John Meehan

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Debra Newell is a mom and a business owner. But unlike other Henderson parents, her life is now the basis for a new show on Bravo. 

"It is very surreal. Connie [Britton] and I met several times and I love her," Newell said. "She wanted to portray me the way I really was."

"Dirty John" began airing November 25, and the first episode was shot in Las Vegas at Treasure Island.  The show is based on Newell's relationship with John Meehan.

Meehan was a con-man, and posed as a doctor. Newell found out after she left him that he had manipulated multiple other women as well. 

"I had just fallen in love and wasn't looking for the red flags," she said. 

Newell was with Meehan for about two years before she left him. Later on, Meehan showed up to Newell's daughter Terra's apartment armed with a knife.

Police say Meehan was either going to kill or kidnap Terra, but she was able to wrestle away the knife and stabbed him in the eye. Meehan died a few days later. 

"Terra has triggers of PTSD, especially right now," Newell said. "She's staying with me right now and we are just hibernating and hanging out. I still have guilt about what happened, but so many people reach out to me and say this could have happened to anyone."

The story of Newell and Meehan's relationship first gained national attention as a podcast called Dirty John last year. It was downloaded more than 30 million times.

Newell said it's not always easy having her life broadcast out to the world, but said if it saves one woman it's worth it.

"My attitude is that if I take myself out of it, it's easier. I want to fight for other women out there. This truly showed me how strong I am."

As for love, Newell said she hasn't dated much since Meehan and that she's not seeing anyone currently.

"It's me time, and family time," she says.

The show takes place in Orange County, but Newell moved to Henderson about a year ago. 

Dirty John airs on Bravo on Sunday at 10 p.m. In January. there will also be a new documentary made about Debra Newell's life. 

Copyright 2018 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved


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