Dr. Phil's Big Ultimatum: Will Accused Mother Heather Go to Rehab?

May 13, 2014

Dr. Phil continues his interview with Heather, who says her ex-husband, Brian, blames her for their 15-year-old son, Brandon’s, accidental overdose death in 2008, despite her acquittal in a criminal trial. Hear from Brandon’s friends, who were among the last to see him alive — how do they describe what happened? And, two of the young men make shocking allegations against Heather — how does she respond? Plus, Heather defends her drug use, insisting she only takes “minimal” medications, “as prescribed.” Is she overmedicating? Heather’s best friend, Bernice, pleads for her to get help, and Dr. Phil issues what he believes is a “life-saving” ultimatum. Will Heather accept the offer?







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HeatherBrianBrandon, Heather and Brian's sonBernice, Heather's best friendA.J., Brandon's friendChris, Brandon's friendMarc, Brandon's friendTravis, Brandon's friend

Brandon's Friends Weigh In

Brian and Brandon's best friends say they blame Heather for Brandon’s death, because they claim that she bought him alcohol and allowed him access to drugs. Some of Brandon’s friends, who were there the night he died, share their side of the story.

"Heather knew we were partying. She would buy us the alcohol for the parties."

Travis, A.J., Marc and Chris join the show. Dr. Phil addresses Chris. “You say you witnessed Heather buying Brandon and friends alcohol. Is that true?” he asks.

“Yes,” he replies. “I still remember that night very clearly. Usually, when we bought alcohol, [we typically got it] that night. But [this time,] it was not that night. It wasn’t the night before. It was before that. Heather and Brandon went in, because Heather could not physically pick up the beer. She had Brandon go in with her and pick it up.”

Dr. Phil addresses Heather. “You say you don’t drink,” he says, and she confirms. “So, who were you buying it for?”

“I wasn’t in there buying anything,” Heather says, pointing out that the store video doesn’t show her in the store. “They did not see me, at all, the day before, the day of, the day after buying — they didn’t even know who I was.”

“Did you ever go in there and buy alcohol with Brandon?” Dr. Phil asks.

“No,” she says. “Children weren’t allowed in there.”

Dr. Phil says to Chris, “You said you showed Heather the crushed pills that Brandon took from her purse.”

Chris says that he did, adding that it was when she got back from dropping off Travis. “I showed her what he was doing. I said I was sick. I hadn’t been up. I showed her everything on the counter, and I asked her, ‘Should we bring Brandon to the hospital?’ She said, ‘No. He’ll be alright. We’ll check on him for a little while.’ Which, to her, meant I was going to check on him, because she went to bed,” he claims, adding that he checked on Brandon twice. He claims Heather never checked on him.

Dr. Phil asks Heather, “Why did you think he was asleep in the back of the car? Did you think he was drunk?”

“No,” she says. “It was, like, 5 in the morning, and he was finally getting some sleep.”

Dr. Phil points out that when Travis needed a ride home, he didn’t want Brandon to drive him.

“He was very, very drunk,” Travis says, adding that he told Heather that.

“I understand he didn’t have a license, and he was underage, but he did drive,” Dr. Phil says. “And, you said, ‘No, I don’t want him taking me home, he’s too drunk.’”

Heather denies that Travis said that Brandon was drunk. “He said, ‘I want you to take me home,” she says. “And, he also told me that he snuck out, and he didn’t want me to tell his father.”


Shocking Accusations

Dr. Phil shares the report from the Department of Child and Family Services that was written after Brandon's death. How does Heather respond? And, A.J. and Marc make a shocking accusation against Heather.


Dr. Phil reads Heather the report: "'It is reasonable to believe if Brandon was provided with medical treatment during the four hour time frame that his mother had contact with him, his chances of survival may have been dramatically increased.'"

A.J. makes another accusation against Heather. He says in the summer of 2007, when he was 15, he, Heather and Brandon stayed in a hotel room together. "Heather bought us a liter of vodka and a six pack of another alcoholic beverage, and we went back to the hotel room. All three of us were pretty drunk. Brandon ended up passing out on the bed, where I laid next to him, and Heather laid next to me," he recalls. "Early in the morning, I woke up to Heather being on top of me, performing in sexual activities. We were having sex. I was very shocked that that happened, knowing that Brandon was sleeping six inches away from me, and why his mother would do that. I was very stunned. I felt sick to my stomach, and I had to leave. I didn’t know how to tell my best friend about what his mother had done."

A.J. says he has never discussed the alleged incident with Heather. "I’ve been carrying it with me for almost six years now," he says.

Marc makes a similar claim. And, Heather denies both accusations.

Pointing to Brian, Heather says, “He’s the one buying all these people off. I just have no proof of it.”

Dr. Phil asks Marc, “Did he pay you to say that, or did it actually happen?”

Marc denies that Brian paid him to make the allegation against Heather.

“I feel like the whole world is against me,” Heather says. “I don’t know how to get on with my life now.”


“I believe, if you don’t admit what’s going on and get yourself straightened out, we’re going to be burying you in a very short period of time.”

“I believe you have an addiction problem, and I think it is impairing your thinking. It is impairing your judgment, and I think you are medicating yourself out of guilt and fear, and running from it, and you can run, but you’ll just die tired, because you can never escape it,” Dr. Phil tells Heather. “And the one thing [Brian] has said, as much as he has disdain for you, he said, ‘Admit what’s happened and get yourself straight.’ Even he, through all of his angst and hatred toward you, is telling you to get help. And you need to get help. If you do not, you’re going to kill yourself and probably somebody else.”

Dr. Phil makes Heather an offer. “I will get you the help,” he says. “But you have to take it. And if you don’t, you’re going to wind up dead, bottom line.”

“When your son dies, you want to die. I want to die every day of my life,” Heather says.

Will Heather Accept Help?

Dr. Phil reiterates his offer to arrange help for Heather, telling her she must go straight to treatment from the show. “I’m asking you, will you make the commitment to do it?” he asks.

“My doctor is working with me back home,” she replies.

Heather’s friend, Bernice, pleads with her. “You have a serious, serious addiction.”

Will Heather agree to go to treatment?



“Dr. Phil, I’m a mess,” Heather says. “I have so much anger inside. That’s why I’m here.”

“This is your first step back in the life, and I accept your commitment,” Dr. Phil says.

After the Show

Dr. Phil reveals that even though Heather accepted his offer, she changed her mind. “Staffers called 911. The police were dispatched, and an EMT found reason to take her to the local hospital for evaluation,” he says. “Heather was evaluated by doctors at the local hospital, held overnight and released the next day. She decided to fly home and not to a treatment center.”