Burning Question: Did Obamacare Break Up the Captain and Tennille?

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Leslie Gornstein
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Rumors are rampant that the Captain and Tennille getting a divorce because of changes in health care laws. Did health insurance play a part in their split?

Herein lies a great lesson in how rumors get spun:

Indeed, Toni Tennille, 73, has filed for divorce from Daryl Dragon, 71, in their home state of Arizona.

Yes, within the packet of documents pertaining to their split is a notice dealing with health care.

But, despite what TMZ and other gossip sites have implied, the mention of health care does not appear within the divorcing filing itself.

Let me repeat that: There is no mention, at all, of health insurance or care listed as a reason for the split.

“The parties’ marriage is irretrievably broken [and] there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation,” the petition says.

So how did this rumor get started?

Well, you can blame a health-care-related notice attached to the official record of the split.


The document then goes on to, rather loudly, outline how health insurance coverage can change after a split: “WHAT INSURANCE COVERAGE APPLIES TO YOU, AND HOW TO GET IT.”

But, does that sound like something that came from Tennille or any of the Captain’s crew? Of course not.


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“I suspect it’s a state law that [courts or attorneys] have to send this out whenever someone files a petition to divorce,” California family law attorney Steve Mindel tells me. “When we file for divorce here, there are a bunch of forms that have to go out with the petition.”

(There are also automatic restraining orders preventing the divorcing parties from trying to dump marital assets or engage in other dirty dealings … like removing the spouse from an insurance policy.)

Of course there is always a chance that health insurance did play a part in this split. Dragon has suffered from a neurological condition similar to Parkinson’s. If Tennille carries some sort of cadillac health care plan, she may feel better about letting go if her sick husband now that Obamacare has kicked in, and Dragon can’t be turned away from a new plan due to his pre-existing condition.


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“Still,” Mindel tells me, “it’s not likely this divorce had anything to do with health insurance because both parties qualify for Medicare. In that case insurance wouldn’t be overly important.” (Note that Medicare doesn’t dump people for preexisting conditions. You automatically get it when you turn 65.)

For the record, the attorney for Tennille declined comment.