Duane Lee “Dog” Chapman and his wife, Beth Chapman, rose to celebrity in 2004 when their escapades chasing fugitives and bail jumpers were documented on the A&E reality series Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Duane Chapman was a television standout with his long blond hair, signature wraparound shades, and iconoclastic look. The show became such a huge hit that it furthered the network’s mission to shift brands from their “Arts & Entertainment” origins to more populist programming.
When Dog the Bounty Hunter was eventually canceled after 240 episodes, the Chapman family said, “This has been a terrific ride for eight seasons. We would not be where we are today if it hadn’t been for our passionate and dedicated viewers… You can’t contain a good Dog.”
Duane Chapman has demonstrated that final point throughout his tragic life by consistently conquering severe challenges that would bring anyone to their knees. Let’s go into the sad true-life story of the man known as Dog the Bounty Hunter.
The unhappy childhood of Dog the Bounty Hunter
Duane “Dog” Chapman, who grew up in an undoubtedly troubled family, was candid about his tragic childhood in his 2007 book, You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide.
While his upbringing may have appeared ordinary from the outside — growing up in a middle-class Denver, Colorado home with his parents, Barbara and Wesley, and three brothers — the bond bondsman claimed this was not the case.
“As a young boy, I had no idea that other children were not hit by their fathers,” Chapman wrote. According to the then-youngster, domestic abuse was a “rite of passage” that all sons had to go through.
“I simply didn’t know any other way,” he said, confessing that he couldn’t remember “any extended stretch” of his upbringing when he wasn’t being beaten.
“Just thinking of the torture I faced can make me cry,” Dog the Bounty Hunter star continued. “I was supposed to handle it like a man. Yet, I was not a man. I was a young lad seeking my father’s affection and approval. I was desperate for his attention, so I ignored the discomfort.”
Chapman stated that he determined to end the pattern of abuse, adding, “Until very recently, I never understood that none of his cruelty was my responsibility… Despite this, I swore I would never beat my children.”
Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman was sentenced to prison for murder.
It’s reasonable to say that Duane “Dog” Chapman’s adult life did not begin the best way. According to the Toronto Star, Chapman, then 23, got into a lot of trouble in 1976.
While residing in Texas, the future Dog the Bounty Hunter star was stranded in a car with others while a friend purchased marijuana from a dealer. Sadly, the drug sale went terrible, and an argument between the two resulted in Chapman’s companion fatally shooting the dealer.
“If you were present in Texas in the 1970s, you were just as responsible,” Chapman said in 2012. “Everyone involved was charged with murder, and they were all found guilty.”
“I shouldn’t have gone,” the reality star said after being released on parole after serving 18 months of a five-year term. “And I shouldn’t have been who I was then.”
Although he had to learn his lesson the hard way, Chapman’s conviction continued to impact his life decades later when he was cast on the U.K.’s version of Celebrity Big Brother and denied his visa request, preventing him from traveling abroad to Britain.
A criminal record, Chapman told the Toronto Star, is “something that follows you the rest of your life, no matter who you become or who you are. I’m not proud of myself.”
A terrible death revealed Dog the Bounty Hunter’s unknowing son.
Duane “Dog” Chapman’s personal life has been complex. The Dog the Bounty Hunter alum has 12 children and has been married five times, according to Entertainment Tonight.
“Christopher’s mom [ex-girlfriend Debbie White] committed suicide in the ’70s while I was in a Texas prison doing 18 months,” Chapman subsequently told the National Enquirer. I had no idea I had a son till I got out.”
While the two began dating after Hecht reached adulthood, Chapman’s son has had a terrible existence, dealing with alcoholism, legal problems, and many arrests for accusations ranging from gay bashing and ethnic intimidation to third-degree assault.
Hecht went missing in 2007 after serving a 90-day sentence for “traffic offenses,” according to his adoptive mother. She informed the National Enquirer that she and her family were “worried sick” about his disappearance.
Hecht finally returned, but he continued to get into problems. Chapman confessed to the publication in 2014 that he and his family had staged an intervention that Hecht had decided to go to treatment. “I’m relieved he’s in therapy now,” Chapman added. “Thank goodness someone is there to assist him. Every day, I pray for him.”
Two children were tragically lost by Dog the Bounty Hunter.
While incarcerated in the late 1970s, the Dog the Bounty Hunter star and his first wife divorced. According to Entertainment Tonight, Duane Chapman married wife No. 2 Anne M. Tengell shortly after his release, with whom he has three children.
Zebediah, a baby boy, was born prematurely on January 1, 1980, and died 30 days later. Understandably, Chapman and Tengell’s marriage did not survive this devastating loss, and the pair separated.
Yet, Duane Chapman would marry and divorce twice more before meeting the woman who would become his life’s love, Beth Chapman. The two tied the knot in Hawaii in May 2006; however, their big day was marred by another tragic loss.
According to Hawaii News Now, Duane received sad news the night before the wedding: his 23-year-old daughter, Barbara Katie Chapman, had been murdered in a car accident near her home in Fairbanks, Alaska.
According to Chapman’s publicist, the Dog the Bounty Hunter star met with a minister to determine the best action. It was agreed that the wedding would occur as planned, without mentioning his daughter’s death until after the ceremony.
According to Chapman’s publicist, the intention was to announce the terrible news during the event, which would also serve as a celebration of Barbara’s life.
Hearing of his grandson’s maltreatment was “torture.”
Duane “Dog” Chapman was granted temporary custody of his nine-year-old grandson, Travis Mimms Jr., in 2011. According to Radar Online, a judge reached the judgment after hearing a frightening and very upsetting audio tape of the boy’s father – spouse of Chapman’s late daughter, Barbara Katie Chapman — reportedly hitting the couple’s son.
According to the Dog, the Bounty Hunter star, his purpose in obtaining custody was not to take the young boy away from his father but to remove the minor from a dangerous circumstance.
“I want him [Travis Senior] to take parenting lessons,” Chapman stated while acknowledging that listening to the audio in issue was “torture” and underlining the importance of doing what was best for the child. “My father also beat me,” he claimed. “But, we must break the loop.”
Chapman later told the tabloid that he was “shocked and horrified” over the child abuse and that his actions echoed his late daughter’s last words.
“I adore my grandson and only want the best for him,” he explained. “On my most recent phone call with my daughter, Barbara Katie, she told me, ‘Please, daddy, take care of Travis Jr. ‘Never let anything bad happen to him.’”