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Sue Ellen Ewing in Dallas

The Southfork wedding was one of the biggest and most expensive in Dallas to date. White orchids, flown in from Hawaii, cascaded over the ranch, and hundreds of guests attended. Sue Ellen was positively glowing, and JR. was at his most handsome—such a happy, prosperous couple, with their whole lives ahead of them.

The couple went off on their honeymoon, and Sue Ellen was in for a baffling disappointment. Sex with JR. was nothing like it had been with Clint. There just wasn’t anything romantic or passionate about it. She blamed herself, thinking that she didn’t turn J.R. on, for he never lingered, never ventured beyond just doing the act and getting it over with. She loved her husband and felt ashamed for expecting anything more. So she said nothing, and wondered if it would change in time. It was clear, however, that it would not be up to her to change anything. JR took on a pained expression if Sue Ellen made even the slightest sexual overture.

The following seven years at Southfork were ones of slow letdown for Sue Ellen. She was increasingly sad, year after year, when she didn’t conceive. She had herself checked out and the doctors said, no, there was nothing wrong with her, but she dismissed the obvious conclusion, as she could never, even broach the subject to JR. Instead, she channeled her energies into volunteer work. Sue Ellen adored Miss Ellie, and together they made an awesome team, civically and socially. After Jock retired and Ellie wished to spend a little more time at Southfork, Sue Ellen began to emerge as the new social matriarch of Dallas. As she once said, ‘There was a time I used to live for those meetings. They were all that gave meaning to my life."

Sue Ellen Ewing starts drinking at Southfork ranch Dallas

Despite her efforts to keep active, Sue Ellen became increasingly afraid—afraid that this was all there was ever going to be for her. Oh, yes, it was nice to be Mrs. JR. Ewing and have millions of dollars and dominating social clout. Yes, it was nice to be beautiful and smart and active. And, yes, it was nice to live at Southfork. But then, so what? What did it all add up to? It was agonizingly apparent to her that Jr did not love her anymore, although she was still very much in love with him, that JR would never be sexually interested in her , and that she was destined not to have a child. And the family gatherings , where Sue Ellen and Jr did their best acting, trying to maintain the facade of total happiness, were becoming some kind of hideous joke that the family was all in on. If Ellie and Jock asked one more time when they were going to have a child......And then it was worse they stopped asking.

 

 

How desperately she wanted a child! That longing, that pain, that inadequacy, combined with the feelings of being trapped, pushed Sue Ellen toward drinking a little more at these family gatherings. There was simply no other way to get through the masquerade; she just didn’t have her old energy. It was infinitely easier to drink a lot of wine and be physically present, smiling no less but mentally miles away, fantasizing about how life could have been

Sue Ellen reluctantly accepted Jr’s infidelities. She had to after they were exposed to the whole family during the Wanda Frick from Waco incident in 1978 at Southfork. But still she didn’t give up hope for a child. Finally, when her sister in-law, Pam, announced that she was pregnant in 1978, Sue Ellen considered adopting a child, but she found that it could take years. Desperate, she located an unwed mother, Rita Briggs, and paid her expenses at 6245 West Street in Dallas, planning to pay Miss Briggs a lot of money to take the baby when it was born. JR. found out about it and, outraged, put an end to the arrangement. Crushed, Sue Ellen emotionally withdrew from the family, solemnly watching them over the rim of a glass.

And then Sue Ellen met Pam’s brother, Cliff Barnes, and fell in love with his earnest, gentle ways. Or so she said. Cliff once asked her, "Well, if it's not money" - he didn't have any - "what is my fatal charm?" Sue Ellen thoughtlessly replied "Maybe its because Jr dislikes you so much".

Shortly after ending the affair, Sue Ellen discovered that she was pregnant. She was ecstatic, and so were the Ewings. That is, until Sue Ellen, led up with more of Jr’s unfaithfulness and roguery, resumed her affair with Cliff and JR. found out about it. In the following explosion between the two, Sue Ellen told JR. that the baby was probably Cliff’s, and that she was in love with him. The couple’s estrangement was complete. Jr retaliated by destroying Cliff’s career and keeping Sue Ellen virtually a prisoner at Southfork. Angry, depressed, Sue Ellen’s latent alcoholism came roaring to the surface.

She drank and drank and drank and didn’t care. She hated Jr, she hated that she couldn’t be with Cliff, and she hated herself. The Yellow Rose of Texas was bent on killing herself, drink by drink. Jr had her locked up in Fletcher Sanatorium in Fort Worth for the duration of her confinement, and the experience nearly drove Sue Ellen crazy. She managed to bribe an assistant to bring her alcohol, and on a binge, following a visit from JR., she escaped from the hospital and was in a horrible car accident that sent her into early labor. She was seven months pregnant. The crash caused bleeding in her uterus and the placenta started separating. The doctors had to perform an emergency cesarean to save both Sue Ellen and the child.


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