Before meeting Debra Newell, "Dirty" John Meehan had two daughters. This is where they are now.

Warning – This post contains spoilers for Netflix’s Dirty John.

Just days on from the release of Dirty John on Netflix, fans are obsessing over every little detail of the chilling true story behind the series.

Based on Gimlet’s popular Los Angeles Times podcast of the same name, the TV series details the story of Debra Newell and Dr John Meehan, who met on an online dating site before marrying in secret just two months later.

When Debra first met John, she believed he was a successful anaesthetist, who had just returned from a year in Iraq with Doctors Without Borders.

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In reality, John turned out to be a compulsive liar, a master manipulator and a con artist.

But long before John drove a wedge between Debra and her daughters Jacquelyn and Terra, John Meehan had two children of his own.

In 1990, John married 25-year-old nursing student Tonia Sells.

To Tonia, John was an “intelligent, articulate, decent looking guy who seemed to have a life together”.

But John’s friends were baffled that “Filthy John Meehan”, who had been seen bringing girls back to his room while dating Tonia, was getting married.

Despite his tendency to cheat, Tonia and John remained married for 10 years and went on to have two daughters together – Emily and Abigail Meehan.

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Although Emily and Abigail (who goes by Abby) are not major characters in Netflix’s Dirty John, the pair have been incredibly open in recent years about what their family has been through as a result of their father’s infamy.


At the time of their parents divorce in 2000, Emily was five years old while her sister Abby was just a baby.

When John passed away in 2016, Emily hadn’t seen her father in over a decade.

Following the release of the Dirty John podcast, Emily and Abby, who featured on the podcast, were forced to take yet another look at their father and his chilling actions.

“I’ve become desensitised to it now, again,” Emily said on the Murderish podcast following the release of the Dirty John podcast.

“I don’t know if embarrassed is the right word, but I went through almost a self-examination of, is there any trace of him in me?” she added.

“I’m like, ‘I’m his daughter, I’m his blood. Like, I’m half of him.’ And it hurts my self-esteem when I talk about it and when I think about it. But then again, I’m like, well, if anything I have a golden mum, who I would want to be – I want to be just like her.”


Abby has felt similar personal conflicts since the podcast was released, launching John’s story into the spotlight.

“Sometimes I kind of think, ‘What if I’m like him?’ But then I just know who I am and I’m more like my mum. And I’m a good person and I’m just not like him at all and I just tell myself that,” she said on Dateline.

Although Emily often felt desensitised towards her father’s death, Abby has struggled over time to process his very public death.

“I still think about him every single day and I hate that my life is centred around it. But I would just want him to know all of my accomplishments and I would want him to feel bad for missing out on my whole life, you know?” she said at a Dirty John Live event in 2017.


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GCSU I’m comin’ for u!!!!????????

A post shared by Abby Meehan (@abigail_meehan) on

But despite their father’s infamy, both Emily and Abby appear to be thriving in their own lives.

Emily, who is now 23 years old, recently graduated from the Medical College of Georgia and is engaged to her partner Dexter Poss.

Abby, on the other hand, has just started her freshman year at Georgia College and State University.


Following the release of TV series Dirty John, both Emily and Abby attended the premiere with their mother Tonia.


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Hey dad, long time no see. ????

A post shared by Emily Meehan RN, BSN (@ematyourcervix) on

At the event, the two sisters even met Eric Bana, who plays their late father on the show.

Emily and Abby also appear to have become friends with Terra Newell – Debra’s daughter who killed John after he attacked her with a knife in a parking lot.


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Missing some of my favorites today…. @ematyourcervix @abigail_meehan 3 days together was not enough! ???????????????? Also a special thanks to @unistudios for getting them Universal express day passes! #universalstudioshollywood #universalstudios #minions #christmastime #dirtyjohn #dirtyjohnbravo #dirtygirls #thedirtydaughters #nike #euninajeans #urbanoutfitters #redfoxgoodclothes #ivieyewear #chloe ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• What I’m wearing….. Sunglasses: @ivivision at The Red Fox in Corona Del Mar, California. @redfoxgoodclothes Bodysuit: @urbanoutfitters Jeans: @euninajeans Shoes: @nike @nikewomen Purse: @chloe

A post shared by Terra Newell (@terranewell) on


“While we were in New York for The Today Show, we just joked around that we’re step-sisters,” Emily said. “And when someone would come up and be like, ‘How do you all know each other?’ [Terra would] be like, ‘I killed her dad.’ It’s something we can only laugh about now and we do have a bond, a very strong bond.”

You can stream the entire first season of Dirty John on Netflix now.

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