In 1993, a manicurist from Ecuador named Lorena Bobbitt became a household name.
On the night of June 23, the 22-year-old wife took a kitchen knife and cut off the penis of her then-husband, 26-year-old John Wayne Bobbitt, while he was sleeping. She fled the scene, taking the amputated appendage with her and later throwing it into a field.
What preceded the infamous act differs depending on which Bobbitt you ask; Lorena has maintained that John repeatedly abused her during their marriage and raped her that night after coming home drunk. John denied raping his wife and insisted they didn’t have sex that night at all, according to The Washington Post. Lorena was charged with malicious wounding while John was charged with marital sex assault, but both were ultimately found not guilty.
With the release of director Jordan Peele’s “Lorena,” a four-episode Amazon series that promises to re-examine the crime, Lorena, now 48, is bound to become a household name once again. But while she is undoubtedly known for the violent, tumultuous, and allegedly abusive relationship she had with her first husband, what of her second partner, David (or Dave) Bellinger? In the years since her split with John, Lorena, who now uses her maiden name, Gallo, has repeatedly referred to Bellinger as her long-term partner, but the details of their relationship have largely been kept private.
Lorena and Bellinger are not technically married
During a visit to “The Steve Harvey Show” in 2015, Lorena said that she’d gotten remarried to Bellinger — a man she called her soulmate and who never brings up what happened between her and her ex-husband — and that the two raise a daughter together.
“He’s a gentleman. He treats me like he’s supposed to,” she said. “Everything is, you know, so far, so good.”
While Lorena has referred to Bellinger as her husband on multiple occasions, the two aren’t actually married, despite having been together for more than 20 years and sharing a 13-year-old daughter.
“I believe in marriage as an institution, of course, and I respect that. It was my choice. He even says, ‘If you’re ready to marry, I’ll just show up!’” she told USA Today this month. They kept putting it off every year, she said. “And this year comes and goes. So it’s been over 20 years now. It’s great.”
Lorena, Bellinger, and their daughter, Olivia, live together in Virginia, according to USA Today. The couple’s relationship seems to be like any other partnership, despite Lorena's notoriety. They fight and argue like anyone else, the pair told IOL, a South African news outlet, back in 2008.
“Any couple who says they don’t fight is lying,” Bellinger said. Lorena was quick to add that their arguments “never escalate,” according to the outlet.
“It’s just verbal,” she said.
They met after Lorena's divorce
Bellinger seems to have kept a much lower profile than his famous partner. He and Lorena met in community college, according to a feature in Variety last year. She also recalled meeting her current partner during Amazon's “Lorena” series, and explained that for her and Bellinger, “friendship turned into love.”
“The relationship changed my life because he showed kindness and loyalty, and it was very important for me,” she said.
During Lorena's 2008 interview with IOL, Bellinger accompanied her for “moral support,” with the writer of the piece describing Lorena's boyfriend as a “huge man,” who is “almost as broad as he is tall.” The two spoke about how they first met a few years after Lorena divorced John in 1995. It was Lorena who pursued a romantic relationship at first, Bellinger told IOL.
“She kept asking me out for years. I kept saying no,” Bellinger said. Lorena reportedly responded by laughing and telling him, “Don’t flatter yourself.”
Bellinger went on to say that he was well aware of her past before they entered into a relationship.
“I followed the court case,” he said.
They both joke about the headlines
Lorena spoke extremely highly of Bellinger as a partner during a 2008 interview with CBS News, with the outlet describing him as her “fiancé.”
“We’ve been together for 14 years and he’s just wonderful,” she said. “He’s my best friend and he is a good father. Before, when I was young, when I was married, I was really naïve and young, I didn’t know what I wanted.”
While the two have always reported being happy with one another, Bellinger told IOL in 2008 that he’s used to being on the receiving end of jokes because of his relationship with her.
“The usual one is: ‘Do you sleep on your front?’” he said. They suggested that joking about it is good for them, with Lorena telling the paper, “It’s a therapy to joke about it, but it took me years to reach that stage — I couldn’t talk about it for years and years.”
But beyond the jokes, Lorena has used her story for good. She has maintained that she was driven to assault her ex-husband after suffering repeated sexual abuse at his hands. Having since become an advocate for domestic violence survivors, she formed Lorena’s Red Wagon, or the Lorena Gallo Foundation (a new moniker that uses her maiden name), in 2007 to prevent domestic violence and support survivors.
“I use that name, the Lorena Bobbitt name, to help others,” she told Washington D.C.’s NBC 4 in 2014. “Something good has to come out of this tragedy like mine.”
John has always denied being abusive.
Neither of them have any hard feelings toward John Bobbitt
“I have no ill feelings about the guy,” Bellinger told IOL in 2008. “I feel sorry for him in certain aspects. He made a lot of wrong choices, got a lot of money drained from him.”
John infamously cashed in on a sea of paid opportunities following his famous injury, even starring in a number of pornographic films in the mid-90s. He’s also been arrested for domestic violence multiple times.
Lorena, for her part, has said that she has very little, if any, contact with her former husband. The two briefly reunited in 2009 during a visit to “The Insider,” during which Lorena revealed that her ex had still been leaving her messages and sending her Valentine’s Day cards, flowers, and other unexpected tokens, according to The Daily Telegraph. (Lorena even read portions of some of those letter during the final episode of the “Lorena” series.)
John apologized to his ex-wife on-air for being an “a—hole” during their marriage and failing to “love you the way I should have.”
“You drove me to that, John,” she said in response. “You drove me crazy.”
[Photo: Associated Press]
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