How Many Marriages Has Mary Kay Ruined?

Written by A Mary Kay Husband

I found Pink Truth searching for a support for Mary Kay husbands. Until I found Pink Truth earlier this year, I thought I was alone. Ironically, while I’m happy I found the site, I wish I never had the need to search for it.

As a husband of a former Mary Kay sales director, for the past four years, my home has been turned into a Pink Hell and, while it is not quite over (I still have $12k worth of credit-card debt to pay off due to the Cult of Mary Kay), my spouse is finally out. [That was the stupidity of the deal I made–I would pay off the debt if she got out.]

The devastation, however, that it has wrought upon our 20+ year marriage will likely be forever lasting–if the marriage even survives. I now am married to a woman that I do not trust, a woman who bartered her integrity by lying and stealing in exchange for the promise of the brass ring and a few baubles.

To date, the best estimate I can gather by looking through financial records is that Mary Kay will have cost my family (actually, me, since I unknowingly foot the bill) over $50,000.

I say ‘unknowingly’ because, until recently my spouse handled our family’s money because I travel and–I trusted. That ended when I caught her in some lies and began looking through our statements. I found that my wife had blown through (either in credit card or checking) $30,000 of our personal finances last year and (at least) $10,000 the year before.

Of course, this was after having maxed out her Mary Kay credit card at over $20,000. It was this initial debt that began raising doubts about the Cult of Mary Kay. Yet, I was told that it was an investment and that she was making money…all, of course a lie. Last year, she made $40,000 in commission–but when I examined it, it actually cost $70,000 to make that–the $30,000 was stolen from our family.

I have been spending a lot of time reading on Pink Truth. A passage from an older article on the site really hit home for me:

Lynne resigned from her directorship soon after, but she stayed on as a consultant. She had over $15,000 in credit card debt and a basement full of unsold products inching closer to their expiration dates. It took three more years to fully extract herself, paint over the pink wall, and get rid of the products. In 2011, her husband filed for divorce, citing as one of the reasons their “different attitudes towards money.” “He meant the whole Mary Kay thing,” Lynne said. “We just never got past it.” But it wasn’t for lack of trying. When her husband first began to talk about leaving, Lynne cleared every last Mary Kay product out of the house, selling much of it at a loss and throwing the rest in the trash. “I didn’t want him to see so much as a bottle of lotion and be reminded,” she said. “I didn’t want to be reminded either.”

Since I was never part of Mary Kay, as most husbands are not, yet have been saddled with the debt (as is the case with assets and liabilities in joint property states), how many other husbands out there have paid off their spouses’ credit card debts?

How many marriages has Mary Kay really ruined since it seems to be nothing more than an organization that preys on women? And, more importantly, how many children are now growing up in single-parent households because of this Pink Cult?

19 Comments

  1. JanRD

    I may not be in agreement with everything Dave Ramsey says, but he has made references to “financial infidelity.” While the impact is different from that of an extramarital affair, there is still an overwhelming sense of betrayal when one discovers a spouse has concealed debt, secretly opened credit card accounts, and makes false claims about income. There just seems to be too much of this going on with MLMs in general and MK in particular. I sympathize with the family members of those in the pink fog who have allowed themselves to be convinced that it is acceptable to run a “business” that is shrouded in secrecy where money is concerned. Unfortunately (from what I read on this site), not only husbands, but children are impacted from this financial abuse.

    Thanks, Tracy and all those at PT, for sharing these stories and giving people a reality check!

  2. Formykids

    My MKbot wife and I are soon to be divorced mostly due to MK and the great irony is that she is divorcing me, who has carried the load financially, and paid off much of her MK debt, because I am ” blocking Gods plan for her”.

      1. Alot of what goes on in MK appears to mesh with identifiable behaviors of cults, people with codependency, other psychological issues and those lacking in sound basics of financial education; truly a mix of characteristics with an open door of vulnerability!
        For what it’s worth, here are some links addressing these areas:

        https://www.culteducation.com/warningsigns.html

        https://psychcentral.com/lib/symptoms-of-codependency/

        http://www.feedthepig.org

        https://www.feedthepig.org/master-credit-debt/financial-protection/fraud#.Wh8Od9GIaf3

