FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Scoring in the Game of Love: The Rose Romance Begins

with Bill and Vicki Rose | February 10, 2014
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Vicki and Bill were vastly different, but Vicki hoped marriage would change that. Bill and Vicki Rose reflect back on the days of their courtship and the marital trouble, including drug abuse, that began as soon as the rings were on their fingers.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Vicki and Bill were vastly different, but Vicki hoped marriage would change that. Bill and Vicki Rose reflect back on the days of their courtship and the marital trouble, including drug abuse, that began as soon as the rings were on their fingers.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Bill and Vicki Rose reflect back on the days of their courtship and the marital trouble, including drug abuse, that began as soon as the rings were on their fingers.

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Scoring in the Game of Love: The Rose Romance Begins

With Bill and Vicki Rose
February 10, 2014
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Bob: When Bill and Vicki Rose were newlyweds, marriage and partying went hand-in-hand, until the time came that partying became more important than marriage, at least for Bill.

Vicki: When you're addicted to a drug, that's really your focus—“Where I can get it,” “What I'll do when I get it.” That was his focus. By then, the children were born. My focus was the children, and school, and living a life that was a healthy and balanced life.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, February 10th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Bill and Vicki Rose join us today. We’ll hear about how living the party life ultimately meant they were living separate lives. Stay tuned.  



And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us.


Dennis: Have you ever seen a ring that weighs 12 pounds, Bob?

Bob: Let me. I haven't held—oh, my goodness!  I can barely—you could do curls with this thing and develop biceps.

Dennis: I've seen some Super Bowl rings, and I have also seen a major league baseball World Series Championship ring. I have never seen one this big.

Bob: It says "World Champions 2000."

Dennis: Yes, and some of the baseball fans right now will know who won in 2000.

Bob: Yes, well, there's a big—the letters are, right there, in the diamonds—"NY;" right?

Dennis: Yes; yes. Who would that happen to be, Bill?

Bill: Well, it doesn't stand for the Mets—I'll tell you that much—[Laughter] —although, that's who the Yankees beat that year.

Bob: Yes, that's right.

Dennis: Oh, really?

Bill: Oh, yes.



Dennis: Well, I just have to say this is the nicest ring I've ever been given by a guest—

Bob: Given? [Laughter]

Dennis: —in all these years we've been doing FamilyLife Today. Bill, I just want to thank you for doing that. Bill Rose is one of the owners of the Yankees.

Bob: And let me just say it's the nicest ring you'll ever give back to a guest, as well.

Dennis: It is, you know, and here it goes right back here.

Bill: Thank you.

Dennis: Bill represents a number of baseball players through his sports management firm, DRM. He and his wife are the proud parents of two children. Vicki—glad you're joining us, as well. You're a teacher, a writer, a speaker; and you have a great story to tell.

Bob: Yes, we're going to hear a love story that is—well, it's a powerful love story because of all that it has taken to get to where it is today.

Dennis: Now, of course, we know that Bill loves the Yankees. Now, Vicki, have you always been around baseball—enjoyed it?



Vicki: I had never been to a baseball game when I met Billy. So, no, I had no baseball knowledge whatsoever—not sports, really. We ice-skated in my family.

Bob: Now, wait, you grew up in New York; right?

Vicki: No baseball. Yes, I grew up in New York City.

Bob: New York City, the home of the Yankees!

Vicki: Not in my family—with two girls and my—

Bill: And they had bad family values. What can I tell you? [Laughter]

Dennis: And so, when you met Billy, one of the first places he took you was to a baseball game. In fact, he kept taking you to baseball games?

Vicki: Yes, we met, actually, in November. Baseball season started the following April. I was—the first game I ever went to was at opening day of the newly-refurbished Yankee Stadium, back in 1976. We went to 70 games that season.

Bill: She went to 70 out of 81 home games with me.

Dennis: Seven-0?

Bill: Seven-0.

Vicki: Seven-zero, yes.

Bill: I think I went to the other 11 by myself.

Vicki: Exactly.

Bob: You went from nothing to full-time fan.

Vicki: Yes.



Bob: Did you love the game as soon as you saw it?

Vicki: Billy was great at teaching me the game. I don't know if I loved it immediately, but I knew that that's where I was going to spend a lot of time. So, I started to learn the game; and I loved the people. There's a fun socializing aspect to it.

Bob: Did you love the guy who was taking you to the games?

