Eric and Lyle Menendez (The Menendez Brothers) were sentenced to life in prison in 1996 for the double murder of their parents. They’d served their sentence separately for more than two decades but were recently reunited at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in California.
There has been no movement in their case – it is unlikely that the Menendez brothers will ever leave prison – but a section of TikTokers believe that there’s enough cause to have their sentences mitigated. It has led to renewed interest in Erik and Lyle Menendez. This piece will look at Erik Menendez’s wife, Tammi Menendez.
Tammi admits that it she struggles with her husband Erik Menendez being in prison
Tammi and Erik got acquainted after she sent him a letter during his second trial. “I couldn’t imagine what he was going through emotionally, but I wanted to let him know that there were people out there who empathized with the very awful ordeal he was experiencing,” she wrote in the book They Said We’d Never Make it – My life with Erik Menendez.
To her surprise, Erik wrote back. Their letters morphed into phone calls, and later, Tammi visited Erik in prison. Their first meeting wasn’t romantic, but as the visits continued, their bond deepened. Tammi moved from Minnesota to California to be closer to Menendez.
Tammi and Erik wed on 12th June 1999 in the waiting room of Folsom State Prison. “It was a wonderful ceremony until I had to leave,” Tammi said. “That was a very lonely night.” Few in Tammi’s family understood her decision to marry a convicted murderer, but she told NBC that her mom is supportive of her decision.
She visits Erik regularly in prison but hates how the guards treat her like a convict. “Being married to you is a hard and painful life,” she wrote. “It’s the prison. This pride-swallowing place. It takes almost an hour or more just to get in here. The guards sometimes treat me like an inmate, without any respect. I hate this place, Erik.”
Tammi acknowledges that Erik did something wrong in killing his parents, but like the TikTokers, she opines that his parent’s actions drove Erik and Lyle to murder. “I do know the person that Erik is,” she told NBC. “I know his heart; I know his soul. I do know what happened that night and I do understand – I believe that within everybody, put in certain circumstances, you will be able to kill somebody.”
Erik and Tammi have no children, but Tammi’s daughter refers to him as her ‘Earth Dad.’
According to Tammi, she and her daughter, Talia, visit Erik every weekend. Her daughter has formed such a close bond with Erik that she refers to him as ‘Earth Dad.’ Tammi’s first marriage ended after her former husband committed suicide.
Erik is not permitted conjugal visits, and therefore, has no children with Tammi. “Not having sex in my life is difficult, but it’s not a problem for me,” Tammi told People in 2005. Per her book, Erik and Tammi do share brief moments of intimacy:
“I reach up and slip my hand around his neck. I lean into him until I can just feel the steady pounding of his heart, my chest meets his; I lower his head and raise my lips to his. I kiss him like I’ve never kissed him before. I kiss him for a long time, until the guard taps on the microphone.”