Inside Amanda Knox's Perfectly Conventional Love Story

Her international nightmare behind her, the Seattle-based activist and podcast host found love with writer Christopher Robinson and they had a space-themed wedding on Leap Day

By Natalie Finn Mar 01, 2020 11:00 AMTags
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At a glance, everything is normal about Amanda Knox.

The beloved pet cat, the coffee pics on Instagram, the bearded husband, the disappointment over Andrew Yang exiting the presidential race—all of it screams "young woman just doing her thing in Seattle!"

A lot of what came before, of course, was as close to a nightmare as it gets, made all the worse because it was real life. Five years ago, Italy's highest court vacated once and for all Knox's conviction in the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher, a crime that resulted in Knox spending four years in an Italian prison, insisting throughout that she was innocent.

Now 32, Knox has worked on setting her own record straight, while becoming an advocate for the wrongfully convicted and those looking to rebuild their lives after serving time or being publicly shamed. These days she also hosts the podcast The Truth About True Crime in collaboration with Sundance TV. 

Knox also, incidentally, is coming off her second wedding, having re-sealed the deal with her husband of over a year, Christopher Robinson, on Saturday. 

The couple first tied the knot on Dec. 7, 2018—and despite all the attention that Knox still gets, it was further proof that famous people can keep things to themselves if they want to. In fact, Knox did such a good job of it, folks were a little startled and dismayed when they found out last summer she was already married.

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On July 19, Knox announced that she and Robinson were getting married and that they had launched a registry website through which people could donate money to help pay for the space-themed wedding of their dreams, to be held on Leap Day, Feb. 29. They could even pick which part of the wedding—food, bar, flowers, etc.—to contribute toward, if they so desired.

"Let's face it, we don't need any more stuff. So please, no gifts and no pressure. But if you feel so inclined, we welcome putting on the best party ever for our family and friends," they wrote on the site. "Instead of a traditional registry, we're accepting donations towards the cost of the wedding. Everyone who donates will receive a signed, limited edition copy of The Cardio Tesseract, our joint book of love poems, forthcoming from Alephactory Press. Or if you have any services to offer, advice, or warm wishes, we'll take that, too."

Robinson had proposed with a piece of meteor ("I don't have a ring but I do have a big rock") back in November 2018, so the space theme certainly checked out.

Also checking out, however, was a subsequent record search confirming that the couple had already been married for more than six months. The backlash against what seemed to some like subterfuge prompted the couple to clarify their intentions.

Amanda Knox instagram

"We filed paperwork to be legally married in December of last year to simplify our taxes and insurance," they said in a statement in August. Their February wedding would be a party "with our loved ones."

At the same time, Knox and Robinson had stated that they used up their own wedding savings on a trip to Modena, Italy, in 2018, where Knox spoke at a criminal justice conference, but the Italy Innocence Project has confirmed that they paid for the pair's travel expenses. The duo reiterated that they still paid plenty out of pocket, for security and whatnot. (Knox thanked the IIP on Instagram last year for being "incredibly kind and welcoming.")

"To those hating on us all day, you've been duped by the outrage machine," Knox tweeted. "You gave ad $ to tabloids that profit by making you angry about things that don't matter. Our wedding will be crazy & fun & barebones if it needs to be, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter."

After all, she is used to being misunderstand.

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Knox spent years living with the once widespread assumption that she had killed her roommate while studying abroad in Peruglia, Italy, in 2007. Kercher, a 20-year-old student from Leeds University, was found stabbed to death in the flat she was sharing with Knox on Nov. 2.

A hasty investigation ensued amid mass, morbid fascination with the case that was kicked into overdrive first by the British tabloid press but easily took over American headlines and TV news. Knox and her sort-of boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito, were arrested four days later and charged with murder and sexual violence. So was Rudy Guede, whom Kercher had met through their downstairs neighbors, who admitted to fooling around but not having sex with Kercher on the night of Nov. 1, and claims she was attacked while he was in the bathroom. While he was in there, he heard Knox's voice, he said. Guede, an immigrant from the Ivory Coast, originally told police he fled the bloody scene because he was terrified and got on the first train heading anywhere. That turned out to be Germany, where he was eventually arrested.

Police found, however, that Guede actually went back to his place, washed up and went out again. He then went dancing on the night of Nov. 2, hours after Kercher's body was found, and left for Germany in the early a.m. hours of Nov. 3.

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Guede was convicted in 2008 of sexually assaulting and killing Kercher while "acting with others" and sentenced to 30 years in prison, where he remains today, all the while continuing to insist that he's innocent. Knox and Sollecito were both convicted of murder and committing sexual violence in December 2009, but they were freed two years later when their convictions were overturned on appeal. (Guede's sentence was reduced to 16 years on appeal in 2010.) Another court dismissed the acquittal and ordered a second trial.

Knox returned to her home state of Washington—where once upon a time she was just a regular student at University of Washington—as fast as possible. She stayed put when Italian prosecutors re-tried her and Sollecito, who was taken into custody, and they were convicted yet again in 2014. Knox was sentenced in absentia to 28 years in prison.

But on March 27, 2015, the country's high court vacated the conviction for good, making it possible for Knox to step foot in the country again one day without being arrested. Until three months later when she was charged with defaming the police for testifying that investigators coerced her into accusing Guede of killing Kercher.

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"The international spotlight on the case in fact resulted in the investigation undergoing a sudden acceleration," the high court determined in its 2015 ruling, noting that the police could have probably arrived at a more definitive account of what happened if they hadn't made so many missteps—aided and abetted by salacious tabloid takes on the case—along the way.

