NETFLIX drama Dirty John has fans gripped with the true story of a woman whose perfect “doctor” husband turns out to be a dangerous con man.
But who are John Meehan’s former wives and what happened to them?
Getty Images – Getty Daughter Emily Meehan, former wife Tonia Sells and daughter Abigail Meehan attend the after-party for Bravo’s anthology series ‘Dirty John’
Who is Tonia Sells?
Meehan’s first wife Tonia was 25 when she married John Meehan.
He told her he was 26 when really he was 31 and claimed his own family couldn’t attend their wedding as they were all addicts.
The pair had two children together named Emily and Abigail.
After ten years of marriage, Meehan told Tonia he wanted a divorce.
Oxygen John Meehan was married to both Tonia Sells and Debra Newell
She tracked down his mum Dolores, who revealed Meehan had lied about his birthday, real name and previous drug charges against him.
Tonia then searched the house and discovered he had been stashing anaesthetic drugs stolen from the hospital where he worked as a nurse.
She called the police and they began investigating him.
Getty Images – Getty Debra Newell at the ‘Dirty John’ after-party
Who is Debra Newell?
Two days after he left prison where he was serving time for breaking a restraining order, Meehan met Debra, an interior designer from California, on an over-50s dating site.
He claimed to be an anaesthesiologist in Iraq and wooed Debra immediately.
They got married just two months later and Debra’s two daughters Jacquelyn and Terra were dismayed.
They were both suspicious of the man and thought he was after their mum’s money.
He held Terra at knifepoint after his lies were exposed.
Eric Bana, who plays Dirty John in the Netflix drama, said the real Terra was scared to meet him during filming of the Netflix series.
Getty – Contributor Terra Newell and Debra Newell being interviewed on January 12, 2018
What did John do to his former wives?
Once John had left Tonia he began leaving threatening voicemails saying: “When it happens, Tonia, and you see it in your eyes, remember it was me, OK?
“Tonia, you enjoy your time left on this earth, OK? Because that’s what it’s gonna come down to.”
She reported him to the police again and he was convicted of menacing and given a suspended sentence.
In 2016 Meehan stole Debra’s car and tried to burn it.
Two months later he attacked her daughter Terra in a carpark, but she got the knife off him and stabbed him 13 times in self-defence.
Terra told Fox5: “I just started stabbing him. I started to push him off of me and then I got him right here [shoulder] and I also got the last one in his eye and the last one I kind of did give a second thought. I was like ‘I don’t want him to get back up, I don’t want him to try to hurt me again. If he gets back up he’s gonna kill me’.”
Meehan died four days later in hospital, on August 24, aged 57.
Getty Images – Getty Eric Bana, Connie Britton, Debra Newell, Juno Temple and Terra Newell at the ‘Dirty John’ after-party
What are they both doing now?
Tonia appeared on The Today Show when the Dirty John podcast was first broadcast.
She said in an interview on the programme: “We’ve been watching him and watching his story and kinda keeping an ear and an eye open with a detective in Ohio for the last 17, 18 years.
“So, some of it’s a surprise. Exactly how it happened is a surprise. But we knew that this was going to end in someone dying. We just didn’t know who.”
Debra has since started her own interior design business.
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She has been involved in the production of a TV series about her life and told US Weekly: “Some of the family members were not for this. So it was really hard being able to know if we should do it or not.
“They were going to do it without us so we felt like, ‘Wouldn’t it be better if we were able to have an opinion or share our story?’ At that point it was pretty easy.”
Terra has befriended Tonia’s daughters and they regularly post pictures together on Instagram.
Jacquelyn on the other hand has decided to stay out of the public eye and has not appeared in front of the press.
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