According to Watts’ confessions, he told Shan’ann on the morning of the murders that he wanted a
divorce separation. This was supposed to trigger the annihilation that followed. But this wasn’t the trigger, it couldn’t be, because Shan’ann already knew about the divorce, and had known for a long time.
Before drilling further into this question, we need to be clear about the difference between divorce and separation. The word divorce comes up 35 times in the Discovery Documents and just once in the CBI Report. Separation comes up 38 times in the discovery, and 8 times [“separate or separating”] in the CBI Report.
It’s clear from a thorough analysis of all the discovery and both “confessions” that Watts was trying to separate from his wife in the weeks and months before the murders, going back as far as a year [close to when Kessinger allegedly made that first Google search for “Shanann Watts”. And this seems to be the word he prefers to use.
However, at the same time he was telling Kessinger a slightly different story. To her he was in the midst of a divorce, and by the time of the murders the divorce was being finalized, and so was the sale of the house. In fact neither was true, divorce proceedings hadn’t even started as far as we know.
So we have two narratives:
- A milder separation narrative [to Shan’ann]
- A more assertive divorce narrative [to Kessinger].
And we know when Shan’ann returned from Phoenix that night she was still hoping to woo Watts back into the marriage, hence the planned trip to Aspen the following weekend, the love letter, the self-help book and the imminent gender reveal. Shan’ann thought – or hoped – the marriage was stuttering slightly. Meanwhile Kessinger thought the marriage was over.
It’s no mystery, the Watts marriage was in trouble long before Shan’ann received that critical credit card alert on Saturday night, proving Watts wasn’t at the Rockies Games, and suggesting he wasn’t eating alone.
As early as August 8th, Shan’ann confided in Cassie Rosenberg and Nickole Atkinson that her husband wanted a divorce [she didn’t], but not right away.
Kessinger says something to same effect, that Watts wanted to sell his home, but not right away. There is this notion of delay, postpone, string things out…
But besides the reference above, from page 2106 of the Discovery Discovery documents, we also know that Shan’ann herself was openly discussing the prospect of divorce as early as March or April 2018, at least a month before she fell pregnant.
Watts told Ann Meadows, the realtor, on the morning the disappearance that him and Shan’ann hadn’t gotten on “for over a year”.
This is not necessarily true, but it could be true.
The fact that Shan’ann was talking to a divorce lawyer about custody in April, three-and-a-half months before the murders, suggests there was a protracted period of unhappiness, and acknowledgement from both sides that things were falling apart.
The fact that the self-help book was put in the trash and the wedding ring left on the bedside table aren’t incidental. They were Watts’ way of communicating to Kessinger what he just couldn’t do with Shan’ann.
So why didn’t Watts just get a divorce, like the district attorney said? Well, it may be because Shan’ann didn’t want to, and thought she could sort of control Watts into not going through with it. This narrative isn’t very nice, and not very popular. It paints Watts less a coward than as someone who was bullied into towing a line, until things got desperate.
There is content out there that confirms not only did Shan’ann know a split was on the cards, but her own family did too. When Watts visited the Hair Jazz salon in Aberdeen where Sandi Rzucek worked, it was clear to the hairdressers [Sandi’s co-workers] that Watts wasn’t happy, and Sandi actually told them then [in early August 2018] that the marriage wasn’t working, and that the couple were separating.
The final minute of the video posted at this link [an extended version of the clip above] is very insightful in this regard.
We also know there was a lot of anger and bitterness, especially from Shan’ann’s side, over Nut Gate.
And yet we know while this was happening Shan’ann still wanted to do a gender reveal. We also know that in the weeks prior Shan’ann was setting her husband up in her Thrive spiels as a great father and perfect husband and “the best thing that has ever happened to her“. She was making it very difficult for him to go through with a divorce.
She was making it very difficult to admit to an affair. And by recording him, for example, reacting to news of the third pregnancy and posting it on Facebook, it was becoming almost impossible to get out of it. But what made it so difficult to interrupt the happy family fairy tale? Was it weakness on his part or hers? Shan’ann’s job and income depended on selling the idea of Thriving. They were facing financial ruin and so, to admit they weren’t thriving meant a further lose of income. That’s what was so difficult to get out of.