Knox, meanwhile, returned to school at UW and graduated in 2014, writing a book about her experience—Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir—along the way, all while still waiting for her name to be cleared back in Italy. "I find it incredible that despite an absolute lack of evidence that connects me to this murder, I am still being judged based upon unrealistic and unreasonable expectations about how a young woman would react to a horrible situation," she told CNN's Chris Cuomo in 2013 while promoting her book.

In 2016 she participated in the Netflix documentary Amanda Knox, which probed the rushes to judgment and media hysteria that plagued the Kercher murder investigation from the start.

And ultimately Knox determined that she should put her experience to positive use, helping others who have fallen prey to a criminal justice system that doesn't always put a premium on doling out actual justice.

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"Like a lot of people think that I'm used to talking about this, and the fact that it still bothers me is good—because otherwise I wouldn't be able to convey it honestly," Knox said in 2018 on Vice's The Scarlet Letter Reports, a five-part Facebook Watch series she hosted about women who had been vilified.

Upon her return to school, Knox dated musician and UW alum James Terrano. Down the road she reconnected with Seattle musician Colin Sutherland, whom she had known since childhood, and they were briefly engaged in 2015. But later that year she met Robinson, a poet and author, at a local book launch party, and that was that. They moved in together in August 2016.

"We've been looking forward to the big day for a while, and now that it's come, it's easy to feel physically and emotionally overwhelmed," she wrote in an op-ed for Westside Seattle about the momentous combining of their stuff. 

Knox wrote later, "It's been four and a half years since I returned to Seattle from Italy. Until recently, those years were a nightmare roller coaster ride of unresolved legal drama. There was no feeling settled, hard as I tried. I graduated from college, set out on a career path. I fell in love, fell in love again, and again. All this in the time it took the Italian legal system to run its course, and in its wake, for me to recover myself.

Instagram / Amanda Knox

Knox made the conscious decision to take her Instagram account public in 2017, knowing it was a risky choice, considering she was letting the world's opinion of her into a space where she could see it at any time, should she choose to look. And almost everyone looks.

She reflected on that choice in a Medium post in 2019 on the eve of the conference in Modena, writing, "I just wanted to have what every other person around me had, the freedom to shout into the wind and say, 'Here I am!' The freedom to strike up an unexpected conversation with a friendly digital stranger. I have that now, but for me, it comes with the cost of absorbing insults and hatred and having my life fed into the content machine that seems endlessly hungry, especially now that I'm going back to Italy."

Her trip to Modena last June with Robinson was her first time back in the country since 2011 and she had just been let out of prison.

"I know a lot of people think I'm bad, that I don't belong to this place," she said in an emotional speech during a panel called "Trial by Media." "Some have even claimed that only by being here, by my presence, I am traumatizing the Kercher family again, and profaning Meredith's memory. They are wrong." (Kercher's family has repeatedly voiced their sadness and dissatisfaction about this decade-plus saga being made all about Knox, when their daughter was the one who actually lost everything.)

Though she expressed some feelings of trepidation in the days leading up to the trip, Knox and Robinson made a rather lovely looking vacation out of their time abroad, seeing a few sites in Modena and then heading to the French Riviera to unwind.

"After the event in Modena, Chris and I took a few days off to clear our heads and shake off the hurt in the French Riviera," Knox filled in her tens of thousands of Instagram followers upon their return. "We ate well, got exercise, and read/wrote poems. Here we've made it to the top of a strenuous hike that had us scrambling."

Robinson appears to be Knox's No. 1 fan wherever they go, his Instagram full of pictures from their life together in Seattle.

They have matching tattoos and are parents of several feline fur babies, and they both dig sci-fi and philosophizing about time, space and the future—hence their desire for a thematic wedding on once-every-four-years Feb. 29.

"I was probably the only person at the party who didn't really know who she was," Robinson told People in 2017 about meeting Knox. "I knew [about] Italy and some legal stuff and something that shouldn't have happened. But I didn't really know her story."

They got together again so Knox could interview him and his co-author about a book they wrote, War of the Encyclopaedists, and they "drank scotch and watched Star Trek," he recalled.

"When we shook hands goodbye, he said, 'I think you're someone I should be friends with,'" Knox recalled.

Reflecting in The Scarlet Letter Reports about the fact that anonymity was no longer an option for her, Knox said that it had been hard to cultivate any sort of relationship, friendly or romantic, because she could never be sure of a person's intentions.

"I could not be certain that someone befriending me wasn't doing so to get to me," she said. "For me, I think the most drastic challenge was finding love and feeling like someone loved me for me. What I had to do was juggle being the Amanda Knox in the tabloids and Amanda Knox, the, just, person doing her thing and living her life. So yeah, I went and got a job...yes, I even made a friend in poetry class and, yes, I even eventually fell in love. But I could not do those things if I didn't accept what had happened to me as a part of who I was."

If anything, her experience—including losing her physical freedom for four years—made her appreciate everything that's so-called normal all that much more. And one look at her Instagram tells you she relishes the simple pleasures in life.

"There's a playfulness to her that I think seems surprising given how she appears in the [Netflix] documentary," Robinson also told People. "When something matters and she cares about it, she doesn't just let it slide. She puts her foot down and stands up for what she believes is just. But just because she's that person doesn't mean that we also don't swing dance in the kitchen while we're making dinner. We have a lot of fun together, and we let that whimsy carry us."

In fact it's carried them all the way to the altar, twice.