Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” is breaking box-office records and garnering critical acclaim with six Oscar nominations, but many are questioning the accuracy of the film, based on former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s best-selling memoir of the same title.
While some argue Kyle — who was shot and killed in 2013 by a Marine veteran suffering from PTSD — may have embellished battle scenes, his widow says their relationship was just as special and loving in real life as it appeared on-screen.
Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller played Chris and Taya Kyle in “American Sniper”:
The real Chris and Taya Kyle:
Taya Kyle toldPeople magazineearlier this month:”I was madly in love with him and still am.”
Taya, now 40, adds: “I miss him so much. I loved being in his arms. I loved holding his hand. But what I miss most about Chris is the feeling when he was in the room. He just changed the feeling whenever he walked in. I missed him even when he was just gone from the room.”
But as seen in the film, the couple’s relationship went through a few rough patches as Chris spent long stretches away from his wife and two young children while serving four tours in Iraq.
In 2009, to save his marriage, Chris quit the military to make his wife and children his priority.
“My relationship with him, from the beginning, was just very real. Very real, deep, passionate love. We went through some really hard times, but we found our way back to each other every time,” a choked up Taya told Fox News in December.
“I’ll never have anything like that again, and I’m OK with that because it was special and it deserves to be set in a different category.”
Taya also clarified the truth behind a few key scenes between her and Kyle in the film (WARNING: SPOILERS):
1. In the movie, Taya and Kyle meet in a bar. The two take shots, and Taya becomes so drunk that she ends up getting sick. Kyle holds her hair back as she vomits.
Taya tells Fox News the story is unfortunately pretty close to the truth: “Yes, although I will say it wasn’t shots; I think I was drinking scotch on the rocks. And then yes I did vomit, and then yes he did hold my hair back.”
2. In the movie, the Kyles’ wedding was interrupted by news that the US would go to war following 9/11.
In reality, the couple decided to get married because Chris was about to be deployed and had only a few days of leave amid military training.
3. In one scene, Taya calls Chris, who is in Iraq, to tell him the sex of their unborn child. When a firefight breaks out, Chris drops his phone to shoot and Taya is left on the line to hear the entire ordeal, not knowing whether her husband is dead or alive.
According to Slate: “Kyle once dropped his phone during a firefight and she was forced to hear the whole thing — but not when she was revealing the sex of her baby, as in the film.”
4. In the movie, Chris eventually decides to quit the military essentially because he is depressed after seeing so much death.
According to his memoir, Chris told Taya he would not re-enlist because their marriage was nearing divorce.
5. At the end of the movie, Taya pulls Chris aside on the morning before his unexpected death (Chris was shot by a war veteran he was trying to help) and has a long chat with him about how grateful she is that he returned home and what an amazing father he has become.
According to Slate: “This is not in Kyle’s memoir, for obvious reasons, but screenwriter Jason Hall writes in an addendum to the new edition of the book that Taya told him she had this conversation with Kyle a month before his death.”
When Chris was killed, he had been in the process of adapting his best selling memoir into the film that it became. At the time, Bradley Cooper was attached to produce and star as Chris, who wished to have Eastwood direct the movie.
When Eastwood eventually signed on after Chris’ death, Taya tells People magazine the 84-year-old director “was a little choked up. He said, ‘I just want you to know that your story has my heart.'”
“I feel like they all have this huge heart for Chris,” Taya added. “I really feel like they truly love him and understand him.”
When Taya first met actress Sienna Miller — who would be playing her in the film — she says after just a few sentences, “I was like, ‘This is good.’ We just connected. It’s been a tremendous blessing.”
“They spent a lot of time absorbing the details and getting them right in the movie,” Taya told Fox News. “Chris would be far too humble to say any of his good qualities, he was very self deprecating in his humour, and for me to have the ability to tell them what I loved was a beautiful thing.”
Through tears, Taya told Fox that she still feels her husband’s presence every day:
I do in a lot of ways feel like I still have that relationship, and it still grows because of what I learn and what I experience, and how I can more deeply appreciate what he was going through and I wish that had know more at the time, as people often do. But I also know that he knows the best I could and he was doing the best he could.
We started our lives and we went through war, child birth, happiness, joking through the hard times, and he really changed me into somebody much, much better, and I’m so grateful to him. I carry him with me, I feel him with me all the time and that’s a pretty special thing.”
Watch Taya’s full interview on Fox News below:
“American Sniper” is nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture, adapted screenplay, and best actor for Cooper.
Taya, meanwhile, has founded the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation to help enrich the relationships of military and first responders’ families.
Even though Chris was killed almost two years, Taya told People, “He had so much energy in life. There are some people who probably go to heaven and chill and just check in once in a while, but Chris is probably like, ‘I’m watching my people!'”
“I will miss him every single day of my life.”
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