Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

If They Asked: Should Chris Medina Marry His Fiancée?


Did you guys see “American Idol” last night? I didn’t, but when I heard the buzz this morning about Chris Medina, I found his audition clip on YouTube to see what everyone was talking about. Chris was there with his fiancée, Juliana, a woman he’d been with for eight years and engaged to for over two years. They were supposed to be married by now, but in October 2009, Juliana suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident.  “I was about to make vows just two months from the accident. ‘Through thick and thin, til death do us part. In sickness and in health, ’til death do us part.’ What kind of guy would I be if I walked out when she needed me most?'”

Oh, man.

Chris and Juliana aren’t married, but he calls her his fiancé and wears her ring on a chain around his neck. He and her mother are her caregivers. He’s wonderful for sticking with her. But, you have to wonder: does he plan to stay with her forever? I know he wonders what kind of guy he’d be if he “walked out” now, but it’s hard to imagine a 26 year-old man with his whole life ahead of him committing to a woman who’s no longer the woman he once proposed to — who can’t love him they way he probably wants and needs to be loved — especially when he didn’t actually take those marriage vows.

I’m not really going to say whether he “should” marry her or not. But, it’s an interesting thing to think about. What would you do if it were you? What would you want your partner to do if you were the one who, God forbid, suffered a similar injury? I’m inclined to think I would want Drew to move on eventually — maybe not necessarily “walk out,” but to find someone else to love and share his life with. I don’t know how that would work exactly. Hopefully that’s something we’ll never have to figure out.

At any rate, that Chris Medina is one special guy. I hope he goes far in the competition and I hope good, good things continue to happen for him.

16 comments… add one
  • Amber January 27, 2011, 12:28 pm

    Oh, man is right on this one. It’s hard to imagine being in their shoes. I just don’t know what I’d do if that happened to my boyfriend or what I would want him to do if it happened to me. I know she isn’t the same person she was before the accident, but it seems like part of her is still in there. I don’t know if I could move on and know the person was still alive and I was living a different life. I guess as scary as it is it’s something we need to think and talk about with our loved ones. And make our wishes known for each other.

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  • Anne (I Go To 11) January 27, 2011, 12:48 pm

    Not gonna lie, I totally teared up when he brought her into the audition room to meet the judges. What an amazing guy! Any girl would be lucky to have someone like him in her life, I feel. 🙂

    As for whether he *should* marry her, that’s a tough one. He obviously loves her. I would just hope that if he does marry her, he doesn’t grow resentful of all the responsibility of being her caretaker for so long later on, you know? He’s still pretty young, and he’s got his whole life ahead of him. I don’t know, it’s a pretty heavy decision to make, either way.

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  • Sarah January 27, 2011, 1:34 pm

    I’m not sure if he can marry her considering her brain injury. It takes two people to sign the papers and I don’t know if she is physically able to do so. However, I would want my fiance to stick by me and I would stick by him even if we didn’t say the vows yet. Wonderful story!

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  • Wolvie_girl January 27, 2011, 1:42 pm

    I may catch some flack for this, but I’m gonna speak the truth (and quote Michael Scott from the office!):
    “Engaged aint married”

    As someone who has been married, I know that there is a very significant difference to a relationship when you make those vows. Even if it doesn’t work out, you don’t go into a marriage thinking “This is the right thing to do, what kind of person would I be if I didn’t marry this person because (she’s severely injured, pregnant, my family expects it, etc.)” You take the vows till death do us part because you mean it, you love that person and plan to spend the rest of your life IN A RELATIONSHIP with them.

    If they were already married, there would be a gray area as to if he should stay with her, but he’s not married. He has made no vow, and to me, it’s not fair to himself or her to vow to make a life with someone when for whom you will never be more than a caregiver. Should he stay in her life, care for, and love her: absolutely! But to marry someone because it’s “the right thing to do” is never actually the right thing to do.
    If he were already married

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    • Wolvie_girl January 27, 2011, 1:44 pm

      Not sure why “If he were already married” is at the bottom there, please disregard!

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    • Laurel January 27, 2011, 2:30 pm

      I agree with everything you wrote.

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    • ElliculNelle January 16, 2017, 4:28 pm

      I wow I can tell you that I have already voiced these exact opposite thoughts! Especially sine they never married and he did stick by her for13 yrs!!! (5 if then being all one sided). I have seen these situations over bad over working in healthcare and the heartbroken one usually does visit …for about a month. Chris more than did his duty as a boyfriend!! I’m glad he moved on….I feel for her but on the other hand, classic example of “you play,you pay” !!

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  • Tudor Princess January 27, 2011, 2:04 pm

    When I met my now ex, he was engaged. We had class together and I only really knew him as the guy who sat across from me. It wasn’t until the next semester when we started to become close that I found out that the year before his now ex-fiance had had a stroke. He realized that even though he loved her, he couldn’t be the man she needed and so they broke up. Although I was initially put off by his behavior, I came to realize that he was just being truly honest with himself and their relationship. I don’t fault him for leaving her, or think less of him.

    If Chris is dedicated to her and her recovery and he decides to stay, than I applaud him for that. But, if he doesn’t, I will not be part of the masses who call him names and vilify him. I am not in his shoes and, therefore, I will not judge him for the decision he makes. Some things are black and white. This is not.

