The Tragic True Story Behind Hulu's Candy

Candy, starring Melanie Lynskey and Jessica Biel, explores the gruesome 1980 murder of Betty Gore. Find out all the details behind the true story that inspired the Hulu limited series.

By Cydney Contreras May 09, 2022 4:55 PMTags

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

When Candy Montgomery and Allan Gore started an extramarital affair, they never could've predicted the events to come—or that they would be re-created by Jessica Biel and Pablo Schreiber in the Hulu limited series Candy

As Texas Monthly's sources tell it, Candy (Biel) was content raising her two children and socializing with other churchgoers in her quiet Southern town. But then she met Allan, a charismatic member of the First United Methodist Church of Lucas.

The two sang in the choir and played in the church's weekly volleyball match, where they would linger after the game to talk about their week. Their conversations were innocent at first, but Candy found herself drawn to Allan, yearning for someone to fulfill the sexual desires her husband, Pat (Timothy Simmons), couldn't. So, according to Texas Monthly, she built up the confidence to ask him if he'd like to have an affair.

Allan hesitated at first. He loved his wife, Betty Gore (Melanie Lynskey), and they were trying to give their daughter, Alisa, a sibling. But Texas Monthly's sources said that Allan also felt his marriage lacked the passion he craved. 

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Candy and Allan's affair begins in 1978

So they caved to their desires, but not without setting some rules. The Dallas Morning News covered Candy's testimony, in which the housewife said she and Allan agreed that their affair would be strictly about sex, which they would have once every other week at a local motel. Candy would make lunch, they'd split the cost of the food and motel, and most important, they would end the affair if they ever started having feelings for each other.

But that last rule was quickly abandoned, with Texas Monthly's sources recalling that Allan wanted to keep seeing Candy, even after she admitted to falling for him in February. So they continued having sex until the guilt consumed him in late 1979, a few months after Betty gave birth to their second daughter, Bethany, in July. Candy was unhappy to end their biweekly ritual but relented.


Betty confronts Candy on June 13, 1980

Their affair now over for months, it seemed the lovers had gotten away scot-free. But then, on June 13, 1980, Candy went to pick up Alisa's bathing suit from the Gore residence, which Betty's daughter had accidentally forgotten for a sleepover.

What happens next, according to Candy's testimony, was a complete and total surprise. According to Texas Monthly, Candy recounted to the jury in October 1980 that Betty flatly asked her if she had slept with Allan, to which Candy said no. But when Betty asked a second time, Candy admitted to the affair.

Candy told jurors that Betty then walked to the garage and grabbed an axe before walking back and telling Candy to never sleep with Allan again. They talked some more and Candy apologized, but this angered Betty, who, according to Candy, insisted, "I've got to kill you."

Candy said that Betty swung the axe over and over as Candy begged for her to stop. The fight carried on into the washroom, where Betty's body was found hours later.

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Betty's body is discovered by neighbors

Allan was away on a business trip to St. Paul, Minn., but immediately knew there was something wrong when Betty ignored his first call from the airport. 

Betty was going through a rough time following their second daughter's birth and hated that he was leaving her home alone, so much so she broke down in tears that morning and begged him to stay. They had made up but Allan still felt bad leaving her alone.

His worries increased when he made it St. Paul and she missed his call a second time. Then, a third.

Eventually, Allan made some calls to their friends, even ringing up the Montgomery residence. Candy answered the phone and let him know that Betty seemed fine, if a bit stressed. 

According to Texas Monthly, Allan then called neighbor Richard Parker, who knocked on the Gore's door twice to no avail. After the second knock, Richard and two other men cautiously approached the house to check on Betty and baby Bethany.

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"We went down the hall to the bathroom, turning on lights," Lester Gayler told The Dallas Morning News. "A little old baby raised its head up out of the crib, out of the baby bed. It began to cry. It'd been there all, nearly all day, hadn't been fed or nothing."

The three men then walked to the washroom, where Gayler said they found a "bloody mess."  

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Candy pleads self-defense in controversial court trial

In total, Betty was struck by an axe 41 times, according to multiple reports.

Initially, investigators considered Allan a suspect, thinking that he could've killed her before leaving for St. Paul that afternoon. But Candy herself said that she was the last person to see Betty alive. Moreover, investigators found a shoe print, which gave former Collin County investigator Steven Deffibaugh his first clue: "We were looking for someone small in stature, whether it was a child or a woman," he told Snapped.

Investigators were later granted an arrest warrant for Candy based on the fingerprints and footprints found at the scene. It was while Candy was being booked into custody on June 27, 1980 that "some female jailers strip-searched her and took off all her clothes and that's when they notice all these bruises and also a cut on her toe," according to Deffibaugh.

Candy hired defense attorney Don Crowder, who brought in Houston psychiatrist Dr. Fred Fason. An expert in the field of hypnotherapy, Dr. Fason worked with Candy to uncover her memory of what transpired that day. It was through their many sessions together that Candy realized she was thrown into a psychotic rage when Betty told her, "Shhh," as she was attacking her. 

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It was the same word her mother uttered when Candy was young, thereby triggering a "dissociative reaction," as Dr. Fason called it. Candy felt she had to fight back after being silenced her whole life.

The Dallas Morning News reported that Candy cried on the stand, "I stood back and looked at myself and I was covered in blood. I felt so guilty, so dirty."

Candy is found not guilty by reason of self-defense

Juror Alice Doherty Rowley told the Dallas Morning News that the jury "never" thought about the number of blows—41—when considering their verdict, since Candy's lawyers said that she wasn't aware of what she was doing in her dissociative state. And the same went for Candy and Allan's affair, with Rowley simply stating, "This woman wasn't on trial for adultery."

According to the Dallas Herald, jurors took less than five hours to find Candy not guilty by self-defense. As Rowley told the Herald in 1980, "[The prosecutor] just could not prove to me that she ever actually intended to kill." 


Three months later, the Montgomerys moved to Georgia. The Dallas Morning News wrote that Crowder spoke to the press in front of the Montgomerys' house as the family packed their belongings, saying the controversy "will never fully vanish until she vanishes."

But Betty's family still remembers the brutality of the crime and questions how jurors could let Candy go for the crime. As Betty's brother, Richard Pomeroy, told Snapped, "I don't think justice was served in the least bit. I think it was a murder."

The Dallas Morning News reports that Candy and Pat eventually divorced and Candy changed her last name. 

See Candy when the first episode premieres May 9 on Hulu, with the remaining episodes dropping each weeknight, ending with the finale on May 13.

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