Everything we know about Jacquelyn Newell, the woman Dirty John's 'Veronica' is based on.

When Veronica Newell met her mum’s boyfriend, John Meehan, for the second time, she tried to hire a private investigator. After selling her beloved Chanel bag to gain funds, she did just that. There was something, she thought, off about John.

Her menacing suspicion, was right.

The investigator revealed this man, who was now married to her mum Debra, had a number of restraining orders against him, he had a history of drug abuse, and he had served time in prison.

John was a compulsive liar, a master manipulator and a well experienced con artist. He had a history of taking advantage of vulnerable women.

Veronica, the eldest daughter of Debra Newell, made it her mission to convince her mum to file for divorce.

Watch the trailer for Netflix’s Dirty John below. Post continues below after video…

The gripping story, which ends in John attempting to murder Debra’s other daughter, Terra, became the focus of a Los Angeles Times and Wondery podcast called Dirty John.

It has since be turned into an eight-episode thriller series, which was recently released on Netflix.

The unsettling series deals with the theme of abusive relationships and how hard it can be to leave a relationship, even when you know your partner isn’t good for you.

The podcast and subsequent series has gained a stunning amount of attention, with people obsessed with the real life characters of the show.

But whilst Veronica – who’s real name is Jacquelyn – was the most vocal about her hate for John, she has been the most withdrawn since the family’s story has gained international attention.

Yep – Veronica “please don’t call me Ronnie” Newell isn’t actually real. She’s based on a woman called Jacquelyn.

Like Veronica, Jacquelyn, who was 24-years-old when John first came into her family’s life, was an assertive figure throughout the saga.

In the original LA Times podcast, Jacquelyn participated in the interview process and told reporters of her initial concerns and attitude towards John.

“Things unsettled Jacquelyn, like the slangy, misspelled texts she received from her mum’s number that were clearly not from her. And the way her mum kept calling to complain that money was missing from her wallet,” journalist Christopher Goffard wrote.

“Jacquelyn told her to think about the loser she was dating. She thought her mum, so nice and trusting and naive, had no idea who he was.”

It continues: “Jacquelyn bought a magnetic tracker and put it on her mother’s Tesla to monitor John’s movements when he left the house… from her iPhone, Jacquelyn began studying the strange routes he took.”


But when the news broke that a series based on the podcast was in production, Jacquelyn asked the producers to change her name. A choice also made by Debra’s nephew Toby, whose real name is Shad Vickers.

Whilst Debra and her other daughter, Terra, have both been participating in the press tours for the series, Jacquelyn has remained completely out of the spotlight.

debra newell real life
Debra Newell with her mother Arlane Hart and her daughter Terra Newell at the premiere of Dirty John in November 2018. Image: Getty.

Alexandra Cunningham, the showrunner of Dirty John, told Huffington Post that, "Because [Jacquelyn and Shad] participated in the podcast, their stories could be told, but we also wanted them to be involved in the story, and they were hesitant. Ultimately, they spent a lot of time talking to our non-writing executive producer, Richard [Suckle], who brought them on board officially and legally with their life rights".

"I had already changed Debra’s nephew’s name to be respectful. I let it be known that I would do whatever Debra’s other daughter wanted me to do, and she did want us to change her first name. It was all about being respectful to their experience."

As for what Jacquelyn is doing now, it appears she is now the head of Ambrosia Interior Design, the business her mother started.

Talking to ForbesDebra explained that she decided to move to Los Angeles, as "My oldest daughter was at the point where she could take over the business in Irvine. I was ready for a change".

And although Jacquelyn didn't actually walk the red carpet at the premiere of Dirty John, it looks like she was there.

Juno Temple, who plays Veronica Newell in the series, told Cosmopolitan, "I saw her [Jacquelyn] at the premiere and she said that the safe was bigger in real life." (Of course referring to when John Meehan was snooping around the house and asked Veronica in the first episode what was in the safe in her bedroom).

Unlike her sister Terra, Jacquelyn has no social media presence and there aren't any photos of her online.

Dirty John is available to watch on Netflix now.