arts & entertainment
Left: Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. Below:
Kim and Krickitt (right), their screen alter-egos Channing Tatum and Rachel
McAdams, and the Carpenters’ children,
Danny and LeeAnn. Bottom: The
Carpenters’ car after the accident.
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF B&H PUBLISHING
The real couple behind the hit film
By Steve Fisher
AT THE BEGINNING of the hit motion picture The Vow a note tells viewers that the film
is “inspired by a true story.” The true story is
that of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter.
When asked, in a phone conversation
with The Connection, about seeing a version
of their story on screen, Kim says, “It’s been a
blessing to see the results of, basically, 16
years in the making.”
The story began on November 24, 1993,
just weeks after their September wedding.
Kim recalls, “We were en route from New
Mexico to Phoenix to spend Thanksgiving
with Krickitt’s parents, and were in an
extremely violent car accident. We ended up
slamming into the back end of a flatbed parts
hauler. A one-ton pickup that was following
too close, headed the same direction we were
in, broadsided us. We ended up rolling one
and a half times and slid over a hundred feet
on the roof of the vehicle. We were both criti-
cally injured. I can remember every single
impact that happened in that accident.”
Krickitt can’t. The impact of the crash
was mostly on the driver’s side—she was
driving—leaving her with severe head
trauma. “She was staged between a one and a
three on the Glasgow scale [used to assess
The Costco Connection:
The Vow is available in Blu-ray (Item #656831)
and DVD (#656832) at all warehouses. The
book (B&H Books, 2012) can be purchased
at independent bookstores.
level of consciousness after a head injury],
which is essentially brain dead,” says Kim.
“The doctor gave me a manila envelope with
her wedding ring and her watch and told me
he was terribly sorry, she’s just way beyond
medical help and there was nothing they
could do for her.”
Krickitt was on life support for five days
before she miraculously started to rally. But
she did not emerge from the coma completely
whole. Krickitt has retrograde amnesia.
“I basically lost about a year and a half
prior to the accident to about four months
afterward,” she explains. “But in that two-
year period I have a few snapshot memories
that I can remember, but I don’t have any
feelings or any connection to it.”
And she has no memory of meeting or
marrying Kim. When she finally regained
consciousness, doctors asked her a series of
questions, including who her husband was.
She said she wasn’t married. And they said,
“No, Krickitt, you were married. Who’s your
husband?” She replied, “Todd,” a boyfriend
from two years earlier.
“My first vivid memory was about in
March,” Krickitt continues. “I was living at
my parents’ house in Phoenix, doing outpatient therapy, and I can remember everyone telling me the story about Kim and this
car accident thing, and I have these scars on
my body that I didn’t remember having. But
I can vividly remember looking in the mirror
in my bathroom and thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, this is really happening to me. This is
MAY 2012 ;e Costco Connection
not a dream. I’ve been in a car accident and
I’m married to a guy named Kim.’”
That was the beginning of the story.
Buoyed by their intense faith, strong family
values and the support of family and friends,
Kim and Krickitt rebuilt their relationship.
They are now happily married with two chil-
dren, Danny, 11, and LeeAnn, 8.
In 1996, the Carpenters signed a deal to
tell their story in a book, and Hollywood
came calling. Beyond the inciting incident of
the car crash and the amnesia, the film story
differs from the true story, which contains a
strong element of the couple’s Christian faith.
“In fairness to the industry, it’s hard to tell
a 19-year story in 104 minutes,” says Kim. He
adds, “We would have liked to have seen faith
as an aspect of the movie, but some of the
people that we hold close to us as our spiri-
tual advisers said, ‘ The movie in itself is going
to lead people to your book.’ And that’s
exactly what has happened. The book’s been
number one on the New York Times list for
In addition to their book, Kim is working
on his own screenplay. But don’t look at it as
the Carpenters milking a cash cow.
“The real message in all of this is this
world is looking for something different. It’s
obvious by the feedback we’re getting. If we
can just inspire one engaged couple to rethink
priorities or one married couple to make it
through a tough time, that’s really what this
message is about for us.” C