In October 1969, Elizabeth Kloepfer walked into a bar in Seattle and met the notorious serial killer Ted Bundy. Of course, at that time, he was not known as a mass-murderer, and instead, seduced Kloepfer with his good old-fashioned charm. At the time, Kloepfer was a 24-year-old divorcée, single mother, and University of Washington Medical School secretary. According to Biography, Kloepfer has described her younger self as “shy, insecure, and lonely,” while also emphasizing her struggle with alcoholism. Still, she was the one who initially approached Bundy at the bar, and the pair became a couple shortly thereafter.
What followed was a tumultuous relationship that lasted for six years and began to fall apart when Kloepfer started to suspect Bundy was the serial killer she kept hearing about on the news. He even later confessed he had tried to kill her one night through asphyxiation by closing the fireplace damper and putting a towel in the crack under the door. Bundy’s crimes and consequences unfolded in the public eye, ending with his execution in 1989. But what happened to Kloepfer?
Elizabeth Kloepfer has told her Ted Bundy story on the page and onscreen
Elizabeth Kloepfer disappeared from the public eye decades ago, but has quietly offered her perspective on Ted Bundy and the six years she spent with him. In 1981, she published the memoir The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy under the pseudonym Elizabeth Kendall. Instead of focusing on Bundy’s criminal history, the book details the turbulent romantic relationship Kloepfer shared with him. According to Biography, the memoir was published 12 years after the pair met, when Kloepfer was 36 years old and Bundy was awaiting his fate on Death Row.
Kloepfer wrote that once their relationship fizzled out and Bundy’s evil nature was revealed, she fell back into alcoholism and experienced some understandable trust and intimacy issues. “My spiritual growth is extremely important to me now,” she wrote in the book (via Biography). “I try to live my life according to God’s will. I pray for Ted, but I am sickened by him. The tragedy is that this warm and loving man is driven to kill.”
Kloepfer’s memoir became the source material for a 2019 movie about the relationship — starring Lily Collins and Zac Efron — called Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. It also inspired the 2020 five-part Amazon docuseries Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer.
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