(WXYZ) — Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is opening up about his affair with former Chief of Staff, Christine Beatty, in the Gimlet Media podcast “Crimetown.”
The podcast has been featuring Detroit all season long, and episode 14, titled “The Affair,” focuses on Kilpatrick and Beatty.
“I’ve always been fascinated with Christine Beatty,” Kwame tells Crimetown Producer John White from inside federal prison. “She had an electric personality that kind of drew people to her.”
The podcast then delves into their history, starting in high school back in 1985 when they first met. Eventually, they started dating the summer after their senior year, but Kilpatrick got nervous as he was getting ready to go to college at Florida A&M. He broke up with Beatty during his going away party.
“He broke up with me. And I said, ‘I think It’s best that, you know, you’re going to Howard, I’m here you know.’ And so I was done,” Beatty told the podcast.
The podcast then discusses how Kilpatrick and his future wife, Carlita, met at Florida A&M and they both moved back to Detroit after college. Meanwhile, Beatty had gotten back together with her old boyfriend from high school, and eventually married and had children with him.
“But you know, Kwame and I, of course, I mean our story didn’t stop after that,” Beatty added.
She did say that they just stayed together and they were “solid friends,” which is how they ended up working together.
Kilpatrick hired Beatty to help run his campaign for mayor, and he was eventually elected. He said it was amazing to be standing by Beatty after he won, because it seemed they had done the impossible.
They were cleaning up the campaign headquarters, looking at the Detroit River, when a spur-of-the-moment kiss changed everything.
“It kind of hit us both at the same time that we won this race. This is crazy. How do we do this? It was – so we were laughing, we were crying. And I hugged her and I kissed her,” he told Crimtown. “It was like, whoa, what was that? Because it caught us so off guard.”
“I just remember kissing, and it was like, ‘Oh shoot, what just happened? Wow. Is there still feelings there? OK. What does this really mean?’” she said.
According to Crimetown, both of them tried to put the kiss behind, but it was too hard working together every day. Kilpatrick said it was almost a Bonnie and Clyde type situation as they continued working together late into the night.
“You start to develop, in those moments, with the tension and then the excitement,” he said. “And so we kissed again and eventually we started to have an affair over the next few months.”
Kwame said it was like he developed two lives, one at home, which he was barely at, and the other at the office, saying Carlita also noticed something. He said Carlita never liked the guy that was mayor.
According to Kwame, the affair ended in 2005, right before his re-election.
“It came to a time when I sat down and had a conversation with Carlita, and I told her I was exhausted, and we had a heart-to-heart. We decided that it was time to really try to figure how to reignite our marriage,” Kwame said. “So I had a very tough conversation with Christine in 2005. Went to her home and we had a conversation in the house and there was a lot of crying and tears. But the thing was that I told her that we just couldn’t do it anymore. It was sad for both of us but she also knew that it was right. So it was a balance between devastating and also being the right thing to do.”
Kilpatrick and Beatty would deny their affair while under oath during the whistleblower trial for former Detroit Police Deputy Chief Gary Brown. Brown’s lawyer asked about the affair and they both said no.
His lawyer, though, subpoenaed thousands of text messages where they discussed the affair. Eventually, the Detroit Free Press got those messages.
“We had to up all of our office staff together, brought them into the mayor’s conference room and the mayor said, you know, to everybody, ‘There’s going to be something coming out in the paper on Thursday that’s going to be life changing for this administration.’” Beatty said. “And I left out of the office that day and I never walked back in.”
Beatty said after the affair came out, she was on her own, and it hurt her, and it hurt the friendship.
“It wasn’t some random affair, you know, I was in love with him,” she said. “He loved me. Again, I never speak for him, I speak for me, but I know that he loved me. It’s not stupid.”
Both Beatty and Kilpatrick were sentenced to jail. Beatty got 120 days for obstruction of justice
Editor’s Note: Crimetown has used archival sound from WXYZ reports covering Kwame Kilpatrick.