Vicki: I loved the guy who was taking me to the games, and I knew that his first love was baseball, so—

Dennis: Billy, how did you become such a romantic artist to take her to a baseball game?

Bill: You know, I just couldn't think of a better place to go!

Dennis: You've got New York City, for goodness sakes!

Bill: No, but I'd like to say in my defense, I took her to really good restaurants after the game—

Dennis: Oh, okay.

Bill: —you know—when they weren't playing and when they won. I took her on road trips, too.

Dennis: Oh, really?

Vicki: Seventy was just the home games.

Bill: Oh, yes. So we would go to LA to see when they were playing the Dodgers in the World Series in '77 and '78, and she got to do her thing on Rodeo Drive. It wasn't so bad. [Laughter]

Dennis: So here is the question.

Bill: Yes.



Dennis: I happen to know, through a reliable source, that you're such a romanticist you took her on a very special honeymoon. Where did you take her on your honeymoon?

Bill: We went to—first, we went to Palm Springs—to California. That was nice, and then we spent the last, I don't know, four or five days with George on his farm in Ocala, Florida.

Dennis: George?

Bill: Steinbrenner. He had to be part of our honeymoon. He was just like—part of our lives.

Dennis: And the rest of the story is?

Vicki: Where we went for our honeymoon is where he and his family used to go for vacation and where his prior girlfriend and he had all played tennis and all sorts of things. So, it was not the best of places to go.

Bill: I thought you loved it, Honey. [Laughter]

Vicki: Definitely, communication was not great.

Dennis: Was that the beginning of finding out you two were different?

Vicki: I don't know if that was the beginning. I just—I think before—I know before we got married, I knew we were very different, but I just—I loved him.



I knew we were different. I think I saw—I just thought, somehow: “We'd get married, and everything would work out.”

Bob: When did it dawn on you that everything wasn't going to just work out because you were, now, married?

Vicki: I think a year into it—I think a year—somewhere around a year into it. The things that I brought with me, obviously, were still with me and hadn't gone away. I just—my mom had died the week before I graduated from high school, and my father had remarried. I didn't really feel like I had a home anymore—a place to belong.

I thought, by getting married, that would all go away—and the emptiness, the hurt—would just vanish. Well, it doesn't. The more I buried it and the more I tried to find my happiness in my job, or in our marriage, or in the glitzy life we were living—going to baseball games, and Studio 54, and hanging out with known celebrities—the emptier I became. I started to lose my temper a lot and be angry. I didn't understand what was going on. I just knew I was really unhappy.



Dennis: Vicki, most people bring bags into a marriage relationship—suitcases packed with all kinds of issues—unresolved things that have taken place in their lives. But for you, as you arrive in your marriage, there was no place to unpack it.

Vicki: Exactly. Back then, I know I didn’t know any of those things. Now, our children know those issues. I taught my daughter: “You’re still you when you get married. Everything doesn’t just change, and so is the person you’re marrying.” Nobody ever taught me any of those things.

Bob: But you thought it would kind of be a cure.

Vicki: Yes, that’s exactly—

Bob: Somehow, walking down the aisle, saying, “I do,” would fix everything.

Vicki: Yes. I totally did.

Bob: Why did you think that?

Vicki: I don’t know. I really thought the more that I had—be it materially, or job-wise, or marriage, and then children were sort of the next progression—I thought those things would eventually—something would make me happy.



Dennis: Billy, how long did it take you before you realized that there were some serious differences in this marriage?  She said a year.

Bill: You know, I'm not sure I was that bright that I could figure that out in a year. I don't think I realized that she was unhappy when she was.

Dennis: Were you just covered up in work?

Bill: Not so much at that time because, when I got out of college, I worked for my dad for 11 years. I wasn't really that immersed in work back then; but that didn't start until, really, 1984.

Bob: But Vicki talks about the fact that she was getting angry. She was starting to shout and yell. You obviously noticed that.

Bill: I did. And—

Bob: I bet she was yelling at you a few of those times.

Bill: I bet she was. You know, I think I would try to placate her—buy her something, you know—try to make things right. My parents, to me, had a great marriage.



They were married for 45 years before my mom died. I also saw, in my parents' marriage, you know, my mom basically did everything to make Dad not get upset—not unhappy. Well, “Why is that not happening here?”—you know.

