As we dive deeper into the dredges of NXIVM thanks to HBO’s docuseries The Vow: Part Two, we are learning more about Nancy Salzman, who was cult leader Keith Raniere’s second-in-command. Salzman and Raniere met in 1997 when both of them were on a path to figuring out their careers. However, Raniere was a budding con artist, and Salzman had a vested interest in using hypnosis for therapeutic purposes.
Because of Salzman’s belief in Raniere’s theories of “rational inquiry,” the two decided to work together to found Executive Success Programs (ESP), which morphed into what we now know as NXIVM. In The Vow: Part Two, we dive deeper into Nancy’s involvement, her motivations, and her personal life, such as her husband and children. So, who was Nancy’s husband?
Nancy Salzman was once married to her now ex-husband, Dr. Michael Salzman.
Because most of NXIVM’s coverage focuses on Raniere’s relationships with his various followers, it’s easy to forget that some of the women had relationships with men outside of Raniere. In Salzman’s case, she and Raniere did at one point have an intimate relationship, but she later married Dr. Michael Salzman, then a specialist in internal medicine.
While Salzman may have lied about her credentials, her husband was a doctor. However, their relationship is now estranged after everything they went through with Raniere and NXIVM. The Salzmans had two daughters together: Michelle Salzman and Lauren Salzman, who many may recognize as one of NXIVM’s highest-ranking members. However, all of the Salzmans were, at one point, involved in NXIVM, including Michelle and Michael.
One of the ickiest parts of the NXIVM story is probably the fact that Raniere had sexual relations with Nancy and Lauren, and both women were aware of this. It isn't a surprise then that the cult put a damper on Nancy’s marriage. In fact, the Times Union reported that sometime around 2010, Raniere encouraged both Lauren and Michelle to shun their father.
According to Barbara J. Bouchey, one of Raniere’s former girlfriends, this was because Michael gave a job to someone who had defected from NXIVM. In Raniere’s eyes, this was one of his cardinal sins and a sign that Michael was open to criticism of NXIVM. So, although Nancy was at one point married, she and her husband have now split.
While Nancy Salzman has been sentenced to three years in prison, her ex-husband continues to work as a doctor.
As NXIVM began to fall, Salzman left his practice as an internist at Community Care Physicians in Albany and moved to open his own practice as an appearance-focused dermatologist. Yes, he switched from internal medicine to injecting Botox, wrinkle reducers, and dermal fillers for facial lines at Advanced Laser Medspa.
What prompted the switch? We can’t know for sure, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it was related to his affiliation with NXIVM. Beyond that, Michael actually has one malpractice suit under his belt from an issue with a patient file and a one-star rating on healthgrades.com. Even if he and Nancy are estranged, everyone in the NXIVM saga seems to have their own skeletons in their closets.
New episodes of The Vow: Part Two air Mondays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.