What made Chris Watts STOP loving his kids?

He seemed more of loving father than a loving husband. So what changed? Why did the children have to die?

On September 10th I analyzed the day Shan’ann told Chris Watts she was pregnant for the third time. This was a significant date in the Watts timeline, and if it plays directly or indirectly into motive, it’s vital that we know when the motive began to manifest.

A number of followers of this blog were critical of the idea that Shan’ann knew exactly when she fell pregnant, and were perhaps doubtful that she knew she was pregnant close to or immediately after conception.

It’s important to emphasize in this respect that Shan’ann’s her own person. Shan’ann’s Shan’ann and you’re you. Her pregnancy, her attitude to life, her personality etc is unique to her. In order to fathom the authentic interiority here, one has to look inside the developments not through our eyes but through her eyes. That’s not easy because it requires us to spend some time actually figuring out who she is.

That’s really the business of true crime over all, isn’t it? To figure out who people really are, and through that, to figure out ourselves and the agendas of those around us.

That’s also what True Crime Rocket Science is all about. #tcrs specializes in this most difficult area of all, human nature, and the unique natures of various identities in various cases.

When Shan’ann’s friend Nickole Utoft Atkinson described her as OCD, we get it. We know what OCD means, and we think that explains what sort of person Shan’ann was. But does it?

What does it means to be OCD about one’s pregnancy?

Shan’ann found out she was pregnant with Bella, her firstborn, on April 16th 2003. Bella was born on December 17th, 2013. The span of time between those dates is 246 days, or eight months and two days.

Another important aspect Shan’ann had to deal with in terms of her pregnancy was lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own organs. Lupus is an important factor antagonizing against pregnancy: it can lead to miscarriage and premature delivery in the mother, and heart problems in the fetus.

So pregnancy was a far bigger deal with Shan’ann than it would be for most first-time mothers. It wasn’t just about the anxiety of getting pregnant, but the ongoing tension of managing the monitoring the pregnancy in terms of her own health and the health of the baby. The OCD in terms of controlling the pregnancy was also evident everywhere else in Shan’ann’s life. This need to control while rooted at the surface in health concerns was really about controlling the fear of death.

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It’s not clear whether Bella was born prematurely, but what is clear is that Shan’ann knew very, very early on in her first pregnancy when she fell pregnant. At most she became aware of it less than 4 weeks after the fact. If Bella was born prematurely, which is likely where the mother is a lupus sufferer, then Shan’ann may have been aware even sooner, within days.

It’s likely Shan’ann’s OCD/vigilance would have been even greater during her second pregnancy, and greater still during the third pregnancy.

The idea that Shan’ann was very aware of the timing of the pregnancy is enhanced by the blogs she kept in 2013. Not only does it show her meticulous record keeping, it also shows Chris Watts as an attentive and caring father. In 2013 he appeared to be just as caught up in the fairy tale they were embarking on as Shan’ann was.

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The blog involves careful documenting of each moment and milestone. This also sets the tone for Shan’ann controlling effectively her husband’s role in her narrative. She’s the active voice, he’s simply a bit player in her spiel.

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Chris Watts also makes his contributions to the blog, probably at Shan’ann’s prompting. Because it’s his first child, he’s happy to be part of her dairy. But how might these feel and play out for a parent a second time, and then a third?

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So what made Chris Watts STOP loving his kids?

There are perhaps two broad answers to this question. Firstly, in any family, the more people added to it, the more love is lost or redistributed simply as a matter of logistics. Each new person on the scene requires resources: attention, love, time and money. Each new person on the scene means fewer resources for everyone else: attention, love, time and money.

If any of these resources [especially love and money] are becoming thin to begin with, then an additional child could cause the credit in these accounts to run out completely.

Secondly, if the third child wasn’t part of his plan, if it was her plan – her scheme – then we can see how the fairy tale could begin to darken, and then unravel.

If Shan’ann was a particularly OCD and controlling sort of person, then Chris Watts may have felt that not only was the third child not his idea, but everything was starting to feel overwhelming. Shan’ann’s control over his life had become total, and thus oppressive and off-putting.

