Lio Tipton as Gail Berchtold
Source: Peacock

Lio Tipton as Gail Berchtold in 'A Friend of the Family'

‘A Friend of the Family’ Includes Robert Berchtold’s Ex-Wife Gail — Where Is She Now?

Elizabeth Randolph - Author
By

Oct. 11 2022, Published 1:22 p.m. ET

In 2019, the documentary Abducted in Plain Sight told the chilling true story of the Broberg family. During Jan Broberg’s childhood in the 1970s, she was kidnapped twice by the family’s close friend Robert Berchtold, or “B,” as the Brobergs called him.

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The Brobergs said Robert manipulated Jan and her parents, Bob and Mary Ann, for years and caused multiple strains in their relationship. The documentary became one of Netflix’s most-watched films and brought more awareness to Jan and her mother’s child abuse advocacy work.

Jan and her family decided to tell their story again with the Peacock limited drama series A Friend of the Family. The show stars McKenna Grace as Jan and Jake Lacy as Robert “B” Berchtold.

In the first episode, viewers got a glimpse into Berchtold’s life with his own family, including his wife at the time, Gail Berchtold. So, where is Robert Berchtold’s ex-wife now?

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Lio Tipton in a scene of 'A Friend of the Family' as Gail Berchtold.
Source: Peacock

Lio Tipton as Gail Berchtold in 'A Friend of the Family'

Where is Gail Berchtold now?

B and Gail were married with five children when they moved to Pocatello, Idaho, in the 1970s. Although A Friend of the Family showed the Berchtolds with three children, the couple welcomed five kids during their marriage — James Jerry, Joseph, Jeff, and Jill. When they moved to Pocatello, the Berchtolds grew closer to the Brobergs, who had three girls around their children’s ages.

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As depicted in A Friend of the Family, B’s abuse toward Jan caused issues in his and Gail’s marriage. Actor Lio Tipton plays Gail, portraying her reported anxiety around her husband’s actions during that time. Eventually, Gail's suspicions were correct, as B kidnapped Jan for the first time when she was 12 and then again when she was 14.

(l-r): Jake Lacy as Robert "B" Berchtold and Hendrix Yancey as Jan Broberg Felt in 'A Friend of the Family'
Source: Peacock

Jake Lacy as Robert "B" Berchtold and Hendrix Yancey as Jan Broberg Felt in 'A Friend of the Family'

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According to Jan, Gail stayed with B after Jan’s first kidnapping. However, the marriage didn’t last long after that, and they divorced in the late ‘70s. “By the second kidnapping, she had filed for a divorce," Jan told Entertainment Tonight of Gail in 2019. "She divorced him and took her kids and moved."

Multiple Reddit reports stated that Gail remarried after she left B. As of this writing, she is still alive and reportedly living a private life with her adult children. B also married his second wife, Deanna Lou Wiley, before he died by suicide in 2005.

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‘A Friend of the Family’ star Lio Tipton believes Gail Berchtold was "groomed" by her ex-husband.

In the years following B’s death, many true-crime fans have discussed Gail’s involvement in the crimes. Some wondered if Gail was wholly innocent and unaware of her husband’s actions or if she knew all along. Gail, however, never addressed the case publicly.

Jan Broberg and the 'A Friend of the Family' cast at the premiere.
Source: Peacock

Jan Broberg (third from left) and the 'A Friend of the Family' cast and crew at the premiere.

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Lio Tipton, who portrays Gail in A Friend of the Family, hopes the limited series will show her in a new light. Like Jan, Lio believes Gail had no control over B’s behavior and described their marriage as “uncomfortable.”

“[I was] surprised with how easy it is to vilify her because I did not see that going into it,” Lio explained to HollywoodLife about Gail. “I immediately saw someone who was groomed. I immediately saw someone who I saw as an unknowing victim of the situation. It shocks me how quick people are to point fingers or to assume or to blame.”

A Friend of the Family is streaming exclusively on Peacock.

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