Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Dr Phil 'Slept in a Cardboard Box' before Fame & His 46-Year Marriage That Began with Love at 1st Sight

Olawale Ogunjimi
Jun 20, 2022
06:30 A.M.
Share this pen

Today, Dr. Phil inspires many young individuals because of his achievements in entertainment and his never-give-up spirit, which helped him overcome challenges. Here is a glimpse into the author's tough moments, including his traumatic childhood.


Dr. Phil McGraw, better known as Dr. Phil, has stamped his place as a renowned American television personality, an author, and the host of the television show "Dr. Phil."

A doctorate holder in clinical psychology, the icon has enjoyed a stellar career in showbiz spanning decades, with a vast fanbase cheering him on.

"Dr. Phil in " HOUSE CALLS WITH DR. PHIL. | Source: Getty Images


Although Dr. Phil has amassed so much fame and fortune, he has not forgotten his years of struggles.

Over the years, the television personality has spoken candidly about the difficulties he experienced before fame found him. One of such challenging times was Dr. Phil's traumatic childhood.

In February 2020, the onscreen icon was a guest on "The Coach Mike Podcast." He opened up about the horrors of growing up in an abusive household.


Dr. Phil made it known that he lived with an alcoholic father, which made staying in a specific location for a long time almost impossible. In Dr. Phil's words (via ET Canada) :

"We moved around a lot. We moved every two or three years because my dad was an alcoholic."

Dr. Phil further revealed that he tried to avoid his father as much as possible. The television personality confessed that he would leave the house and come back through the bedroom window so that he did not have to go through the house.


Overall, it was a terrible and unforgettable experience. According to Dr. Phil, his home life was chaotic, filled with yelling and domestic violence.

However, despite the traumatic experiences, the author still loved his father until the latter died in the 1990s from an inoperable and incurable heart condition. Here are more details about his life and family.



Following his tumultuous childhood, Dr. Phil went through another trying phase in his teenage and young adult years. Due to the irresponsibility of his alcoholic father, the "Dr. Phil" icon dealt with poverty.

During a 2021 episode of "Dr. Phil," the onscreen personality confessed that he was a homeless man on the streets of Kansas City.

With no roof over his head, he would sleep in a cardboard box, but it was only a matter of time before an encounter with Oprah Winfrey would end his struggling years.


The Television icons first met in 1996 when some cattlemen sued Winfrey for defaming the beef industry on one of her shows.

The talk show host had hired Dr. Phil to counsel and assist her during the trial. Thankfully, in 1998, the author helped Winfrey win the case, and she rewarded him in a life-changing way.


Dr. Phil became a regular face on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," advising on relationships and life strategies.

Four years later, Dr. Phil launched his nationally syndicated talk show "Dr. Phil." The series would eventually garner the highest ratings of any new syndicated program since "The Oprah Winfrey Show" launched, and it went on to bag more than 24 Emmy nominations.



Dr. Phil is accomplished not only in his career but also in his love and family life. The showbiz icon has happily married his wife, Robin McGraw, for over 45 years.

Just like her husband, Robin is a renowned author. She is a number one New York Times Best Selling author with many books.

Some of them include "Christmas In My Home and Heart," "What's Age Got To Do With It," "Living Your Healthiest and Happiest Life," "Inside My Heart," and many more.

Dr. Phil aka Phil McGraw and his wife Robin McGraw attends the women's final on day 14 of the French Open 2022 held at Stade Roland Garros on June 4, 2022 in Paris, France. | Source: Getty Images


Robin first met her husband in the 1970s, and it was love at first sight for Dr. Phil. The talk show star was fresh from a failed marriage with Debbie Higgins but was ready to give love another chance.

So, he and Robin went on a date, and years later, the latter would reveal that it was on that date that she knew Dr. Phil was the one.

Not long after their date, the pair started dating, and in August 1976, the lovebirds walked down the aisle.

Dr. Phil's family (L-R), son Jay McGraw, Erica Dahm, wife Robin McGraw, Dr. Phil and son Jordan McGraw arrives at the 43rd annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 18, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images


Unlike Dr. Phil, Robin watched her parents love each other till they were old and wanted the same for her and the TV star. Robin once confessed that she had special demands to achieve such marital bliss. She said.

"We talked about our needs, and I told him that I couldn't be married in a home with conflict. My mother and father never raised their voices, and my father adored my mother, so I had to know that I was loved and adored."

Dr. Phil McGraw poses with his son Jay McGraw at his Star Ceremony On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame held on February 21, 2020 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images


"I told him I don't live in a fairy tale, but I needed to be treated with dignity and respect," Robin added. It is safe to say that Dr. Phil has met all of Robin's special demands, considering the state of their happy long-term marriage.

The duo is not only a happy couple but also doting parents to two children, Jay McGraw, and Jordan McGraw.

Writer Jay McGraw and wife Erica Dahm attend the Face Forward's 10th Annual "La Dolce Vita" Themed Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on September 22, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images


Jay was born in Wichita County, Texas, on September 12, 1979. He is an executive and producer best known for "Daily Mail TV," "Bull," and "The Doctors." Jay is happily married to his wife, Erica Dahm, and they share two children.

Jay's younger brother, Jordan, arrived on October 21, 1986. He is best known for "Entertainment Tonight," "The Changeover," and "That Animal Rescue Show."

Like his brother, Jordan is also happily married. He tied the knot with his wife, Morgan Stewart, on December 9, 2020, and now, the couple is parents to one child.



Jordan McGraw and Morgan Stewart attend the Baby2Baby 10-Year Gala presented by Paul Mitchell on November 13, 2021 in West Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Dr. Phil and Robin live in a lavish Alamo Style mansion in Beverly Hills. The television personality purchased the property in 2011 for a whopping $29.5 million.

The interior of the 15,000-square-foot mansion features five bedrooms, two half bathrooms, and nine full bedrooms.

It also boasts an office, multiple living areas, and a kitchen. The exterior is elegant, featuring a tennis court, a pool, and a beautiful landscape.