Sherri Papini's Ex Speaks Out Ahead of Perfect Wife Premiere

18 Jun 2024
Sherri Papini’s Ex-husband Breaks His Silence on Kidnapping Hoax

Sherri Papini - Figure 1
Photo The Cut

By Olivia Craighead, a news writer for the Cut who covers pop culture and celebrity.  Previously, she wrote about pop culture and entertainment at Gawker.

Keith Papini, the ex-husband of Sherri Papini, is speaking out for the first time since Sherri was arrested in 2022 for orchestrating her own kidnapping hoax. Back in 2016, Sherri made national headlines after she claimed she had been kidnapped, beaten, and branded by two Hispanic women who eventually released her after three weeks. Her story received scrutiny at the time, but it wasn’t until 2022 that the Department of Justice issued a criminal complaint claiming that Sherri had lied and was staying with an ex-boyfriend while nationwide searches were underway.

“She made us all believe that her story was true; every single day she committed to the lie,” Keith Papini said in a new interview with Good Morning America while promoting the upcoming documentary Perfect Wife: The Mysterious Disappearance of Sherri Papini. Keith was the person who discovered Sherri was missing after she hadn’t picked up their two children from day care. He found her phone and earbuds on the road a mile from their home, and called the police to report her missing. When Sherri returned home 22 days later, her story immediately raised flags for some people given that there appeared to be no motive for the kidnapping. At the time, Keith refused to give those questions any credence.

Sherri Papini - Figure 2
Photo The Cut

“We are not going to allow those people to take away our spirit, love or rejoice in our girl found alive and home where she belongs,” he said in a statement upon her return. “I understand people want the story, pictures, proof that this was not some sort of hoax, plan to gain money or some fabricated race war. I do not see a purpose in addressing each preposterous lie.”

Now, Keith revealed that he was not as confident in Sherri’s story as he appeared. “When I pulled back the curtain and I saw her and I saw the look in her eyes, I felt in that moment that she was lying,” he told GMA’s Matt Gutman. “It wasn’t until when I really got close and I could just see the amount of injuries, bruises, burns to her body, and it was a shock to me. I remember thinking, How horrible of me to even think that she could’ve done this to herself.”

In 2022, Sherri signed a plea deal admitting that the kidnapping was a hoax and was sentenced to 18 months in prison for mail fraud and lying to a federal officer. Shortly after Sherri pleaded guilty, Keith filed for divorce. She was released from prison after ten months. In an odd twist to an already odd story, Sherri was briefly back in the spotlight two weeks ago after being name-checked on the latest Eminem song, “Houdini.” “Caught sleepin’ and see the kidnappin’ never did happen / Like Sherri Papini, Harry Houdini / I vanish into the thin air as I’m leaving,” he raps on the track.

When asked if Sherri has ever apologized to him or their children, Keith said she hadn’t. “No, never. She has no remorse that I have ever witnessed or seen,” he said, later noting that he is trying his best to move on from the ordeal. “I think it’s always going to be there. We do want to move past it. I do want to provide my children an amazing childhood, but I think it’ll always be there.”

Sherri Papini’s Ex-husband Breaks Silence on Kidnapping Hoax
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