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  • Tracey January 27, 2011, 2:24 pm

    This post made me think of last week’s “CBS Sunday Morning.” On the show, there was a segment from reporter Barry Peterson about his wife, Jan Chorlton. She developed early onset Alzheimer’s after they married. He cared for her as long as he could, then when it became too much, he placed her in an assisted living facility, visiting her every day and never losing his love for her. He eventually met Mary Nell, a widow who lost her husband in an accident, and they became a couple. Ms. Nell became friends with Ms. Chorlton, going with Mr. Peterson to visit her daily, and now loves her equally. “Well, when you meet Jan you can’t not love her. She is vivacious and open and warm and friendly, and it just is heartbreaking that this has happened to her. And if I loved Barry I couldn’t not love Jan.”

    I’d recommend that Mr. Medina read Mr. Peterson’s book, “Jan’s Story,” and take a quote from him to heart as soon as he is able: “The Jan I knew is all but gone to me now, but I remember what she always taught me . . . to embrace life. And to do that, I must go on.”

    He can love her, honor her, and be there for her while still moving forward. I wish them all the best.

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  • matbo January 27, 2011, 3:02 pm

    Imediately when I saw this I thought: “If this happened to me I would hope my fiancé left me!” She appeared very, very handicapped. If I could still lead normal conversations with my fiancé by all means stay for the mind-connection. But if the part that was actually me was lost I think he should go.
    If my fiancé ended up severely brain damaged I would not marry him. I would take care of him as long as it took me to realize I’d lost him. Then I’d move on. I’d visit him as my friend and I would always love him, but he’d never be a husband to me, he’d never be able to help me through hard times and I know neither of us would want that.

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  • AnitaBath January 27, 2011, 3:23 pm

    I can’t even imagine being in this scenario, and I don’t want to. It’s hard to tell just how “with it” she is, but she definitely seems like a shell of her former self. Is she even fully aware of what’s going on? Is she even able to marry him? If he were someone I knew, I’d tell him to move on, that essentially the woman he proposed to is dead. But that’s cruel, and if he’s happy taking care of her and will be for the rest of his life, maybe that’s what he should do.

    And now I feel like I need to tell my boyfriend, if that ever happens to me, I want him to find someone else and keep living his life.

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  • Nuttin January 27, 2011, 3:27 pm

    While in high school my friends and I had this “thing” we did with girls who were much younger than us. We simply treated them with great respect.
    Now one might say how sweet it was for us older guys to be respectful of these underclass-girls but it was not without a very selfish motive. We called them “investments.” Because in a year or two or three whenever, they may morph into gorgeous (Women), no matter what they brought to the table now, and well that’s what we were looking for, did I mention we were selfish and shallow. Well one girl in particular was a freshman and I was a senior. She was gawky, plain, etc…but man she had a crush on me. For some reason I treated this girl with complete and utter contempt. I guess because she tried so hard and I had better pastures to graze. Fast forward 4 years. She’s just entering college and I’m in my 3rd year. This girl morphed alright, into one of the most beautiful women I have / had ever known. We went out a couple of times and I truly could have married her after our second date. She was funny, smart, and even though I couldn’t have realized it 4 years earlier, she was what I truly wanted one day in a wife.

    Well I’m sure you see were this is going, she never forgot my treating her the way I did and I lost potentially someone wonderful.

    Now I know this is a weak analogy for such a tragic situation, but it’s just that damn Karma that gets me every time.

    I would hate for him to leave her and never know the person she might be / become. Sure things look grim but who saying you have to have all your parts in order for someone else to completely love you or make you happy. I read once when you marry a person (I will include love a person) they come “as is.”

    This women could turn out to be the greatest gift God has granted this man. Seems like she kinda already is!

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  • Angie January 27, 2011, 3:29 pm

    As with past American Idol episodes, we’re not seeing the whole picture. They spin things just to get people like us talking about them.

    Yes, the whole story (as they showed) is very heart-wrenching and it shows how wonderful of a person Chris is, but he’s sticking around for other reasons – not necessarily because it’s “the right thing to do.”

    I just hope he can do big things with Idol and make lots of money to help other trauma victims. That would be a true American Idol.

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    bitter gay mark January 28, 2011, 3:50 am

    This is so exploitative of the show…. But it’s a tacky exploitive show, so I am not surprised… I feel for this young couple. I can’t imagine going through such an ordeal. Truth be told, is I am ever in such an accident, I’d rather just die… With my mind gone…yeah, I would simply rather be gone.

    But if I was somehow alive, I would hope my partner would find the courage to leave. If you love somebody, set them free… That’s what I would want…

    Again, it’s a tough situation… Frankly, I thought the judges were very patronizing to her, too. But they are all clueless, vapid fools, so their behavior came as no great surprise…

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  • ArtsyGirly January 28, 2011, 6:03 am

    I have actually been giving this topic a lot of thought. My brother in law was hit by a car the day after Thanksgiving. It was seriously touch and go for months but he is starting to recover. We still are not sure where he will be, but he can speak and even type on the computer now. Because of this situation my husband and I have sat down and talked about what we would like the other to do if this situation happened to us.

    I would seriously hope that my husband would move on with his life. If I was not myself then I will not be the person he married. I would prefer that he would find someone else to love and have children.

    This guy is obviously an amazing person, but I am sure his in-laws would not resent him for moving on with his life.

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  • Linda Rose Stewart April 8, 2012, 6:30 pm

    He is wonderful to be so compassionate with the girl he intended on marrying ..and he is also very young..she is going to need a caretaker her whole life..unless a miracle happens..and a husband is not a caretaker..he is the husband…he needs to love her and let her go..and let himself go also..he will want children I expect and someone who he can talk over life’s happiness and tragedies with and to…unless he is a Saint and not many people are..he needs to move on…and people close to him need to let him know that resentment can grow and overwhelm love ..and help him in the process…bless both their hearts for the goodness they are in this world…

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