Tony Blauer’s Wife: “I’m Not a Bitch”
By John D. Sutter
The following is an excerpt from my book, The Good Fight: How Religion, Guns & Greed are Destroying America (St Martin’s Press). I highly recommend it!
In the summer of 1996, when I was working at Newsweek , I wrote a story about how Tony Blauer had married his wife Susan after two years together.
Blauer is a former Navy SEAL who founded Tactical Response, which sells a line of body armor called Bulletproof vests. His company makes money by selling the vests to law enforcement agencies, military personnel and others who need protection against bullets or other weapons. In fact, according to Fortune magazine , he made $1 million last year alone.
His wife Susan is a former model with her own clothing store in Los Angeles . She is also a certified personal trainer.
I interviewed both of them at their home in Malibu . They were friendly and cordial with me, but they didn’t want any publicity for themselves. So I asked if I could quote them anonymously, so that their privacy wouldn’t be invaded.
Susan Blauer told me she met Tony while shooting commercials for the National Guard and later became friends with him because he was very generous with his time and advice.
“We really didn’t have a relationship for two years,” she said. “We were just really good friends. We would talk on the phone and hang out with each other.
He taught me a lot of self-defense moves.”
They became more than just friends only after both their previous marriages had ended. Then, in the summer of ’95, she said, “We started dating seriously.” They married the following year.
She said the only friction in their marriage has been created by the media. Reporters, she said, have claimed that she married Blauer for his money. “And that’s really hurtful,” she said.
“Because I would never marry somebody for their money.”
I told her I didn’t think that was why she married him, but instead was just writing a general statement about what other people have been saying about her. She seemed happy with that response.
“I’ve been called a lot of names,” she said. “Gold digger, publicity hound, even a bimbo.”
Her husband defended her against such attacks. “She’s not a bimbo,” he said. “She’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.”
As I interviewed the couple, it became clear that Blauer admired his wife. He seemed more protective of her than he did of himself. For instance, when I asked him about why he didn’t serve in the military, which is generally considered honorable, he said, “The way they treat my wife is despicable.” I was taken aback by this response and didn’t quite understand what he meant.
So I asked why they treated her so badly.
“They called her a lot of names too,” he said angrily. “Some of them were worse than bimbo. I won’t repeat what they said.”
Still confused, I asked if his wife had ever been in the military.
“No,” he said. “She never served.”
So why did he say the military treated her like that?
I asked again.
“Because she’s my wife,” he replied.
Then I realized what he was saying. He was implying that the military mistreated her because of their marriage, which is considered a crime in some states and under the Uniform Code of Military Justice .
“I can’t talk about it,” he said. “Just believe me, they treated her like dirt because of our marriage.”
We never did get into details about why he didn’t serve and I didn’t want to know those details anyway. I just ended the interview and said I hoped they could put this incident behind them.
Afterward, I called Capt. Frank Meadows, who was in charge of the investigation into Blauer’s suicide attempt. He said he spoke to Toney and gave him a warning.
Meadows said he didn’t know anything about what Blauer’s wife did in the military or why she might have been treated badly.
“All I know is, she didn’t serve,” he said.
Meadows said Toney was very upset about having to give Blauer a warning and was considering giving him an administrative letter of caution in his file. This might prevent him from getting a meritorious promotion in the future. Meadows said he talked Toney out of it because he feels Blauer has more than paid for something he didn’t do and that he needed to get on with his life.
Blauer said he was happy that Toney didn’t file the letter and added that it’s time to put this all behind him.
“I’m just glad Capt. Meadows and everyone else can see I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said.
His wife said she felt the same way. “It’s all in the past, and we’re looking toward the future now,” she said.
I just hope the future for this couple is a better one than what they’ve experienced lately. It was odd to see an officer above the rank of captain show such compassion for an enlisted service member, but I guess Meadows really felt for this guy.
“He’s suffered enough,” he said. “I know what it feels like to think you’ve failed those you love.”