Transcript for Menendez Family Turmoil in Beverly Hills: Part 3
By early 1989, the Menendez family was living in a mansion in Beverly hills. Which, according to some of the witnesses, was kitty Menendez's dream. The Beverly hills house on north elm was amazing. When we saw it for the first time, we said, kitty, the house is so marvelous. Everything just shines of money. I think we're pretty Normal here, not much different than anywhere else. A lot of the kids, 16, you get that convertible BMW. Some had multiple cars, you know, a Mercedes, a Porsche and a lamborghini. Maybe kids have a little more privileges, but I don't really think it's different from anywhere else. Some, you could see that their value system was upside down. Jose and kitty both were really having second thoughts about having been so generous. She was very concerned about the irresponsibility of Lyle. He just felt that he could do anything, and it didn't make any difference whether it was ethical or not. At a certain point, Erik and Lyle Menendez became a disappointment to their parents. Jose Menendez didn't approve of the women that Lyle was dating. Lyle was a very fascinating young man to women. So, Lyle had women all the time, and they were purported to be Victoria's secret models. Lyle is now in his 20s, he didn't stay in college, and my sister, kitty, began to recognize that they had essentially raised a playboy. And they took his credit cards away to try to educate him. He was really upset. And what he started to do was steal their credit cards and go out and buy what he wanted to buy anyway. Erik was a disappointment in other ways. In whatever Joe thought would be the right way for a young man to behave. I met Erik Menendez when I was doing a photo shoot in Beverly hills. He was natural in front of the camera. He was very comfortable. I don't think Erik had really the physical attributes to be a working model, but he was photogenic. I think Erik was struggling to find his way, and I don't know the insides of what went on in their house, because he didn't talk about it. I don't know if it was awful. I don't know the truth about that. But that last photo shoot, something was a little bit different. And he was quieter, and he was a little bit more withdrawn, a little bit more humble. But when I look at the pictures and when I think about it now, I can see that there was a difference. Those pictures to me look very lonely and haunting. And I'm not so sure that I was looking into his soul, but in retrospect, there was something coming out of him that I didn't see on a regular basis. In the late '80s, early '90s, what people may have forgotten is that being gay was not that acceptable. It was just -- I mean, gay marriage was decades off, at that time. From what I knew of Jose Menendez, he would not have been the kind of father who would have embraced that. Did your father accuse you of being gay? Is it one of the things he used to say to tear you down? Yes. The prosecutor brought up the fact that you might have been a homosexual and that this might have caused some of the fury on your father's part. Yes, he did. I didn't -- I didn't hear about girlfriends. They were there. I guess what I just have to say to you is, are you gay? No. I'm not gay. Kitty was so upset, the way things were happening, and she was trying very, very hard to understand why they were doing what they were doing. She was also very worried about the state of her marriage, because she discovered that Jose had been carrying on an eight-year affair with a woman in New York, and that was extremely upsetting to her. She was very frustrated, she was disappointed, she was concerned that Jose was going to leave her. I don't think they trusted each other. They didn't particularly show affection. I don't think they ever touched each other. Jose Menendez, unknown to the mistress in New York, also had a woman that he was seeing here in Los Angeles. She was explaining to me what the it is was, and how it -- how it Hurd het her. And the one thing she said to me -- and I'll never forget it, she said, you know the most difficult thing for me, Brian, is that I've lost my hero. Jose Menendez was carrying on affairs with a woman in new York, a woman in L.A. And he was also being supplied with prostitutes by a madame here in Los Angeles. It appeared to me that kitty Menendez was the maid and the chauffeur and that the three men in her life were dominant. I think that her whole personality had been erased by the family and that she didn't have the ability or the wherewithall to stand up to her husband. I knew that kitty didn't have a lot of friends. And she did have a very private life. But I know that she loved her sons, and she loved Jose. This is a woman who was enduring the dissolution of her family. Her husband was cheating on her. Her sons had turned into criminal louts. And she couldn't handle it. Tried to keep up a brave face with some people, popped pills when it got too much for her. At one point, she was rushed to a hospital after taking an overdose of valium. People at the hospital felt that she had actually tried to commit suicide. She told Jose's sister she wished the brothers had never been born. Describe your relationship with your mother. My mother was a person in a lot of pain. And she was alcoholic, and she was suicidal. There was not a lot of communication, but she, I saw her as -- I saw -- heard and saw her get beaten by my dad. Your mother was battered. Battered. Physically? Or emotionally? Physically. Certainly emotionally. And I would try to help her through it. We went through it together. I don't think she was depressed in Beverly hills. What I did see is the situation that took place with Lyle. Lyle was stressing her a lot. And the thing with calabasas just about broke her emotional back, when she realized how far her son would go to basically have whatever he wanted. And, so it was very, very painful to the two of them, but I think it was especially painful to kitty. And then, in the spring of 1989, Jose Menendez had several conversations with his brother-in-law, Carlos baralt, in which he told him he was disappointed in his sons and that he was thinking about taking them out of his will. So, everybody was starting to have problems, and those problems were starting to spin the family out of control.
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