Robin McGraw on Embracing Differences

August 8, 2002

The hardest part about interviewing Robin McGraw is that she speaks in her usual quiet voice and with her calm demeanor ... while her husband has Cher blaring from the speakers in his office.

"He turns the music so loud you wouldn't believe it," says Robin, who describes herself as talkative but shy.

After 30 years together, Dr. Phil and his wife Robin have figured out how to laugh and poke fun at their differences.

"I'm really easy to get along with," says Robin, "but we do things that bother each other."

For example, their two boys are now 24 and 17, but bedtime at the McGraw house is still an event.

"Phillip watches TV before going to bed and he always falls asleep with the remote in his hand and the TV on," says Robin. "For 30 years, I've had to get out of bed, walk around to his side of the bed, and try to get it out of his hands."

And if she wakes him up while wrestling for the remote, she says, "He'll tell me he wasn't even sleeping and that he's still watching TV!"

But Robin knows how to set boundaries and put her foot down. As the only woman in the house surrounded by three men, she's got all her boys trained with good manners.


"I can't stand vulgar language," she says, "and you'd never find things like a burping contest going on under my roof."

"He's not the perfect husband," she says of Dr. Phil. "But we love each other and we've got what we want. We've created a life that works for us. We're each other's number one fans, and we'd never do anything to hurt each other on purpose. There's no one better than him for me."

Part of the key to making their marriage work, says Robin, is accepting the other as is. "Phillip is a workaholic, and nothing I say or do is going to turn him into Mr. 9 to 5." Instead of complaining when he worked long hours at his litigation consulting firm in Dallas, Robin welcomed him home with love and affection when he walked in the door.

She offers one piece of relationship advice: "Don't begrudge the qualities that make your partner who he is, and don't try to change him. Support him and embrace the differences."