When everything was starting to feel foisted upon him, and he was merely a sperm donor, a pawn and a prop in Shan’ann’s fairy tale, where’s the fun in that? When he felt like he was drowning in her fairy tale, maybe that’s when his fairy tale ended. Maybe his love for his children changed not because of them, but because of her.


9 thoughts on “What made Chris Watts STOP loving his kids?

  1. Why did Chris disengage from his children such that he could kill them. He seemed to share a special bond with Bella, and said she was more like him. There were many videos where Bella was on his shoulders, or he was playing quietly with Bella or Bella was lying down head on his lap. Maybe his wife sucked all of the spontaneity out of him so that his interactions with his children were not allowed to be his. Her obsession with repeating scenes for the camera – how could he play with his children in any kind of real way – everything had to be choreographed just so for Thrive. Chris, Bella and CeCe and their lives were turned into Thrive opportunities to sell a product. I could see how he could have been starting to relate to his whole family as cardboard, arranged in a doll house.


    • He had disengaged from his victims months ago. His wife and the kids were a problem that he had to solve. If he divorced his wife, it was goodbye to the girls too. That scenario was absolutely clear to him.

      If he loses the wife, he loses the girls. If one goes, all three would go.

      When he acted, he knew how far he had to go.


  2. I think you picked up on a very important reason why Chris fell out of love with his children—he had become a prop and by way of that an objectified play figure (Ken to Shan’ann’s Barbie). However, I think Shan’ann’s insistence on developing and staging a story for the entire family caused them all to be manipulated play things in Shan’ann’s story book house. Their very existence was defined by Shan’ann, which, I would imagine, did not include a space in the cardboard house for being human—not that they didn’t try. An example of asserting their humanity is when Cece cries in rage off-camera after Shan’ann abandons her to record the “happy” Christmas scene unfolding in the living room. If you didn’t fit in to Shan’ann’s narrative, you were banished to the off-camera netherworld of non-existence or, like Bella, labeled a Grinch if you failed to act happy while being recorded. In Chris’s case his less than joyous reaction to Shan’ann’s staged announcement of a third pregnancy stands as the only example I can recall of his displaying any emotion—and it’s restrained to say the least.

    In Shan’ann’s constricted narrative, your very humanity was an inconvenient truth that required an alternative on-camera version . Shan’ann’s manipulation of the family assumed a more toxic tone when she used the children to “whack” or humiliate Chris, as in the “whack-a-daddy” video where Shan’ann laughs and encourages Cece to beat Chris on the head,. Still another example Is when Cece bites Chris and Shan’ann encourages Cece to make fun of his pain. Given all of this, it’s no wonder that Chris didn’t link his resenting and falling out of love with Shan’ann to the children, since she had made them, in many respects, objectified extensions of herself. All of these dynamics do not justify Chris’s likely murdering his entire family, but do document the tragedy of its progressive annihilation—something Shan’ann never intended in her on-camera quest to capture the Watts fsmily’s joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Conversely, Shanann has left in her social media postings a treasure trove of unimpeachable dedication to her two girls. A treasure trove of fidelity and admiration for her husband.

      In Court, the prosecution will harvest a bottomless reservoir of familial faith the victims had for their killer.


  3. So well said Cheryl! I was thinking about the third pregnancy on my drive to work today (God, can’t I ever get away from this :)). Her rather obsessive compulsive behavior (as Nickole said) would have her monitor when she was ovulating so that they could make love in that time period so that she could get pregnant. As he rounds the corner in the video he says that’s what happens when YOU want something. Not when “we” want something. And another thing – when you are in the MLM bubble you are in an unreal world. He might have tried to have an honest conversation with her that they were in serious financial trouble and she likely would have put that down as “negative thinking” or trying to bring her down. She may have started to see her own husband as the enemy, coercing him into situations he didn’t want to be a part of. Using him to get pregnant a third time when he knew they could ill afford it. He may have chalked the third pregnancy up as yet another thing that wasn’t working for him.

