Photo: Photo: Elle Zober
When Elle Zober, 37 discovered the text message that revealed her husband’s affair with a 22-year-old woman in April, she had no idea she’d find herself at the centre of a media storm just four months later.A self-employed photographer and artist, Zober, who finalised her divorce in June, didn’t see the point in paying for pricey realtor signage when she and her ex decided to sell their Beaverton, Ore. home.
She made one herself––with a twist.
“Husband left us for a 22-year-old…House For Sale by scorned, slightly bitter, newly single owner,” the sign read. Readers were directed to a website with the home listing, along with a few more details of her ex’s transgressions.
“I put the sign up at 1 o’clock on Friday on Facebook and I had the local news in my yard by 5,” she told Business Insider Tuesday. “And I’m not really sure how we wound up here or how we wound up doing interviews. I don’t think I’m what people expect.”
They might expect exactly what the sign advertised: A woman bitter and broken enough that she decided to smear her husband in broad daylight.Instead, there is Zober, who said the sign was not only partially paid for by her ex but nothing more than a funny way to get their house off the market and make light of an otherwise “catastrophic” experience.
“The affair wasn’t fun and the end of my (10-year) marriage wasn’t funny. It was catastrophic,” she said. “But (my ex) is a funny guy and I like to think I’m funny, too. We live in Portland. People here make bacon doughnuts. It’s just a different place…we really weren’t expecting the media attention.”
Instead of interested buyers, media have been ringing her phone off the hook with calls starting as early as 3 a.m., Zober said. She’s spent less time discussing bedroom dimensions than she has defending allegations that she put her two children, ages 3 and 7, at risk with all the press.
“That’s a little silly because the kids are already living through it, having to pack up all their toys and leave their house. The sign is irrelevant to that process,” she said. “(My daughter) just turned 3 a month before (the affair) happened and I don’t want to waste her year of 3 curled up in a ball crying about what some guy did to me. I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want my kids to have that mum.”
For all intents and purposes, the divorce has been exceedingly civil. Zober and her ex split the renovations to their home before putting it on the market and he’s helping cover the mortgage and utilities until it’s sold.
“He’s doing more than his part financially that way,” she said.
And though Zober’s not sure whether the media attention will actually help them pull off a sale, she and her children are living with relatives until she’s back on her feet.
“You either wallow or you move forward,” she said. “I don’t really have a lot of time to worry.”