SHE’S the tough-talking crime-stopper with a blonde mane to match her famous husband's.
But Beth Chapman – the wife of Dog the Bounty Hunter – is in a medically induced coma, fighting incurable throat cancer.
Her devastated husband – real name Duane Chapman – has asked fans to pray for her and has called her “my rock and my bodyguard."
He said: "My baby has cancer and she is fighting like hell. I have cried a lot over this because Beth is my everything."
The 66-year-old fugitive catcher credits her for getting him over the “obstacles” in his life – which include an abusive childhood, a murder conviction, drug addiction and a false accusation of rape from his own daughter.
Married five times and father to 12 children, the star – who shot to fame by tracking down criminals in the show Dog The Bounty Hunter – was finally tamed by Beth when they walked down the aisle in 2006.
But the pair have had an on-off relationship since they first met in 1986, when Beth was 19 and Dog was 34.
Like Dog, Beth has battled adversity – having her baby taken away from her at 17 and surviving an abusive marriage to a heroin addict.
Together the pair have tracked down over 6,000 criminals – including notorious Mexican rapist Andrew Luster – and are said to have made £4.75 million from the bonds they've won from catching criminals.
So just how did the teen mum become the TV bounty hunter’s trusted sidekick and help him deal with the demons of his troubled past?
Beaten with a wooden paddle by abusive dad
Dog was one of four children raised by his church minister mum and US Army officer dad in Denver Colorado.
But he suffered regular beatings with a wooden paddle from his dad, who also battered him in boxing matches to “toughen” him up.
In his book, You Can Run But You Can’t Hide, he wrote: "Because of my religious upbringing, I thought my dad was punishing me for being a terrible sinner.
"Until very recently, I never understood that none of his abuse was my fault. Just thinking of the abuse I endured can make me cry."
At 13, he dropped out of school and joined a motorbike gang, the Disciples, spending the next few years in and out of jail for offences including armed robbery.
“I spent the first twenty-three years of my life on the wrong side of the law,” he later wrote. "The only thing I knew about the law was a thousand ways to break it."
As a teenager, he fathered a child with Debbie White, who kept her pregnancy from him and later took her own life.
Their son, Christopher, was adopted and only met his father after Debbie’s mum told him he had a grown son.
At 19, Dog married first wife LaFonda Honeycutt and the couple had two sons Duane Lee and Leland.
Conviction for first-degree murder
To date, Dog has tracked down 6,000 criminals in his job as a bondsman – someone who tracks down wanted criminals for a fee.
But in 1976, it was him that ended up behind bars, convicted of murder.
The 23-year-old was in a car when his friend accidentally shot an alleged drug dealer in a fight over a cannabis deal.
Under Texas law, anyone indirectly involved in a murder can also be charged.
Dog was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to five years in Texas State Penitentiary and a year later, LaFonda divorced him and married his best friend.
As a result of his conviction, he is banned from owning a firearm and instead uses a taser for his bounty hunting.
In 2012, he was barred from entering the UK, where he was due to appear as a housemate on Celebrity Big Brother, because of his criminal record.
While serving time in jail, Dog was commended for tackling a prisoner who was trying to break out.
The incident persuaded him to consider a career as a bounty hunter or ''bondsman'.
He began working independently, interviewing witnesses to track down the police's most wanted criminals, then claiming rewards on handing them in.
Bad Marriages and troubled children
Soon after he started his new career, he met Anne Tegnell and had three more children.
One died shortly after birth and the other two – Wesley and JR – were raised by their mother.
The marriage was short-lived and in 1982, Dog wed Lyssa Britain and had three more children – Barbara, Tucker and Lyssa.
The youngest “Baby Lyssa” later wrote a book claiming her dad was a drug addict and her mum an alcoholic.
While still married, Dog met Beth – a blonde bombshell with a 38F chest -at a local police station where she'd been arrested for shoplifting, and the pair began an affair.
Beth, also raised in Denver, had been through struggles of her own.
The daughter of a professional baseball player, she had fallen pregnant with son Dominic at the age of 17 and he was taken into care.