        As far as marriages/romantic partnerships go and even for those who are single or about to be for whatever reason, it’s always good to know what can be done to save or assure sound relationships vs. mostly dysfunctional ones now and in the future. How to do so when it seems things have not been ‘working out’ can take time for some, but the results are worth the effort even if some situations demand the pain of temporary or permanent separation!
        An older divorced friend who lost his ranch and all of his heavy farm and construction equipment in the process gave me the book ‘Are You the One For Me’ by Dr. Barbara De Angelis. This was after we talked about problem relationships and what we were going to do differently because the magnitude of the issues affected us in different but significant ways. At that point I had yet to marry and was sharing details about a previous ex-beau of 3 years who was alot like the guy who wrote ‘Electroboy’ http://www.electroboy.com (sans any crimes but definitely a brilliant high volume producer and workaholic!) when he felt compelled to give advice before spontaneously pulling the book out from his desk and giving it to me: “If you want some of the most relationship savvy info. and truly want to prevent a ‘do over’ of past relationships, you need to know the deeper reasons why you chose your last partner and any others that didn’t work out, find your ‘bad relationship patterns’ and eliminate or at least greatly reduce those patterns for your sanity- this is alot of what psychologists have you do to ‘work’ through relationship issues to become more fully aware of why you make certain relationship decisions. I went to counseling for a short time and finding it expensive and running into thousands of dollars my psychologist recommended this book advising me to pace myself and ‘do the work’ in the form of the self assessment exercises and quizzes.” He added that for the last 3 years he’d been returning to the book off and on and felt ‘ready’ to ‘move on’ and hoped this would help because this was his 2nd divorce and he felt that it was something I needed based on what happened in my situation.
        I used that book heavily for the first year and a half of receiving it returning to it over another 3, did all the ‘work’ as recommended and feel that I was able to ‘break’ many of my ‘bad relationship patterns’ and am happily married.
        In closing, I now feel I am better able to recognize ‘dysfunctional behavior’ not only in personal life, but business too because after all, business is founded on relationships, right?

    1. BestDecision

      My husband was called “a pessimist” by my senior all because he talked about business profit. It is true what Tracy says in that we were taught over and over to avoid thinking outside of “great”, “awesome”, and “on target”. Even we as Directors were ostracized for voicing real problems and struggles.

      Never feel bad for how you’re feeling. Instinct is a powerful thing, but, sadly, it’s often weaker than the pressure to conform to all things MK.

      1. Adrianna

        What? Businesses are supposed to make a profit? Who knew? That should be a wakeup call to anyone over the age of 18 that you’re involved in a scam. Everyone knows that businesses exist to make money and where money is not being made, it aint a business.

        Real businesses also look at sales, admit faults, study the competition, and other seemingly negative things that help products and services stay ahead. There is no growth if you’re complacent.

        1. reader

          Wait, what do you mean by “a business”?

          Outside the multi-level marketing world I’ve heard of lots of businesses that go bankrupt, defraud people, and/or etc. They were still *businesses* even though they weren’t *good* businesses.

  3. onelessSD

    I’m grateful that I was able to avoid this issue with my husband. I was in deep… for years. My husband on occasion over the years would make a joke about “this seems so cultish, etc”… and it wasn’t until I was leaving directorship that I clued into that. At that point- I had accumulated over $22K in cc debt.. and we had refinanced our house a couple times throughout the years.. and had rolled whatever MK debt at the time into those re-fi’s. I’m ashamed of all of this, and looking back- my husband put up with a lot… but we are both grateful that I’m out- and we are now so much better financially than we’ve ever been.

    Yes Tracy- that is true… I was told by the higher ups in MK that if my husband questioned.. he was unsupportive. I knew better than to believe the higher ups… but it is sad and destructive to any marriage to have that doubt created by someone outside of the marriage.

    I’m grateful to God for delivering me out of the Pink Hell.

    1. JanRD

      “I was told by the higher ups in MK that if my husband questioned.. he was unsupportive.”

      Wonder how many of those higher ups were in stable, loving marriages with that mindset. It totally contradicts the God first, family second, and career third philosophy that MK supposedly promotes.

  4. I 100% agree with you all and want to thank the PINK Truth for creating a website for knowledge for people whether in mk, thinking about joining mk, or was a victim to this pyramid scheme.

    I was a former DIQ in MK & was in MK for a total of 8 years… I was completely misled by my crazy sales director leader, was brain washed into thinking i would make all this money if i only “did this” or did “that”. I can honestly say, i worked mk full-time very hard and when i broke down the math, i was making less then minimum wage, once you take out marketing & business costs etc it just isn’t worth it. I was told, once you become a director you’ll make the BIG BUCKS! I am glad i woke up , got out of the pink fog and decided to terminate my business. I cried all the time..was so unhappy but was delusional about my good progress in mk because of the stupid awards i would receive both at meetings & events. The only positive thing i’ll say is i did get some cool jewelry and handbags from mk… but honestly, i can go out and buy these items! lol

    I had found out about pink truth website a few years ago, but wasn’t ready to give mk up because i was convinced at the time, that i’m almost there to making the big bucks!

    My snapping point was when i was earning my car & in 3rd month of car production and DIQ and my production the following month was barely at 1,000 (due to the big orders i got from my team & new consultants coming through the month before at 8,000 ) and i needed to be at 5,000 which is the minimum and my director told me “make it happen” and i told her i didnt have any new team members coming through and i didnt feel right hitting up my existing team preying on them to place orders just to help me with production (especially since they already placed large orders the month before to help me) and my director said i needed to call my family, friends, relatives and have people order tons of mk off me to meet my goal so i can finish car production and directorship, if not i’ll lose qualification. You see, if i didnt make the 5,000 minimum that month i would get kicked out of car production & DIQ, then have to start all over again re qualifying for both car & DIQ. So that 8,000 would be lost and i’m back to square one re building again. Are you kidding me??!!! What a joke of a company. I am so ashamed to have been a part of this cult. While the products arnt horrible, i do think that mary kay seriously needs an intervention with this business plan. It preys on women and guilt trips them to placing orders etc.

