Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw: "Divorce Is Not an Option"
Inside the McGraw Home
Consider the rabbit hopping around Dr. Phil's Beverly Hills backyard, munching on a pink begonia petal. Her name is Carmen, his housekeeper's pet, and the bunny never bothers anyone, never tries to enter the house, so why not let her have the run of the place? Dr. Phil's beloved dog, Maggie (a pooch he got at the pound that turned out to be a rare, purebred Korean Jindo dog), plays with Carmen. Sometimes, the two pets curl up together in a show of family harmony.
That's the feeling here in the richly appointed McGraw home. Sure, the house is fancy: thick, dramatic draperies, large statues, Gothic crosses, crowns, pedestal candles, couches adorned with piles and piles of tapestry pillows. A lot of what Robin McGraw, Dr. Phil's wife of 32 years and best-selling self-help-book author, has chosen to say with her prodigious decorating skills is borrowed from royalty. This is Dr. Phil's house and this is a place that proclaims: king!
That's the setting, but the activity is distinctly down-home. Outside on the patio, Dr. Phil, 57, is sharing a pitcher of iced tea with Robin, 54, and Jay, their 28-year-old son, as the two discuss the debut of Jay and Phil's new show, The Doctors. The rabbit is hopping around Jay's feet, the dog is catching some rays in the rose garden, just in front of a welcoming path blooming a perfect yellow, pink, yellow, pink, leading to the pool and guesthouse.
It's been a busy time for the family with the new show, with Dr. Phil still the second-highest-rated daytime talk program in the nation, and with Robin and Dr. Phil recently having teamed up as spokespeople for Forgotten Children, a National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association campaign created to raise awareness of the nation's half-million foster children and help recruit volunteer advocates. In Dr. Phil's new book, Real Life: Preparing for the 7 Most Challenging Days of Your Life, which hits bookstores this month, he coaches readers through a series of major crises in their lives -- everything from a loved one dying to confronting your own serious illness. Be prepared, he argues, and he offers tools for survival. "Nobody teaches us what happens when you go to the doctor and three days later the tests are back and the news isn't good," he says, explaining his idea for the book. "What do you do when you get that call? What do you do when mental health fails you or someone you love? What I try to do is say this is what the day is, here's what to expect when it hits you, and here's your strategy for getting back to better days. It's really a book about hope and power and self-determination."
McGraw loves talking about the book, the show, the pergola, the bougainvillea vine -- he famously loves to talk. What he does not like to do is sit still for a photo shoot, today's business. His back hurts. His neck hurts. He needs to move to ease the aches. But he has not once complained and, in fact, has shown only a most generous smile. Because Robin loves this stuff. Robin is in her glory. All the outfits she gets to try on, all the hair and makeup people fussing over her. Queen for a Day! He beams as he watches her, compliments her, wraps his arms around her. She whispers in his ear, cracks up at his every joke -- here is a woman who exudes her conviction that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, in this world more wonderful than being the wife of Dr. Phil. The two are tight, clearly still very much in love after 32 years. (All of which helps debunk the recent tabloid stories that they're splitting up -- a rumor that Dr. Phil is quick to dismiss. "It's absolutely and unequivocally not true," he says of the published gossip. "Celebrity plus scandals equals sales. If there is no scandal, then they try and manufacture one.")
A perfect segue to present them with six scenarios, common situations that might threaten any happily-ever-after dream.