Mark and Suzy Favor Hamilton during interview with Oprah Winfrey in August 2016.
Mark Hamilton and Suzy Favor Hamilton during interview on Oprah Winfrey Network in August 2016. Image via YouTube.com

In 2000, when she ran in her third Olympics, Suzy Favor Hamilton starred in a short-lived Nike commercial. A Jason-like chainsaw killer ran out of breath chasing her into dark woods.

The tagline: “Why Sport? You’ll Live Longer.”

Why Suzy Favor Hamilton?

Stipulated judgment in Hamilton divorce (PDF)

She had blond good looks, a blue-chip athletic resume and gold-medal hopes. But after she purposely fell in the 1500-meter final at the Sydney Games and found herself in the grip of bipolar disease, her life spiraled into hypersexuality and shame.

In 2012, she was outed as a $600-an-hour Las Vegas call girl. But Hamilton found her footing and in 2015 told a searingly honest story in a memoir: “Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness.”

In the following years, the Wisconsin running legend hit the mental health circuit, including a speaking visit to San Diego in May 2017. She destigmatized her illness. She blogged. She shared her life on Twitter, Instagram and OnlyFans.

She and her husband, Mark Hamilton, appeared on “Dr. Phil” and an Oprah Winfrey production. She did podcasts and ABC News (with recovered alcoholic reporter Elizabeth Vargas). She spoke to May Lee of the China Global Television Network. Joined a speakers bureau.

“If we can make it through everything that we did, oh my gosh we can make it through anything,” she told a “Where Are They Now” segment of OWN.

But then the storybook ending added another chapter.

Three days after their 29th wedding anniversary, in pandemic-struck May 2020, Mark and Suzy separated. Days later, Mark sued for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court.

“Irreconcilable differences have arisen between SUZANNE and MARK,” said a stipulated judgment that ended their marriage Jan. 29, 2021.

Then Suzy Favor Hamilton went radio silent.

She shut her website and blog sometime after May 27, 2020. She erased more than 100 postings on Instagram (where she had 48,000 followers). She closed Twitter (“This account doesn’t exist,” it says. “Try searching for another.”)

“This was a big surprise because she seems to enjoy sharing her opinions, travels and activities with fans,” said one who notified Times of San Diego. “She also likes the camera and the camera likes her.”

Suzy Hamilton, 52, didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. Nor did her ghostwriter, Sarah Tomlinson, or her publisher — or several former coaches.

But Mark Hamilton, 53, a longtime real estate professional, said Friday via text: “Suzy is fine, as am I. Our relationship ran its course.”

He couldn’t say what Suzy’s plans were on mental health advocacy, but he made an appeal for privacy, citing “our desire to help our daughter (Kylie, 15) navigate all that a split of her parents entails.”

Mark concluded: “I can’t speak for her, but my impression is that she has simply chosen to become more of a private person and has every right to do so, of course.”

Suzy’s closest athlete friends and running industry associates have gotten the memo. Few responded to requests for comment — if they knew about the split at all.

Darcy Arreola Lange, a former Grossmont High star and four-time NCAA champion in track and cross country, said she keeps in touch with Suzy.

“Last time I saw her a couple months ago, she was happy and settling in to her normal,” Lange said. “I’m friends with Mark also, and I wouldn’t say anything negative about either one. Both are good people and have always been good to me.”

Suzy Hamilton, on the website bphope, credited her husband for navigating the bipolar ordeal.

“I wouldn’t have made it without his support,” she told Scott Pitoniak. “He was the rock who held everything together while my world was spinning out of control. He kept our real estate business going and, most importantly, he held things together for our daughter. He taught Kylie that mommy’s brain was sick and that we needed to work to get it healthy again.”

Mark taught her forgiveness, she said in that March 2019 interview.

“He said he forgave me, but it wouldn’t matter if I didn’t forgive myself,” she said. “And that was so true. I couldn’t truly heal until I forgave myself and realized that it was the untreated illness that was causing my problem, and that it would do no good to beat myself up and continue to feel shame.”

On Feb. 4, 2020 — just weeks after speaking in Bermuda — Suzy posted to OnlyFans: “A couple of you have asked about my husband and what he thinks of all of this.”

She recounted her “open relationship” with Mark and their progressive views on sex amid “an awful lot” of couples therapy.

“I guess you could say our relationship is one where I don’t need his ‘permission’ for something like this site or what I post on it, but we run everything by each other regardless,” Suzy wrote on a forum known for members sending nude photos to subscribers.

According to recent court records, Mark lists a Redondo Beach address and Suzy an apartment in Hermosa Beach — less than four miles apart.

Their apparently amicable divorce includes joint custody of Kylie. “Both parents shall share the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of the minor child,” their divorce decree says.

“Commencing in 2021, each parent shall have the right to take up to two weeks of summer vacation with the minor child each year,” says their deal before Judge Gary Roberts. “Each party shall inform the other in writing of his or her intended vacation dates no later than May 1 each year. In the event that the parties’ requested vacation dates conflict, SUZANNE’s dates shall take priority during all even-numbered years and MARK’s dates shall take priority during all odd-numbered years.”

They both waived paying each other child support.

Suzy got their home at 2850 Searidge Street in Malibu and took the 2020 Porsche Macan, while Mark was given a 2020 Porsche Macan S.

The source who contacted Times of San Diego wrote: “I did see a third-party comment that she recently divorced Mark, which I find hard to believe. Mark is her ‘rock’ and their marriage has survived some real stresses compared to their life today.”

The correspondent said that on May 27, 2020, Suzy announcing she was closing her OnlyFans site for “personal reasons” and asking her fans to follow her on Instagram. “The Instagram site went private in late June or July.”

The tipster said they wished something could be done to give Suzy support.

“I think she had 40,000 to 50,000 people visiting her Instagram site and I think a lot of them still support her and wish her well,” the source said. “It would be interesting to know why their marriage went off the track and it would be nice to see Suzy return to the public eye.”

In a 2,800-word blog post, Suzy Favor Hamilton in February 2018 explored shame and 10 ways to combat it, “own it” and overcome it.

She wrote: “If you see somebody you sense is struggling — perhaps somebody who is acting ‘odd’ — please resist the temptation to judge. Realize there might be something going on that is hidden and you have no idea about.”

She added: “We tend to judge to feel better about our own shortcomings. Remember that. Recognize the fact that by judging, you are only adding to the shame piece and helping prevent someone from possible recovery and moving forward. Instead, perhaps reach out to that person to offer support or just a welcome and openminded ear.”

She concluded: “You can make a difference. You really can. Thanks as always for listening.”

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