    Seriously, i had anxiety 8 years of being in mk& functional depression.. there would be times i would cry all the time… wishing to be back to my normal life before mk. But i was scared of looking like a failure. Afterall… i was told fake it till u make it. I had to lie to my team members about how much money i was making & earining in sales & comissions… yes this took a toll on me …. but i FINALLY WOKE UP and got enough courage to quit this business.

    UPDATE: i still have great relationships with my former team members i recruited and they are still my friends.. they obviously quit mk too!:) I rekindled my relationship with my family & friends whom i disconnected with because i was working 60+ hrs /wk slaving for mk and on the hamster wheel. And the minute i quit mk , it was like a HUGE weight was lifted off of me. I am HAPPIER than i ever have been! I just got married to the love of my life and i now work in the finance industry making money and happier than ever!!!

    Take it from me as a former DIQ & consultant…. stay away from this business. If you like the products, thats fine order on ebay or amazon or you can always buy from a trusted consultant but mark my words.. dont get into “building the business” you will want your former life back!!!

    1. ThinkPinkThinkAgain

      Man, this is so sad. I have a friend who has been in and out of DIQ for two–maybe three?–years. We both drank the cool-aid…a LOT of it. Three times I was in the top 10 in sales in my National Area despite having very, very little profit after all of my expenses. Seven months ago I decided to stop holding appointments because I was tired. I’ve been a consultant for five years and only in the past few months have I stopped pulling the wool over my own eyes. A weight has lifted off of my shoulders…I used to feel so guilty on Saturday mornings when I wasn’t holding appointments or making phone calls. Now I enjoy relaxing in PJ’s, watching TV and taking a mental break from the workweek. Perhaps most importantly, now that I’ve let go of the dream of becoming a director, I’m finally thinking about my next career move. For the past three years, it’s been very hard to think about other career options because every week I was surrounded by people singing about the joys of directorship. Thinking about my career used to mean feeling guilty that I hadn’t buckled down enough to become a director. Now I am like, “Thank you, Lord, that I never did!”

      1. BestDecision

        You missed the stress train of directorship! It’s 7 days a week, no matter what they try to convince you. Weekends aren’t free, evenings aren’t free, and then there’s “people time” during the weekdays. Just a random search of the Consultant Locator will show you the hours Directoes post as to their availability to customers. When I’m off now, I’m off. I don’t watch for sharp women everywhere I go, nor do I wonder who’s keeping their word while I’m on vacation. Stress reduction happened the moment I resigned!

  5. Lazy Gardens

    she made $40,000 in commission–but when I examined it, it actually cost $70,000 to make that–the $30,000 was stolen from our family

    Those are the “business expenses” they think are great because they are deductible.

  6. enorth

    “my director told me ‘make it happen’ ”

    It’s tragic to see adult women groveling, begging and sniffling on social media.

    “I only need three more qualified team members and I’ll get a big promotion!”… “I am sooo close to my goal.”…”My elderly mama wants nothing more than to see me cross the stage at seminar before God takes her home”… “My sister is in the hospital, let’s do this for her.”…”My husband works hard and really deserves to go on this Top Director trip. I want it for him, not for myself.” …”I’m on target for my free MK car! I need your support! This has always been my dream”…”Little Baby Boo-Boo is due next month and I want to bring her home in a pink Cadillac! Please make my dream come true!”

    Yet, these are the same women who claim they are wildly successful because of MK…”I Love my MK life!”…”I’ve been driving free for six years”…”Because of Mary Kay, I have financial freedom”….”I’m living the dream! BossBabe LadyBoss.”

    So, which is it?

    1. MK-Widower

      Wow! What an amazing article. While my heart goes out to the other husbands it is good to know I’m not alone. My marriage of 15 years (relationship of 24 years) is now ending. While I can’t blame 100% of it on what I call “The Pink Mafia” I noticed a definite change in my former wife when her “business” began to develop. I became unsupportive because I had a business trip and she couldn’t go to her weekly sales meeting.

      I knew something was amiss when her and all her “sisters” worked frantically over one week to ensure their director won a trip to Italy. The end result was my former wife bought most of her share. Then they all celebrated their “win”.

  7. enorth

    “to ensure their director won a trip to Italy”

    Isn’t that ridiculous?! I recently saw a video on Facebook where the young director was pleading for orders so she could “earn” her first MK car. She said she “wept tears of joy” because “her girls came through” for her.

    Yes, she did get a white, nondescript MK car. Of course, it’s not really hers to keep. She didn’t win it. She just gets to drive it as long as she continues to meet her ordering quotas. Then, she gets to start begging again. And again.

    It’s not only unprofessional, it’s embarrassing and degrading.

  8. Meen

    I realize I’m a few months late. I was in NSD Tammy’s area several years ago. I know that she and at least a few other directors got divorces largely because of mk. I asked a director once and was told that, “It’s okay. They grew apart because he wasn’t supporting her dream.” They put their “mk girlfriends” and pink crap above their relationships. I knew 2 directors who did get out to save their marriages though.

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