real life

Stephanie's boyfriend died in a plane crash. 5 days later, she discovered his 'secret life'.

American country singer Stephanie Quayle is known for her songs about romance, heartbreak and everything in between.

Many of her lyrics stem from one experience in particular — a previous relationship she had, and the devastating way it ended

Years ago in her late 20s, Quayle was in love. She and her boyfriend had been together for four years. Reflecting on the relationship, Quayle said it hadn't been perfect, even "toxic" at certain points. 

But then one day in 2009, the phone rang.

Quayle's boyfriend had been killed in a small plane crash. He had been the pilot. It was the most tragic of circumstances, a young life ripped away. 

For five days following the crash, Quayle was understandably grieving. 

Then she was "hit with betrayal". She discovered her boyfriend had been unfaithful to her throughout their relationship with multiple women. 

Watch Mamamia Confessions: things we never wish we said. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

It was how she found out that was particularly brutal, meeting many of the women he had been involved with at his memorial service. 

"I never left my first toxic relationship. It ended tragically with a plane crash in 2009. Layers and layers of deceit and disbelief knocked me even further down as I learned about his secret life," she wrote for Newsweek

"I was not the only woman."

She says there was a confusing mix of emotions, from betrayal, to grief, anger, shock, insomnia and more. 

Healing isn't a linear process for anyone, including Quayle, who says she was numbing herself for a long time to cope. 

"I had to 'get over it' — as suggested by overzealous loved ones — to survive. It wasn't until I began to write my thoughts on that unbearable trauma that I realised by not tending to all of my grief with the proper support and therapy, I was still far from over it."

15 years on, Quayle's life looks very different. She's continuing her career as a successful singer-songwriter, she's married to David Couch, a business CEO. 

But it's only been in recent years that she's felt ready to share her full story.

Stephanie Quayle today, and Stephanie with her husband. Image: Instagram.


Quayle says that songwriting has been a restorative outlet for her. She has new music out with lyrics reminiscent of that painful period in her life. 

"All of these lyrics and melodies and thoughts that I had kept inside me for 12 years just washed over me. I had my husband David listen to them," Quayle said to PEOPLE. "He too felt that it was important to share this story."

Quayle's boyfriend who died had a young daughter from a previous relationship, who Quayle was a mother-like figure to. 


Quayle said she waited until her pseudo-daughter said it was okay for Quayle to speak publicly about her former relationship and the infidelity. 

The pair listened to Quayle's new album prior to its release.

"When she heard it, she had a lot of feelings," Quayle said to music outlet American Songwriter

"I remember her saying, 'I just don't know why you aren't more angry.' I thought that was really interesting and I shared with her that I was very angry. I just had to choose not to live in that world because I wasn't going to let it take me."

On the recent anniversary of the plane crash and her boyfriend's death, Quayle said she "forgave him" — something she hadn't felt ready to do until now.

"Reflecting on the last 15 years since the accident and what led to years of toxic relationships and enabling people, I can recognise my own errors, and understand them. The shame that I have carried for all of these years no longer has any place in my soul."

Feature Image: Instagram @stephaniequayle.

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