I guess I was just hoping everything would work out, you know. I sort of took that approach; and, you know, she would calm down. I'd buy her something, and things would be okay for a couple of months. Something else would—you know, obviously, get swept under the rug—and then it would come out again in a larger scale.

Dennis: And the rug keeps getting higher, and higher, and higher. 

Bill: Absolutely. It is the worst thing you can possibly do.

Dennis: You know, what you're describing, though, is where all of us, I think, start out our marriages. Maybe—unless they've been to a Weekend to Remember® marriage conference, and they've gotten their blueprints in advance as an engaged couple—but I think most of us get married—we don't know what a husband is or what a husband does.

Bob: Right.

Dennis: Or, for that matter, a wife.



Vicki: Right.

Dennis: And you come together in the midst of this. You're trying to hammer out what a real relationship is. In the process, children come along. Now, you add an additional piece of the job description that you don't know what you're doing.

Bob: Well, and you've got all kinds of expectations about what this relationship is going to do for you.

Vicki: And neither of us knew the Lord, and so it was all about me—like: “What are you going to do today to make me happy?” Nowhere, on the horizon is, like: “What can I do today to make you happy or to serve you?”

Bob: Yes. So, fundamentally, you bring all of that together—it's a combustible mixture.

Dennis: And you add the children to it, as I said, and so you become a daddy. How do you do daddy?—you know.

Bill: Not well at all. I was really not all that involved when they were that young. I had opened a restaurant in '84 in New York. Then I was immersed in work because that was a place that just took a tremendous amount of time.

Bob: Let me back you up.



Bill: Yes.

Bob: You talked about partying, and nightlife, and Studio 54, and the celebrities. Do you remember the first time that somebody laid out a line of white powder and said, "Here, you've got to try this"?

Bill: I don't. I'm not sure whether I tried it in college or not, but I know that I had been dabbling in it before I met Vicki.

Bob: So you'd been playing around with drugs off and on?

Bill: Right.

Bob: Had you ever experimented with drugs prior to—

Vicki: I did, in high school, yes.

Bob: So, when the two of you got together, that was just a part of your common lifestyle and experience?

Vicki: Yes, pretty much. It was the '70s, you know—it was the time.

Bob: Going out clubbing and doing lines of coke was just kind of how people lived.



Bill: Oh, yes. We went in the private rooms of Xenon and Studio 54. I'm not going to name celebrities that were there because it's not, certainly, right to do that; but there were—I mean, people that you would recognize in a heartbeat—that you've seen on the big screen many times. Everyone is there partying, and drinking, and doing lines. I mean, that's what happened, back then.

Dennis: I also wanted to ask both of you—I mean, here, you're living this lifestyle and, usually, where this kind of habit leads you is infidelity. Did that occur early on in your marriage with either of you?

Vicki: No.

Bill: No, no. We were always together, so—

Vicki: Until we separated.

Bill: Right.

Bob: Right; but it's interesting to stop and think: “That in a culture where that was commonplace, for the two of you, it wasn't.”

Bill: Well, we were hanging out together—doing it together—it was fun.

Bob: Until you got home?

Vicki: Right.

Bob: And somebody got angry, and—

Vicki: Until we had to get up to go to work the next day.

Dennis: Well, you've got two children, too, I mean—

Vicki: That was really before that.

Bob: That was happening later, yes.



Vicki: I had completely been able to, before we had children, wake up one day and say, "I'm done,"—and, actually, with drugs of any kind. I actually went—I asked—

Bob: Yes, tell us about—you wake up one day and say, "I'm done." What caused that?

Vicki: I was addicted to cocaine. It had been about four, or five, or, I don't know, six months. I'd lost a lot of weight. I was not doing my job properly.

Dennis: How do you know you were addicted? I mean, we have a lot of listeners. Is this an—

Bob: Every night you were doing lines?

Vicki: I mean, 4 or 5:00 would roll around. I needed to do a line of cocaine to feel good. In high school, my mother had been very on my case about weight. I had, unknowingly to her—I started taking diet pills, and I was addicted to those. I mean, I couldn't not take them and through my first two years in college until I got really sick from them and stopped. I knew—I had tried to avoid drugs from then on because I knew that, if I did something, I would become addicted. I, in fact, did with cocaine.


So, I asked my job to send me on a road trip. I went away for a week—away from Billy, who wasn't interested in stopping—and, literally, just stopped doing drugs.

