In a surprising turn of events, the woman who once used her wealth to help her son, “affluenza teen” Ethan Couch, escape a lengthy prison sentence, is now working in a Fort Worth-area bar.
FOX 4 reports that Couch, 49, who’s currently awaiting trial for reportedly helping her son flee to Mexico and violate his probation, is working at the Honkey Tonk Woman, a saloon in Azle, just northwest of Fort Worth. The saloon’s owner, Darrell Collins, who along with Couch’s lawyer confirmed that she worked there, said he was aware of what she did, and although he doesn’t agree with it, he felt bad for her because she was having difficulty finding a job.
According to a statement provided by Couch’s attorney, Stephanie Patten,
“Unfortunately, we are very limited in what we can say about Tonya outside of the courtroom. We will say this: Tonya is one of the few people in America where her lawful employment is news. Tonya has no assets and no other source of income outside of any job that she is able to get. She has sought and obtained other lawful employment, but because of the notoriety and intense media scrutiny surrounding her, she lost that employment.”
“She is not in a position to be choosy about what type of lawful employment she will take. She is grateful that she has been able to find lawful employment and has not been forced to seek any government assistance.”
FOX Q13 reports that in June, a Tarrant County judge eased up on Couch’s restrictive 24-hour house arrest, which allowed her to leave home to seek employment and to confer with her lawyer to help prepare her defense.
Along with facing a felony charge for hindering the apprehension of her son, Ethan Couch, she’s is also facing one third-degree felony count of money laundering. Ethan Couch made headlines in 2012 when he killed four people and injured numerous others during a drinking and driving episode in Tarrant County.
Ethan was eventually given a 10-year probation sentence and ordered to rehabilitation after a psychologist testified that he suffers from “affluenza,” a term meaning someone who grew up privileged and didn’t learn to follow rules like the majority of people.
Tonya Couch’s new life is a far cry from the life she once led. Prior to her arrest, she had lived in a 3,964-square-foot home in Burleson that sat on around six acres of land with mature oak trees.
The home was decked out with swimming pool, sauna, playground, fire pit, a 6,250 square-foot outdoor shop, and a customized mother-in-law apartment. According to Zillow, the home sold in August 2015, just months before Tonya fled to Mexico with her son after a video leaked of him reportedly playing beer pong a direct violation of his probation.
Although she lived a lavish lifestyle, Tonya Couch was apparently far from happy. Court depositions documents indicate that Fred Couch claimed his former wife was addicted to the pain pill Vicodin, and she regularly gave the prescription medication to Ethan while he was still a minor. She also had a reckless driving charge in 2003, which resulted in her nurse’s license being revoked in 2012 after she failed to disclose the information.
Courts records also indicate that Tonya allegedly threatened to kill herself on more than one occasion, and often referred to Ethan as her “protector.” Fred Couch was accused of physically and mentally abusing Tonya, including an incident where he reportedly threw her into the family fireplace and threatened to burn their house down. She indicated Fred often grabbed her by the hair and called her names, which resulted in a 2006 divorce. The couple briefly got together again during their son’s legal problems, but they later separated.
After the 2006 divorce, both parents admitted that they spoiled Ethan. He was given a four-wheeler and motorcycle, and he was often left unsupervised at the Burleson home, where he threw wild parties and drank excessively.
While Tonya Couch awaits her upcoming trial, Ethan Couch remains in a Tarrant County jail, serving two years for violating his probation.
[Photo by LM Otero/ AP Images]