Chris Kyle's Widow Speaks

Taya On Grief, Chris Kyle’s Legacy

Taya Kyle appeared on Fox News just a couple days before a Hollywood blockbuster film
depicting her husband’s remarkable story and tragic death was released nationwide last month. All it took for the widow of Chris Kyle to break into tears was watching a trailer of director Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, with two-time Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper playing Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL considered the most accurate and lethal sniper in U.S. military history.

“I don’t usually cry with it. Grief is a weird thing; sometimes it hits you hard,” Kyle said during the interview with Kelly File guest host Martha MacCallum. “The interesting thing is it’s really natural for me to see the movie and in moments like that where I’d just watched it and saw Bradley earlier today. He’s such a phenomenal person and so warm and caring. I’m grateful, and I miss my husband.”

The film shows Cooper’s Kyle exchanging cell phone conversations with his wife (played by Sienna Miller) as he was in combat “Chris was really good about telling more and more about his service and what he did. I started getting an understanding from other people as well,” said Taya. “So it didn’t feel unnatural to see it there. They did such a good job of making is so authentic. I got to relive some of it, which is beautiful and wonderful and painful, all at once.”

Honorably discharged in 2009 after four tours of duty in Iraq, Kyle was shot and killed in February 2013 at a Texas range. Ex-Marine Eddie Ray Routh is scheduled to go on trial this month for allegedly murdering Kyle and a friend.

WE SPOKE WITH TAYA about Chris in a previous WSJ issue. Here are outtakes:
On gun safety: “Even when it comes to rubber-training guns, Chris was adamant you carry them the same way as a regular gun, point them down and never have your finger on the trigger.” On trust and death: “Chris was so trustworthy, he was very trusting. He had no reason to believe that he wasn’t getting the full story. There are a lot of hypotheticals. There are many ways
to kill people, and if you’re watchful, you’ll figure it out. I’m not sure what (alleged shooter Routh’s) motivation was. I can’t explain it.”

On post-traumatic stress disorder: “Guys with PTSD do not need to have a scarlet letter. PTSD doesn’t make you a murderer, or change your character. Just because someone served in the military doesn’t mean they don’t have a past before that.” On being married to a sniper: “He
had back-to-back deployments the entire time I knew him. That was a conflict during our marriage.

Who was supporting me in our day-to-day life? I said I was going to leave California for Oregon, and he could come see us there. Chris saw that as an ultimatum; he didn’t think we’d make it if I moved, so he left the service.” On the Chris Kyle Foundation: “Chris was working on a brand, chriskylefrog.com (when he died). Frogs were symbolic of the fallen Navy SEAL. Chris had a frog tattoo. Supporting the frog brand is the best way to help.” WSJ

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