According to court filings obtained by American Ledger, North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis’ ex-wife alleged “cruel and inhuman treatment” by Tillis, raising questions about the reasons surrounding the couple’s eventual divorce. In Tennessee, where the couple was married, “cruel and inhuman treatment” legally includes domestic violence, adultery, emotional or verbal abuse, and sexual assault.

The divorce complaint, filed in August 1979 on Tillis’ birthday, stated that Tillis was “guilty of such cruel and inhuman treatment or conduct towards the plaintiff as renders further cohabitation unsafe and improper.” The divorce filing also noted that Tillis’ ex-wife felt “unsafe and improper” living with Tillis any further because of his actions, which may include any or all of the actions outlined in the law.

Tillis’ relationship with his ex-wife was apparently tenuous, as indicated by the fact that the 1979 divorce proceeding came 6 months after their marriage and was followed by a 1981 divorce, a second marriage, and ultimately a second divorce in 1987. The first marriage, which started to unravel with the court document seen below, ultimately lasted two years.

American Ledger has redacted sensitive information to protect privacy.

Ultimately, the divorce proceeding was dismissed by the court because the spouse chose to not take further action. It’s unclear why the spouse made that decision.

If you, or someone you know has been a victim of domestic abuse, please call 911 or the National Domestic Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233).

Contact Chai Karve at