Walter Payton's widow talks about his dark secrets

September 29, 2011 2:30:05 PM PDT
In the second part of an exclusive interview with ABC7, Connie Payton talks about her husband's infidelity, their family secrets, and his fight with depression.

Next week, an unauthorized biography "Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton" goes on sale. The book contains explosive allegations about the legendary football player that were kept from the public. Connie shares some of Walter's darkest secrets in the interview with ABC7's Cheryl Burton, and denies other charges about the man she probably knew better than anyone else.

"I can only speak from what I know, and what I saw," Connie said.

Walter Payton's infidelity is front and center in a new book about his life. Book excerpts focus on a complicated scene at Payton's Hall of Fame induction. His then assistant Ginny Quirk said, "The induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is supposed to be the greatest moment in his life. And the truth is, it was probably the worst." According to the author, Walter's agent introduced Payton's mistress to Connie at her request after the ceremony.

The book reads, "They were friendly, chatty. There was no hair pulling. It was very civil." At one point Connie looked the mistress in the eyes and said, bluntly, "You can have him. He doesn't want me or the children."

"Some of what was said really did not happen, the only truth to that whole thing was that there was a lady there that Walter was involved with," Connie told ABC7. "But at that point too, the reality of it is, Walter and I had not even been together, we had been separated for a long time

The author also makes claims about alleged drug use, saying the Bears star was hooked on painkillers, something Connie flatly denies.

"He didn't act like a person who was on drugs, he didn't slur words and act crazy, and act like he might have been a little bit out of it," Connie said.

She says Walter was so against drugs that even in the days before his death he didn't like the way painkillers made him feel.

"He actually started removing the little pump, with the morphine, he took the patches off that were strong," Connie said. "And I thought, wow, even as sick as he is, he's willing to stop the morphine pump and take the patches off."

Connie confirms one of the book's darkest revelations that Walter suffered from depression and at times wanted to commit suicide.

"There were times that he said that he wanted to take his life, that he was unhappy and he wanted to take his life," Connie said. "During those times Cheryl, I truly didn't understand it because I would look at Walter, I looked at him and said, you are healthy, you've had a wonderful career, you've got money in the bank, really you are an accomplished person, why, why are you sad? Why are you depressed, why do you have these problems?"

Connie, who says she doesn't plan to read the book, is glad she had nothing to do with it.

"I'm glad that I followed my intuition and actually stayed away from the interviews and because, I think all of my intuitions and how I felt were dead on," Connie said.

Connie Payton flatly denies the book's charge that in the height of his depression, Walter Payton threatened to kill people around him before killing himself. She says he was seeing a therapist to help him cope with his depression.

As for his infidelity, Connie also says she found out about a son Walter had out of wedlock after Walter's death.

Connie is working on her own memoirs.

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