Mary Elizabeth Witherspoon, who goes by Betty, said she learned of the illegal marriage after friends called and told her about a wedding announcement that was published in the Tennessean newspaper on April 22.
“When I confronted my husband, he said he didn’t know who Tricianne
Taylor was and that he did not remember getting married,” Witherspoon,
63, said in an affidavit filed Tuesday.
A Tennessee court issued a restraining order Wednesday prohibiting
Taylor from using the last name Witherspoon, from attempting to obtain
credit “posing as the wife of Dr. John Draper Witherspoon” and from
obtaining any of his property.
The Witherspoons separated in 1996 when Betty moved out “because of
my husband’s alcoholism, infidelity, overspending and hoarding,” she
said in the affidavit.
“I love my husband and do not want a divorce,” Betty Witherspoon
said. “He needs help.”Betty Witherspoon said she learned from an
investigator that Taylor “has gotten my husband to sign a new will” and
has also “attempted to borrow money as Ms. John Witherspoon.”In addition
to his problems with alcohol, hoarding, and spending, John Witherspoon
suffers from depression and was recently let go from his medical
practice, she said.
He is also diabetic, has heart disease and is “otherwise not in good
health,” Betty Witherspoon wrote, adding he “could easily die through
lack of medicine, or too much medicine or some other malicious act.”John
Witherspoon, 70, tried bringing Taylor to his daughter’s wedding in
March 2011, but security refused to let her in because she wasn’t on the
The wedding notice said the “intimate” ceremony for Witherspoon and
Taylor was held at a private chalet in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on January
14 and that a celebration for friends and family was planned for the
summer in Nashville.
“Cowboy boots and yellow roses accented the ambiance of the couple’s
Texas heritage,” the notice said, adding that Taylor, who is the former
head of Action Designs, will continue her US Veteran Advocacy work.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for May 31 at 9:00 am at the Davidson County court.