Among my married friends, claiming "grounds for divorce!" has become the preferred battle cry, for such marital crimes as wearing flip flops to nice restaurants, backseat driving and not understanding the appeal of the Real Housewives of New York reunion shows.
So I guess our standards for divorceable behavior are a little different than Yvonne Stern's. Stern is the Bellaire mother who survived three attempts on her life last year, and who became a national sensation known as the "Bellaire socialite" when her husband, attorney Jeffrey Stern, and his mistress Michelle Cabrera Gaiser were arrested and accused of orchestrating the botched murder.
Stern made more headlines in February when she called off divorce proceedings and stood by her husband as he turned himself in to face two counts of solicitation of capital murder. On Monday she testified against Nhut Nguyen, who is one of three men in addition to Stern and Gaiser charged with crimes related to the murder-for-hire plot. Nguyen was convicted Tuesday morning of aggravated assault for shooting at Yvonne Stern through her glass front door in April 2010.
Nguyen is now in the penalty phase of his trial. But the fascination in this case continues to center around Stern, who was unharmed in the incident.
Cross-examined on the witness stand, Stern confirmed that she is standing by her husband. Why? According to Jeffrey Stern's lawyer Paul Nugent speaking on Good Morning America in February:
"Initially she was ... as we would probably expect, extremely antagonistic toward her husband, any contact any communication, she was very dead set against. She's got two very young bright children and the lack of their father's presence in their life weighed on her more so than anything.
"She is without a doubt convinced that he got involved with a woman who, for whatever reasons, through whatever grandeur delusions, psychosis, whatever it may be, believed that she needed to get rid of Mrs. Stern. And that is where the prosecutor and Mrs. Stern differ ... she doesn't believe he had anything to do with planning the attempts on her life."
Nugent added that Yvonne Stern believed that if her husband had really wanted her dead, that he had the means and opportunity to kill her. Now if that's not a reason to take someone back, I don't know what is.
Even if the Sterns' version is correct and the husband had no part or knowledge of the murder plots — all four of them —he's still a man who serially cheated on his wife with a deranged lunatic, bringing that lunatic and her hired hit men into the lives of his wife and children with his poor actions and judgment. That's a best case scenario.
As Whitney Houston would say, "HELL to the NO."
I'm not trying to blame Yvonne Stern — she's had more than enough happen to her in the past 18 months. I can't imagine what 20 years of marriage, two kids and several threats on your life will do to your psyche. She can make her own decisions in what she feels is her best interest.
But as a warning to my future spouses: If you or anyone you know tries to shoot me several times, that is grounds for fucking divorce. Case closed.