The wedding listings tucked into
The New York Times’ Sunday edition usually evoke a smile, with sweet tales of
couples enjoying their happily-ever-after moment.
Chances are some readers spat out
their coffee last Sunday, when they discovered a “Vows” story that explained
how two people broke up their respective marriages so they could waltz down the
aisle with each other.
Former TV reporter Carol Anne
Riddell, 40, and ad exec John Partilla, 42, told their story of how they were
part of a buddy-buddy foursome of two married couples with five children
between them, but the attraction between them became so strong that they broke
up their two families and then got hitched.
The backlash from the off-kilter
love story was quick and immediate: The New York Times comment page was filled
with generally negative comments; bloggers and commentators went into overdrive
dissecting the story, and many asked, “What in the world was the Times
thinking?” in seemingly celebrating the dissolution of two marriages for the
sake of a new union.
“They got what they wanted — tough
luck, kids and mates,” one person posted on the Times website. “It’s all about
‘me’ these days. I wish the unlucky children of these two show-offs a good
place to hide and hopefully at least one sane parent and at least one set of
loving grandparents who might be able to undo some of the damage.”
A poster on the mediabistro.com
website called the story a “disgusting display of selfishness and stupidity on
both the couples’ and the New York Times part.”
To be sure, the couple let it all
hang out — frankly airing what some consider dirty laundry — in giving the
Times an account of their love story.
article begins: “Carol Anne Riddell and John Partilla met in 2006 in a
pre-kindergarten classroom. They both had children
attending the same Upper West Side school.
They also both had spouses. … The
connection was immediate, but platonic. In fact, as they became friends so did
their spouses. There were dinners, Christmas parties, and even family vacations
Riddell told the Times it all
changed two years later when Partilla invited her out for a drink at a local
watering hole, the first time they had gotten together away from their spouses.
“I’ve fallen in love with you,” Riddell recalled Partilla as saying. She said
she beat a path out of the bar, only to return five minutes later to tell him,
“I feel the exact same way.”
Riddell said the pair decided to
not have a clandestine affair, instead opting to do the “honourable” thing and
separate from their spouses.
Their love affair reached its
height last month when the pair exchanged vows in a small ceremony at the
Mandarin Oriental New York hotel. Then, the pair was surprisingly picked from
among a sea of blue-blooded aspirants to tell their love story to the New York
Times on its wedding pages.
It was actually their second
appearance in the section, as both had announced their first marriages in the
Times as well.