Bob: Can somebody wake up one morning and go away for a week and just be done?

Vicki: Some can; some can't. I was able to.

Bob: And that was it—never went back—never—

Vicki: That was it.

Bob: Wow!

Dennis: Billy, what did you think about this? I mean, at this point, you're watching your wife. She says, "I'm addicted." She doesn't like what it's doing to her. You're still doing drugs. What were you thinking, at that point? I mean, I've often wondered: “Is the addiction so strong you just don't think straight?”

Bill: Yes, absolutely. I don't—you know, well, I mean—I think I lost one of my playmates. You know, I had other people to do it with. I don't think I thought of the ramifications of me continuing and her not. I don't think I really cared.

Bob: Did it make you mad that she wouldn't play with you anymore?



Bill: Oh, absolutely; absolutely.

Bob: And would you lay it out for her and say, "Come on!"

Vicki: Yes.

Bill: I did? I don't remember. I'm sure I did.

Bob: And what would you do when he'd lay it out and say, "Come on." You'd say, "I'm not going to do that"?

Vicki: Yes. “I can't do it anymore.”

Bob: And you'd just get mad and go out and find somebody to play with?

Bill: Yes, I guess. I mean, I don't really—

Vicki: I don't think either of us remembers the very details, at that point; but—

Bob: Right. You continued—it was still a part of your life. You were done.

Vicki: Done.

Bob: But that puts another wedge in the relationship?

Vicki: Definitely; definitely.

Bob: Was that one of the things that pushed you toward separation?

Vicki: Absolutely. That was the thing because we were living in separate worlds, literally—not just because Billy had the restaurant and the time there—but when you're addicted to a drug, that's really your focus—“When I'm going to do the next…” “Where I can get it...” “What I'll do when I get it.” That was his focus. By then, the children were born. My focus was the children, and school, and living a life that was a healthy and balanced life.



Bill: One of the best commercials I ever saw about cocaine addiction was when they showed a picture of the vial—the cocaine vial—and the person, actually, inside the vial. That's really what it's like. I mean, you are just trapped inside that vial. For me, at the time, there was no way out. I tried to stop a number of times, but it was impossible.

Dennis: You were doing four grams of cocaine a day.

Bill: Up to—certainly, not every day—

Dennis: Not every day.

Bill: But there were big party days when I would do that.

Dennis: What does that mean?  I mean, I just don't have a concept of—are you with me?

Bill: I'm with you. It's a lot. I would start, you know, maybe at 10 in the morning and finish at, maybe, 4 or 5 the following morning.



Dennis: So, 18 hours—

Bill: Oh, yes. Sometimes, you know, you'd be lucky to get a couple of hours of sleep; and the whole thing would start over again.

Dennis: Doesn't your body begin to break down, at some point, in the midst of that?

Bill: Well, it does. It does, and—

Vicki: You have to drink a lot of alcohol.

Bill: —you have to drink a lot of alcohol. You drink the alcohol to come off the coke; and then you get to a certain point—it's a vicious, vicious cycle.

Dennis: So, there is no relationship, then, really, to speak of—that's occurring in a marriage where this is happening.

Bill: It got so bad for me that—I'd be in the shower. I would feel my heart start to really race and get scared that I was about to have a heart attack. Then it would slow down and be okay. Ten minutes later, I was out of the shower, doing another line.



Vicki: Before we separated, there would be moments—or maybe an hour or maybe even a day—sometimes where Billy would be able to not do drugs. There would be a little bit of a connection between us, from my perspective.

Bob: And you'd have some hope?

Vicki: And I'd have some hope. I also remember the guy that I'd first met, and I loved that guy; but he was gone. But there was just that hope. And then there were the two children. It was a daily battle in my brain—daily—a conflict: “I want my family together, but I can't live like this.” I mean, all-day long: "What will I do?" I mean, it just would go around, and around, and around in my head: "What will I do? How will I live if I make him leave because I can't live like this anymore? How will we survive? What will we do?”

Dennis: It was, at that point, you drew a line in the sand.

Vicki: Exactly. We actually went on a vacation to South Carolina to the beach. Billy said he was going to try to detox, on his own, at this hotel.

Dennis: Just like you'd gotten away for a week.

Vicki: Right.

Dennis: And you'd come clean. He was going to do it while you were on vacation.



Vicki: Right, but it didn't work. It was a very miserable time.

