What happened to Dr. Phil McGraw wife Debbie Higgins?

Fans barely remember a time when Dr. Phil McGraw was seen with anyone other than Robin McGraw. The pair tied the knot in 1976 and have been together for 44 years. A New-York Times bestselling author, Robin had always stood by the doctor’s side throughout his trials and tribulations. While Dr. Phil’s relationship with Robin is common knowledge amongst his fans, few fans know about the doctor’s relationship with Debbie Higgins. Dr. Phil’s ex-wife, Debbie, and Dr.Phil were married for a total of three years. In this article, we will take a closer look at the wiki-bio of Debbie Higgins.

Early Life:

Debbie Higgins was born in 1950 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Debbie comes from a farming family. Her father owned a farm while her mother Georgia Swartz stayed back home to take care of Debbie and her brother. An athletic kid, Debbie was into sports from a young age and was the cheerleader of her high school team, Shawnee Mission North High School. This was also where she met Phil, who was on the football team. After her time at high school, Debbie enrolled at Southwest Missouri State but headed back home after she was unable to pay the semester fees. She moved back to Roeland Park and enrolled at Johnson County Community College and hairdressing school.

Dr. Phil McGraw wife Debbie Higgins

Professional Career:

While Debbie didn’t have a large stake in the entertainment industry, she did leave her mark. A writer and an editor, Debbie is best known for taking up the mantle of editor on the movie Demon Hunters: Fear the Silence. She was also featured in the movie, Christy Mathewson Day.

Meeting Phil and Marriage:

Debbie and Phil met during their time in high school. Debbie was on the cheerleading team and Phil was on the football team. Debbie who was the homecoming queen was well known around the high school whereas Phil maintained a silent figure. The pair began dating around their junior years and as Phil put it,

″I was the big football player, and she was the cheerleader. This was just the next thing to do.″

However, things were never ideal for the pair. Debbie had an older brother who would walk around highschool beating up guys who asked Debbie out. So, when Phil came around Debbie said yes simply because Phil was taller than her brother. The pair went on their first date and Debbie came back home 5-minutes late, for which she was grounded for the whole month.
The pair tied the knot on the 27th of November, 1970, at Southridge Presbyterian Church in Roeland Park, Kan, but called things off three years later in 1973.

Divorce and coming out:

When Debbie moved in with Dr. Phil, she found him a completely different person. He did not allow her to be involved in business and confined her role to the house. Debbie was also forced to lift weights to maintain her figure, even if she didn’t want to.

For the longest time, Dr. Phil kept his marriage with Debbie a complete secret. He didn’t want anyone snooping around his past, which is why when news of his marriage to Debbie broke on the internet, Debbie was called up by media houses.

″If he had mentioned our marriage from the very beginning. I think the public would not have made an issue of it and find it more endearing that he had some insight being involved in a failed marriage.”

Life After Divorce:

Divorce was not the end of the road as Debbie move past the failed marriage and found a new home. She went onto have a life partner Tony Brasco. Debbie gave birth to two children a daughter Marci and a son Jeff, both are grown up and married. Debbie even lived to become a grandmother of four Ethan, Brycen, Hayden, Trevor. As of Dr. Phil, he tied the knot to Robin McGraw in 1976 and the pair remains to be married to the date.


Debbie passed away at the age of 63 on September 14, 2014 and the cause of her death was never revealed to the media. Her brother Bill Higgins broke the news asking for privacy surrounding matters relating to her death.

Wiki/Bio Facts:

NameDebbie Higgins
Other NameDebbie Higgins McCall
BirthplaceLas Vegas, United States
Death DateSeptember 14, 2014
Age 63
ParentsGeorgia Swartz
SiblingsBill Higgins
EducationShawnee Mission North High School
Husband/PartnerPhil McGraw (m. 1970–1973), Tony Brasco
ChildrenMarci, Jeff
GrandchildrenEthan, Brycen, Hayden, Trevor

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