In a backstory not uncommon to many women who find themselves suddenly single in the later years of their lives, Cynthia Shackelford sacrificed a career to raise her children, allowing financial support to fall to her lawyer husband, Allan.
Not too long ago, Shackelford discovered that her husband was having an affair with a university dean of students, Anne Lundquist. Shackelford described the situation:
“She set her sights on him. … She knew he was married,” Shackelford said of Lundquist. “You don’t go after married men and break up families.”
A jury recently agreed with Shackleford’s ire, awarding the spurned wife $4 million in punitive and $5 million in compensatory damages, for a total settlement of $9 million under “alienation of affection” laws. Shackleford currently works a retail job to make ends meet after she says he husband abandoned her financially following the divorce. But she may not see any relief from Lundquist, who says she doesn’t have “a lot of money.”
“I’m so caught off guard by everything,” she said. “I don’t have a lot of money, so where this $9 million comes from is kind of hysterical.”
Shackleford says the case “was worth it to do just to send a message” to those who might consider extramarital affairs.