Get to Know the Real Life Story Behind ‘Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer’


Jun. 12 2021, Published 1:45 p.m. ET

The true-crime story of Celeste Beard, previously covered in the 2004 series premiere of Oxygen’s doc-series Snapped, is back on TV with the new Lifetime movie Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer.

So where is Celeste Beard now?

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First, some backstory: Celeste was a waitress at a Texas country club when she met her future husband, Steve Beard Jr., a retired TV executive. 

Amid relationship drama in their marriage, Celeste checked herself into a mental health facility, where she met fellow patient Tracey Tarlton, a woman who killed Steve in 1999, according to Oxygen.

Celeste got life in prison for her part in the crime, while Tarlton — who testified against Celeste — got 10 years in prison and 12 years of probation.

Where is Celeste Beard now?

Oxygen gave an update on Celeste in November 2020, reporting that she remains in custody in Texas and will not be eligible for parole until 2042.

Tarlton, however, was released on parole in 2011. “I don’t wake up one single day without feeling shamed still held for what I did,” she told KENS 5-TV later that year. “The people who know me and know my story have been very, very supportive of me, and I would not have been able to make it without these people.”

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Where are Celeste Beard’s daughters now?

Celeste’s daughters, Jennifer and Kristina, recently made news in relation to another murder case. In November 2017, Jennifer was shot multiple times by her then-roommate Randall Gaston Jones at their Halloween party in Austin, Texas. She and two other wounded victims survived the shooting, but another party guest died from his injuries, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Jones later pleaded guilty to one count of murder and two counts of aggravated assault, and at his sentencing hearing, Kristina testified that her sister needed 10 surgeries to recover from two wounds to the stomach and that she couldn’t work and had trouble walking, as the Statesman reported in 2019.

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‘Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer’ is based on the true story of Celeste Beard.

Source: Lifetime/YouTube

Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer is a TV movie starring Dexter alum Julie Benz as Celeste.

Julie sounded off about the case in a recent interview with KGET. “I spent a lot of time watching every video footage I could find of Celeste and going down every rabbit hole of the case and just really trying to wrap my head around this woman,” she said. “She was extremely outrageous and it was challenging for me.”

She went on: “You watch [Celeste] in an interview and she still claims her innocence and she’s so believable,” Benz says. “I really tried not to pass any judgment on her. I think, in her mind, she did it for her family, her children. … I think, at the end of the day, she really just did it for herself. That’s speaking now that I’m removed from the project and she’s out of my system.”

Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer premieres Sunday, June 13, at 8 p.m. EST on Lifetime.

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