19, 2021 | 0:01:19

- [Henry] It began with his maternal grandparents,

Clifford and Stella Whitaker.

John knew Stella well, but Clifford was largely a mystery.

- They were divorced and it was secret, I guess.

It wasn't in our family, my mother told us.

But it was then, for a Catholic woman

to be divorced was a scandal.

And I love my grandmother.

She understood my life, even though she was straighter

and more, you know, but she still was always my supporter,

because I traveled and she was all for that.

But, but her husband, who she was divorced from,

we heard many different reasons how he died.

He died very young.

I gather he drank, I gather he was a hunter.

You know, I don't know really.

- [Henry] Records show that Clifford died

when he was just 35 years old

from carbon monoxide poisoning.

A tragic accident caused by a faulty heater in a hotel.

At the time, Clifford and Stella had been divorced

for at least two years, but it seems

that Clifford still had feelings for his former wife.

(low-key mellow music)


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