True Crime Analysis, Breakthroughs, Insights & Discussions Hosted by Bestselling Author Nick van der Leek

Simple Question: Who was more Authentic, Chris Watts or Shan’ann?

Let’s hear your answers.


  1. Lynn

    Authentic is defined as:
    “not false or copied; genuine; real.” And, my favorite definition, “representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified.”

    Just helping by defining authentic. Not saying we don’t know the word but sometimes it’s nice to be all on the same page.

    • Janie

      So let’s take a look at Chris and Shanann’s authenticity using both definitions. The first being “not false or copied, genuine, real”. I’d say Shannon mostly wins here. I think she did truly did believe in her Thrive product , but unsure if it actually worked. Did anyone in her life comment or witness any physical and/or mental health improvement after she began using the regimen? So it could be possible then, that she was fake for the sake of making money. Having basically total control over Chris and her entire family, recalling that she even changed the spelling and pronunciation of her name to be rebellious, there was no reason for her to not be genuine. Chris on the other hand had to fake it to keep Shanann happy. Was he being genuine in having to play referee between Shanann and his parents? Was he being genuine when he had to attend countless Thrive vacations and and participate in the live videos? Was he being genuine with his mistress? I would say no. He even stated to investigators that he couldn’t be himself around Shanann.

      The second definition of “representation of one’s true nature and beliefs, true to oneself.” was authenticated by Chris when he decided he had enough and wanted to eradicate his family and start over. Shanann’s true nature came out for everyone to see when the Nut Gate crisis occurred. It was what I believe to have been a major catalyst in Chris’s decision to start over without his wife and children. Shanann was also being true to herself when defending her children against her inlaws and fighting for her marriage. She was blindsided by her husband being true to himself by not wanting the baby, falling out of love with her, and wanting a divorce. In the end the authenticity being played out by both of them, resulted in the end for all of them. Being authentic, which usually is a positive attribute, turned out to me much the opposite in this case.

  2. Melanie

    I believe this all happened because Chris finally decided to be authentic.
    He was happy to “go with the flow” and be submissive until he was shown another reality he far preferred.
    However being the coward he is, he couldn’t just confess his affair and ask for divorce. Shanaan and the girls had no place in his new reality.
    Shanaan was presenting a happier image of her family on social media than was true, but she was authentic in her love, goals and hopes for the future.

    • Peko

      Her goals and hopes were unrealistic. Phrases like “pay off the mortgage by 2019” and “Chris to Retire” on her vision board while being behind on the mortgage for months and delinquent on the $50-a-month HOA fees for more than a year, were extreme wishful thinking. She was praying for the paranormal.

  3. Peko

    They both come across as the antithesis of authentic. I mean, Shanann sold Thrive products (“amazing”) and peddled the bonus (“super exciting”) that didn’t existed. There was something very cliched about Chris as well. He had nothing original to say. He always recycled the cliche phrases and what other people said in order to cobble up his narrative.

    Even the people who knew them firsthand, while being careful with their words, couldn’t resist expressing their true feelings toward the Watts. Jennifer Lindstrom described the Watts as “cookie cutter”, although she and her husband had just said Shanann and Chris had the perfect life. David Colon also said they had the perfect life but added that he unfriended Shanann on facebook “due to constant posting”.

    I don’t think “authenticity” is an appropriate concept these two could be measured on. It’s irrelevant to them.

  4. Jenn H.

    I believe Shan’ann was authentic in many ways.
    Shan’ann was confident and determined about her goals, dreams, her family.
    Chris not so much. He even stated to the detectives at one point,
    he didn’t feel he could be himself, with Shan’ann.
    Who was he portraying himself as to his friends, coworkers, his kids?
    Apparently, he had many people fooled to who he really is.

    • nickvdl

      Do you think MLM and its employees – the whole superstructure – are authentic?

    • nickvdl

      Remember the question is who was *more* authentic. And try to motivate your answer.

  5. Lynn

    I would have to say Shannan was the more authentic of the two. The fact that Watts murdered his family and disposed of his children in such a heinous way indicates to me he was hiding a psychopathic illness his entire life. I believe if one has the capability to murder someone yet lead a so called normal life would be the highest form of inauthenticity.

  6. Shannon

    My thoughts.
    Shannan was as Fake as Fake is. From her late teens to her demise. She lied, stole and pushed people away from her. She nor Chris for that matter had no true friends. Or her stupid thrive idiots….believing in a dream…..not reality. Shannan had tried the scheme before, do she was a Pro at this. Chris wasn’t. Deep down he was probably seething inside. Her stupid camera in their faces, her stories. Not his.
    When are we ever really authentic in Ones life.
    Times, places, actions, circumstances change almost daily. Are we ever true to ourselves.
    We can all try our best, until the light goes out.
    Which happened here.

  7. Jenn H.

    I do not think the MLM super structure as a whole is authentic.
    I believe Shan’ann drove her business in a authentic way, best
    that she could. Certainly she was passionate about her product.
    Who was more authentic? Chris or Shan’ann? Hmm… it really isn’t a simple
    question, in my opinion. ( Not knowing them personally.)
    From what I’ve seen, read, and learned:
    Neither one of them, because they seemed to be living a life that
    wasn’t authentic. Shan’ann was having to thrive day in and day out.
    Chris was going through the motions of appearing like the perfect
    husband and father.
    My question is who were they behind all the perfect appearances?
    Nick, who do you think was more authentic? Your thoughts on this?

    • nickvdl

      Neither one of them, because they seemed to be living a life that wasn’t authentic. >>>That’s true, but the question is which one was more authentic? One might say a crime is inauthentic, and certainly, the lying and covering up is deceitful. Lying is a key measure of inauthenticity.

      When a crime is committed, the act itself isn’t necessarily inauthentic. In fact quite the opposite. A crime shows us who someone truly is, and what they truly think of a situation. It’s the slippery TRUE aspect in true crime. The horror of true crime is how someone people truly feel, and how some people truly act based on those feelings. They know all too well how important it is to hide this part of themselves, even if and when they are caught.

      I’m not going to weigh in just yet on my thoughts. It’s interesting that there seems to be so much uncertainty on a fairly straightforward question. I guess one has to ask what is authenticity – and by the that I don’t mean the dictionary definition. Just – what is it? What does it mean to you? What does it mean in someone else? Where do we see inauthentic people and inauthenticity on a daily basis? Conversely, what sort of people are authentic, and do we like them more or do we prefer inauthentic people? What areas in our lives – work, relationships, personal, love lives, sex lives – are authentic, or not? And what can one really do about it in a world that is patently inauthentic?

  8. Patti Williamson

    Chris mire authentic. Poor Shannon was so sappy in the FB posts. There was one toward the end where a NJ friend calls in while Shannon is cooking. She was THE MOST real here. Her friend wide-open and funny dirt if brought Shannon out of the fake ness. Shannon could have been an even better mom had she not been making LIVES and videoing literally every single part of their lives. There were problems there. I saw a woman in pain who was searching.

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