Bill: I tried; and, I mean, I wasn't doing very much. I'd do maybe four hits a day, just to try to feel normal. Most people think that cocaine—and it does—it makes you speedy, racy, and all that stuff—keeps you up. But when you're really addicted to it, you need it to feel normal. I would wake up in the middle of the night and have to do a hit just to go back to sleep—just to calm myself down.

Dennis: Amazing. You know, Bob, we get a lot of letters from listeners who talk about what drugs, alcohol—addictions of all kinds are doing to their relationship. What we've got here is a picture of—I mean, if there is a picture of a dysfunctional relationship—

Vicki: Oh, yes.

Dennis: —it's what you guys were enduring, at that point. The reality is: “Apart from Jesus Christ, what's the hope?” What's the chance of that relationship moving—first of all, out of bondage to freedom—but then, secondly, to forgiveness of one another for all the ways you've hurt each other—but then beginning to build a real relationship between two people.



We see people come to the Weekend to Remember marriage conferences all the time who come hopeless. They find the spiritual solution because—it's God / it's His plan—He made marriage / He designed it—a husband and a wife. He knows how they fit together and how they make a relationship work.

Frankly, that's what you found out, as we're going to talk about further. That's what our listeners, I think, need to find out is—they need to get the blueprints. They need to find the Master Architect of marriage and allow Jesus Christ to become the builder of their relationship.

Bob: Well, and the reality is—most of the couples who come to a Weekend to Remember are not at the point in their marriage that Bill and Vicki got to. Most folks are coming because they recognize that, if you're going to build a strong marriage, you have to spend time—and you have to make the investment—and learn how to grow and how to look together at the Scriptures.



That’s what we do at the Weekend to Remember—in the context of a weekend that is a fun, romantic getaway for couples.

In fact, you and I are going to be at the Weekend to Remember this weekend in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This is kickoff weekend for the Weekend to Remember, Valentine’s weekend. In addition to Hershey, there are three or four other locations where we are hosting a Weekend to Remember this weekend. Of course, throughout the spring, we’ll have the Weekend to Remember taking place in cities all across the country.

And this Friday and Saturday, there are hundreds of churches, around the country, that are going to be hosting an Art of Marriage® video event for couples. In fact, if our listeners can’t get to a Weekend to Remember this spring, they can find an Art of Marriage event that is going on at a church near where they live. They can be a part of that event. Or you can host your own Art of Marriage event in your church. Go to for more information about the Weekend to Remember and about the Art of Marriage video event.



We are hoping, this year, that there will be thousands of couples who will step up and say: “We want to help the people in our church have a stronger marriage. We will host one of these events.” Again, our website: Click on the link for The Art of Marriage or for the Weekend to Remember. Plan to do something to strengthen your marriage this spring—either attend a Weekend to Remember or attend or host an Art of Marriage video event for couples.

We ought to say, here, that one of the reasons why we are able to host the Weekend to Remember,and to produce resources like The Art of Marriage,and to rally people to do things that are going to strengthen their marriage relationship is because we have friends, who listen to FamilyLife Today,who help make all of this possible through their donations. I don’t know how many of our listeners realize this; but more than 60 percent of the funding we need for FamilyLife Today comes from people, like you, who make a donation, from time to time—or those of you who are Legacy Partners, who donate each month.




Without that funding, FamilyLife Today would not exist. We very much appreciate your partnership with us. In fact, this month, if you could make a donation to help support the ministry, we’d like to send you a copy of Dennis and Barbara Rainey’s book, Rekindling the Romance. Half of the book is for husbands; half of the book is for wives. Together, it’s a great tool to use to inject new life / new freshness into your marriage relationship.

Go to Click the link that says, “I CARE”. Make an online donation. We’ll send you a copy of the book, automatically, when you do that. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Make a donation over the phone; and be sure to ask for the book, Rekindling the Romance,when you do. Or you can request the book when you write to us at FamilyLife Today. Our address is P O Box 7111, Little Rock, AR. Our zip code is 72223.



Let me just say: “Thank you for your support—your donation. We appreciate you joining with us and being a part of all that God is doing, here at FamilyLife Today.


And we hope you can be back with us tomorrow. We’re going to hear about how Bill and Vicki Rose’s marriage relationship came to the breaking point—almost to divorce. We’ll hear more of their story tomorrow. Hope you can tune in for that.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.

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