Nanette Sexton is not the first woman in history to accuse her husband of being unfaithful. But she may become the first to go to court to try to prove it with DNA.
In a divorce case that seems like an episode of Dallas or Dynasty — but has real implications for others trying to prove infidelity — Sexton, a Harvard Ph.D. and great-niece of the famous sculptor Alexander Calder, is suing Richard Briggs Bailey, her multimillionaire third husband, for adultery.
Included in the cast is Bailey's former wife, Anita, who was at one time Sexton's close friend. The marriage and friendship fell apart when Bailey went off with Sexton, who became his fourth wife in 1993.
Triggering the 'Bad-Boy Clause'
Bailey gave Sexton a gift of $1 million when they married, and Sexton agreed that if they divorced, she would get no alimony. Then, five years into their marriage, they added a "bad boy clause," which guaranteed Sexton $20,000 a month for life if she was ever driven to divorce because she caught Bailey in infidelity. Six months later, Sexton says she walked into their bedroom at their farm in Vermont and saw a nightgown that wasn't hers.
"All of a sudden, my whole life just blew up in my face. I was just so shocked," she told ABCNEWS' Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview. "At first I was just like frozen, like I couldn't move, had to sit and catch my breath and think, what does this mean?"
She said she confronted her husband, but he denied knowing anything about the nightgown. Faced with her husband's denial, Sexton says she sprang into action that night: She went back to their bedroom and pulled down the covers to discover there were hairs on the pillows and sheets.
"Someone's been sleeping in my bed," Sexton realized. She threw the nightgown, the sheets and the hair in a plastic bag.
Then she set out to find the identity of her rival. She pored over her husband's calendar and noticed that the letter A was marked on it periodically. She examined phone bills, and noticed a pattern of calls to and from a single number. She hired detectives who caught Bailey going to dinner and saw the same woman arriving at the farmhouse one night and not leaving until the next morning.
The detectives captured it all on videotape, and it turned out that the woman in the video was Bailey's ex-wife Anita. In a deposition, Bailey described the events that night as a "platonic sleepover."
Sexton didn't buy it. "It looked pretty romantic on those tapes," she said. "One has to ask, since her farmhouse is 0.7 miles down the road, why she needed to sleep overnight in our master bedroom with my husband."
What Sexton did next made headlines. She went to divorce court to attempt to prove infidelity with DNA. Proof of her husband's infidelity would trigger the "bad-boy clause" of their prenuptial agreement.
Was Bailey Mentally Impaired?
Sexton argued that when she married Bailey there was an understanding that she would spend much of her time in Florida, caring for her horses, while he was back in New England.
"That was what the whole agreement was about: to help me and augment what I had as income," she said.
But Bailey's five children said that their father never intended to support Sexton and her fancy riding horses, especially because their time apart left him feeling abandoned.