It wasn’t until years later, when Dog tracked the adult Dominic down, that the pair were reunited.
The relationship with Beth was stormy from the start, and Lyssa – who was living with her dad – claims she hated their rows so much she took desperate steps to leave, by making up a horrendous allegation.
“I [falsely] accused my father of raping me when I was 11,” Lyssa admits.
“It was a horrible life that I never wanted to go back to, living with him and Beth and the fighting and the drugs.
“When I got to my mother’s, although she drank, it was much more peaceful. I was willing to do anything to not go back.”
Marriage on the rebound
After their romance faltered, in 1991, Dog was devastated when Beth married his childhood best friend, Keith Barmore, and had a daughter Cecily.
"He was a thief with a heroin habit," Dog wrote later. "It just about broke my heart when I heard Beth was dating him.
“When I heard they got married, I got physically sick. … Friends told me he was abusing her something awful."
Dog wed Tawny Marie in 1992 – but says he was “coerced” into marrying her despite knowing she was a “mistake.”
But Beth later admitted the pair continued seeing each other, despite their new marriages.
Beth and Dog finally divorced their partners and got back together in 1995 and she began working with him – becoming the youngest licensed Bondsman in Colorado at 29.
To cement the bond the couple had two more children, Bonnie and Garry, and Dog adopted Cecily as this own.
Daughter died day before their wedding
Dog and Beth settled in Hawaii and got engaged. Then, in 2004, he landed his own TV show, Dog The Bounty Hunter.
But the couple were to suffer fresh tragedy.
Beth's beloved dad and "best friend" Garry Smith died two months before he was due to walk her down the aisle in 2006, leaving her heartbroken.
And, the night before their dream Hawaiian wedding, Dog received the horrific news that daughter Barbara, 23, had been killed in a car accident while in a stolen SUV in Alaska.
Incredibly, he went ahead with the wedding as planned, breaking the terrible news to his friends and family at the reception.
After Barbara’s death, her son went to live with his biological father, Travis Mimms.
But, in October 2011, Dog and Beth stepped in and took temporary custody after hearing a recording of Travis allegedly physically abusing the nine-year-old.
Perhaps remembering his own childhood, Dog said: “To hear the audiotape of my grandson being abused was torture.”
Racism row almost ended career
In 2007, Dog was involved in a racism scandal after using the ‘n’ word in a row with son Tucker over his black girlfriend.
After the story broke, Dog issued an apology, saying: "I did not do the right thing this time, and hope you will forgive me. We learn from our mistakes, as my story of overcoming a life of crime has proven, and I will learn from this one for the rest of my life.”
A&E, the company which produces Dog The Bounty Hunter, initially suspended production and when the show returned, it only aired for two more seasons.
'Dog may fall apart'
Beth was diagnosed with stage two throat cancer in November 2017.
In April, she was rushed to hospital in Hawaii with "serious breathing issues" and had fluid removed from her lungs.
This weekend she was put into a coma, to prepare her body for more chemotherapy.
Friends say the “tough” 52-year-old refuses prescription drugs, despite excruciating pain and says cancer is the “ultimate test” of her faith.
Dog says the couple, recently seen at a Palm Sunday service, have had to "drum up as much faith as we could."
"Faith is probably the No. 1 thing in our lives, no matter what we’re faced with…" he says.
But friends and family fear Dog may fall apart if he loses the love of his life and partner in crime-fighting.
Most read in TV & Showbiz
do bricks society Love Island's first Casa Amor hunk is builder who has sights set on Amy
SCHO BLOW Phil Schofield called 'arch manipulator' by ex colleague amid Amanda Holden feud
trash talk Rylan's damning comments about co-stars resurface amid Amanda and Phil feud
He has admitted that her illness has been the hardest thing he’s faced in his troubled life.
He said: ‘My baby has cancer and she is fighting like hell. I have cried a lot over this because Beth is my everything.
"Despite all of the obstacles I have overcome, this is by far the biggest test of my life and mark my words, I will not let her die.”
Source: Read Full Article