    The Christmas video is absolutely the most horrifying display to me of an unhappy family – only she seems oblivious to it. Bella’s the grinch, CeCe is throwing a tantrum, and Chris – well, he isn’t a very good Santa. Did you also notice the dark circles under Bella’s eyes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great comments, Pauline. Excellent that you pointed out the “you” versus the “we” in chris’s remarks regarding the announcement of the third pregnancy. That says it all, doesn’t it. Like you, I think he had reached his limit. And I agree, the Christmas video was like the anti-Christmas celebration version, “How to have a Miserable Christmas.” When the door opens and Chris is standing there sort of lifeless in the Santa suit, it reminded me of scenes from horror movies—kind of like zombie Santa knocking on the door. And then Shanann is immediately all over him about not having the camera. I kept thinking don’t push your luck lady; he’s going to explode. Of course I’m looking at this in retrospect knowing he’s going to murder Shan’ann and the children in less than one year. At any rate, very sad all the way around. And to think that was the children’s last Christmas.

      I did not notice the dark circles under Bella’s eyes. What do you make of that? Not getting enough sleep? Maybe mom and dad fighting and keeping the kids up? Cece was certainly raw, unraveling in the background. Christmas can be stressful, especially financially. And kids pick up on all that negativity.


      • I was wondering if they had had an earlier gift exchange or if the Santa “surprise” was Christmas Eve or Christmas Day evening? Because I didn’t see the tree piled high with gifts so maybe they had already opened them? I’ll check again and see if i see Bella with dark circles under her eyes in other videos. She could have been on some kind of cold medication or maybe she wasn’t sleeping well. I’ve seen those dark circles under the eyes of kids who are taking Ritalin. But I guess if she were, Sha’nann would say so. They do have medicines, that was remarked upon by the police investigator who said all of their medications were there. I originally heard they were the children’s medications.

        But throughout all of this and not just this video, Chris just does what he’s told to do. No more, no less.


  4. I got the sense the Christmas video was pre-Christmas.

    I don’t know how much I read into the “you” vs “we” in the pregnancy announcement video. I often say “you” when referrring to it in the general sense.

    I feel that Chris very much was her puppet and he played along for a long time “happy wife, happy life” until… wait, he’s not happy at all.


  5. No ..most have it wrong here.
    Chris is Evil.in every pic he seems to be just playing a role but yet watching and putting on a fake persona..for the camera.Its planned to distract us all.
    Chris was using Shannan ..thru that marriage .Her wanting to believe the best …but who could hardly grasp any of it? …so she kept herself busy..but his sleeping with both men & women would be too much for her and shocking..but she was leaving him..rightfully so.She was starting to learn who he was and she had to pretend she didnt know because she knew he was a frightening MONSTER…in reality.A Demon.
    Psychopaths do not like to be exposed .That is the LAST thing Chris wanted put out there what HE was doing!!
    For those of us who have experienced that Evil..we all know it was Chris that put that sheet over the Barbie Doll and sent that pic to Shanan..saying the “kids did it.”.
    It’s hard for most to grasp that, because it’s so Evil to imagine Chris preplanned that ..but he did!
    Just as Shanan would be in denial about the red flags ..such as that one…who could imagine your hubby preplanning that? Who? She wasn’t nieve..Shanan was innocent thats all.The Public cant grasp the horror either by sayng”Oh Chris had a break down.,”. oh” money pressure “etc..NO ..he was too busy satisfying himself ..he was and is NOT what he seems…period.
    Shanan was getting that …catching on ..that is dangerous with a Psychopath .Thats why he murdered her & the Children.
    Remember ..he murdered his children then threw them in oil tanks.Thats Evil …past Evil..how could you do the first thing ..murder them..but complete it by putting them in oil? No ..he cares about nothing just his looks ..chats online.. and sex.
    He never loved ANYTHING he wore a mask the entire time..and he was about to get caught.
    Chris felt nothing ..never did..incapable of love..just living this Lie & it was ALL lies.
    Our minds cant grasp the Evil of him but many of us can .
    That’s how a Demon works ..tricks you..puts on an act ..like a slithering snake ..so one cant imagine.A Trickster is what he is.
    Rot in hell Chris.
    Love to Shanan and the children because they were SO SO innocent, but encountered EVIL of the worst kind in their own household.
    RIP Shanan & Children
    The World Loved you all…and still 💖💜💖💙


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