Clara Harris Was the Last to Know

Ruth Houston

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You may remember the case of Clara Harris, the woman who ran over and killed her cheating husband after confronting him with his mistress leaving a local hotel. He’d led Clara to believe he was ending in his affair.

I became obsessed with the Clara Harris case from the very beginning and have continued to follow it closely ever since, because it’s a “worst case scenario” of what can happen when a wife is the last to know. That’s why my book, Is He Cheating on You?- 829 Telltale Signs stresses the importance of women learning how to recognize the signs of infidelity. ( ) There’s no doubt in my mind that this story would have had a very different ending if Clara Harris had recognized the signs of infidelity in time. But like 26 million other unsuspecting wives, Clara was the last to know.

Given enough time, the likelihood is high that Clara’s plan to save her marriage might have worked. But she just didn’t have enough time. By the time Clara found out about her husband’s affair, it had already reached the point of no return – a consequence of being the last to know.

Clara’s Desperate Attempts to Save Her Marriage

As soon Clara Harris found out about her husband's affair, she did everything she could think of to save her marriage. She

  • obtained detailed information from her husband on what attracted him to the other woman

  • had a heart to heart talk with her husband about their marital problems.

  • went to a salon and had her hair cut and lightened to blonde

  • had her nails done

  • joined a gym / health club

  • hired a personal trainer

  • made a $5000 deposit for breast augmentation surgery and liposuction

  • cooked her husband's favorite meals

  • began having sex with him at least 3 times each night

  • went shopping for sexy clothes

  • bought seductive lingerie from Victoria's Secret

  • took a leave of absence from her job at the couple’s chain of dental clinics so she could devote all her time to her husband

  • fired her husband’s mistress, who worked as a receptionist at the same dental clinic as her husband

  • persuaded her husband to agree to end his affair with the other woman

  • had her stepdaughter buy her 2 relationship books

  • hired a private investigator

  • discussed seeing a marriage counselor

    And she did all this in the space of 7 days. Clara Harris wasted no time. Clearly, here was a woman who was serious about saving her marriage. She found out about the affair on July 16. Her husband confessed to the affair on July 17. Clara’s efforts to save her marriage might have succeeded, by July 24, David Harris was dead. Intent on doing everything she could to save her marriage from the day she discovered his infidelity until the day David Harris was killed, Clara never considered the possibility that her efforts would be in vain.

    A few days were not enough time to save a marriage that had been in jeopardy for several months. Clara was mentally and emotionally unprepared for the events that transpired. Instead of taking his mistress to lunch to end the affair, David and Gail checked into a hotel. Not having anticipated this turn of events, Clara’s mind snapped and she lost control. That’s enough to send anybody over the edge.

    Nothing can convince me that a woman who went to such lengths in 7 days to save her marriage, would deliberately run over and kill the man she loved. Even in her recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, Clara spoke lovingly of the man she killed. My heart goes out to her because I was once a victim of infidelity myself. I know how devastating it can be.

    Everyone But Clara Saw the Telltale Signs

    Unknown to Clara Harris, prior to learning about David’s affair, her marriage had been in jeopardy for several months. But like so many other unsuspecting wives, Clara missed or misinterpreted the telltale signs. Yet, if she had known what to look for, the telltale signs were there for her to see.

    Clara was surrounded by people who saw the signs of her husband’s infidelity. Her stepdaughter, Lindsey saw the signs. Employees at the couple's chain of dental clinics saw the signs. Even the Harris children's nanny saw the signs. They all testified to this at Clara’s trial. In retrospect, Clara then realized that she too, had seen some of the warning signs, but didn't realize the significance of what she was seeing at the time. Because Clara was unfamiliar with the subtle signs of infidelity, she had no idea these things were indicative of an extramarital affair. Since she had no idea what to look for, Clara was the last to know.

    There was a televised interview with Clara Harris which was put under gag order by the judge during her trial. When the trial was over, this interview was aired. In it, Clara spoke of how she used to scoff at women who claimed not to know their husbands were cheating. Clara said, “I used to think that when wives said ‘Oh, I didn't know my husband was having an affair, ’ that they were blind. How could they not know? But I didn't know. "

    The Danger of Not Recognizing the Signs in Time

    An estimated 38 to 53 million wives are victims of infidelity. But like Clara Harris, 2/3 of those wives have no idea their husbands are having an affair. As widespread as infidelity is, most of it goes undetected, because its victims fail to recognize the telltale signs.

    The longer the affair goes undetected, the stronger the bond between the husband and his mistress becomes. The sooner a wife spots the signs of infidelity, the better her chances are of salvaging her marriage and short-circuiting the affair. Even if the marriage can’t be saved, spotting the signs early on gives the wife time to mentally and emotionally adjust to the realization that her marriage is about to end.

    A Lesson for Every Wife

    The lesson here is that every woman should learn to recognize the telltale signs of an affair. A wife can no longer afford to be the last to know. The future of her marriage may one day depend on her ability to recognize the warning signs in time. That’s why throughout my book ( Is He Cheating on You? – 829 Telltale Signs ) I strongly emphasize the importance of knowing how to recognize the telltale signs - not just the obvious signs that everyone knows about, but the dozens of subtle signs of infidelity that most women overlook.

    Know what to look for so you can spot the signs early on. For the sake of your marriage, you can’t afford to be the last to know. Being the last to know deprived two children of their parents, cost Clara Harris her freedom, and cost David Harris his life.

    To receive a FREE Special Report which describes the 21 Major Categories of Signs of Infidelity, send an e-mail to with the words “Infidelity Signs” in the subject line.

    © Ruth Houston 2005

    About the Author:

    Infidelity expert Ruth Houston is the author of Is He Cheating on You?- 829 Telltale Signs. Based on 10 years of in-depth research, which began when she accidentally discovered her now ex- husband’s affair, He Cheating on You? documents practically every known sign of infidelity. Ruth’s website provides practical advice on all aspects of infidelity. Ruth also conducts infidelity seminars and does personal infidelity consultations by e-mail and by phone. She has been quoted in numerous publications including the New York Times and Cosmopolitan, and has been a guest on over 150 radio and TV talk shows worldwide.

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