D-day, as Rebecca King Crews describes it, was a turning point in the Crews household. It was the day her husband, Terry Crews, confessed the infidelity and porn addiction that he had kept under wraps throughout their marriage.
“I just laid on the floor and mourned the death of my future and my dreams and all the things that I had hoped for between the two of us and for our children,” the singer-songwriter said, sitting next to her husband during a candid conversation with Los Angeles Times writer Michael Ordoña on Thursday.
Their 2021 Audible original, “Stronger Together: How Fame, Failure and Faith Transformed Our Lives,” begins — as Ordoña pointed out during the Festival of Books panel — with this fateful moment. Overcoming the revelation was no easy feat for the couple, whose audiobook guides listeners through the ups and downs of their 31 years of marriage.
“Our marriage was resurrected because it was dead. It was 100% dead,” the “America’s Got Talent” host said. “It was dead and buried and it started to stink,” Rebecca added.
The publication of “Stronger Together” follows a memoir Terry wrote in 2014 titled “Manhood: How to Be a Better Man — or Just Live with One.” In “Manhood,” Terry chronicles the hardships in his life and offers advice to men based on the pillars of forgiveness and spirituality.
As all the speakers noted, Crews is not afraid of public vulnerability. The actor has previously spoken out about his experience with sexual harassment, and in “Stronger Together,” he addresses the culture of toxic masculinity. It didn’t come without an emotional toll.
“There were times I was in the studio and I was in tears … there were times I just couldn’t speak anymore. And I had to gather my thoughts and get myself together and go back at it,” Terry said.
For Rebecca it was even more difficult. She had never taken the time to relive her experiences, she said, and had opted to “bury” her past instead.
But if Terry was willing to take up the challenge, Rebecca decided she could walk that path with him.
“I realized that the book might be kind of uneven if I didn’t delve into some of my own pain,” Rebecca said. “I didn’t want the readers to get this kind of pristine picture of my life.”
The musician shed her public persona in “Stronger Together,” sharing her experiences with abuse at the hands of her alcoholic stepfather as well as her journey through healing and forgiveness. Rebecca also revealed her history with breast cancer, including a double mastectomy.
Her husband was by her side for all of it, calling her a “warrior.” Rebecca has now been cancer free for more than a year.
Throughout the recording of the audiobook, which intertwined their accounts, the couple learned things about each other that they hadn’t known before, such as the details of Rebecca’s abuse.
The decision to record the audiobook together came as a response to “Manhood.” Terry recalled being asked questions about how Rebecca responded to the revelations in his memoir about his mistakes, but the idea for a joint testimonial came out of a speaking engagement in Vietnam.
During the event’s question-and-answer segment, Terry recalled, “this lady got up, and she just basically said, ‘How did your marriage survive?’ Like, she just was in the most like: ‘How did you get through this?’ And I looked at my wife, who was in the front row, and I said, ‘You know what? I’m gonna let her answer that question.’ And Rebecca got up. And it was her conference after that.”
“It was so groundbreaking, so enlightening, so special,” he continued. “Coming home from that meeting, we said, ‘This is it.’ It gives everyone a 3-D view … which I think is groundbreaking.”
The purpose of the audiobook, Rebecca said, was to give other couples hope that they too could overcome even great hurdles in their relationships.
“And we shared this book because we knew there are other couples out there that are going through or have gone through or will go through some of the similar things,” Rebecca said. “And we really wanted to be a beacon of hope.”