Warning: This post contains spoilers of Bravo’s Dirty John and Oxygen’s documentary special Dirty John: The Dirty Truth.
Debra Newell fell for John Meehan almost immediately in 2014 after they connected on an over-50 singles’ dating site. So, the interior designer, then 59, entered into a dream romance … which developed into a real-life nightmare. Their story and the aftermath was documented on a six-part Los Angeles Times investigative series and podcast and later adapted by Bravo – Dirty John is currently airing.
Following the Sunday, January 13, season 1 finale of Dirty John, Oxygen is telling the real story with a two-hour documentary, Dirty John: The Dirty Truth. It features interviews with those who knew Meehan best, as well as L.A. Times reporter Christopher Goffard, who hosted the podcast.
In Us Weekly’s exclusive sneak peek of the special, Newell remembers the chilling messages she received from Meehan, 57, after she ended the relationship.
“Some of the text messages that he was sending me were, ‘Watch out. I will destroy you. I will destroy your family. This is bigger than you,’” Newell says. “So things are escalating to the point where I had one of my cars parked at my business, even though I wasn’t going in. He got into my car, started it and set it on fire.”
The car fire played out on the Sunday, January 7, penultimate episode of Dirty John, in which Connie Britton, who plays Newell, was absolutely shocked and horrified by Eric Bana’s title character’s actions – just as Newell and her private investigator were in real life.
“He said, ‘This is getting serious.’ He thought about me getting a bodyguard,” Newell reveals in the sneak peek of her P.I. “I didn’t. I thought, ‘I just to be extremely careful.’”
The texts shown in the video reveal that Meehan was writing, “It’s my money … half of it. What’s a judge going to say when he hears this? Whatever happens, Deb – you deserve.”
Dirty John: The Dirty Truth airs on Oxygen Monday, January 14, at 8 p.m. ET.