The True Story Behind HBO Max's 'Love & Death' Series Starring Elizabeth Olsen

HBO Max's new series Love & Death stars Elizabeth Olsen as infamous axe murderer Candy Montgomery, who killed her neighbor Betty Gore

Elizabeth Olsen Is an Unfaithful Wife in New 'Love & Death' Trailer
Photo: HBO Max

HBO Max is detailing the horrifying true story of Candy Montgomery with its upcoming series, Love & Death.

The series, which is set to release on April 27, stars Elizabeth Olsen as the infamous axe murderer who killed her neighbor Betty Gore (Lily Rabe).

The murder case rocked the small town of Wylie, Texas, and has been the inspiration for several shows since.

In July 2020, Hulu announced plans for a show titled Candy, with Elisabeth Moss originally attached to star. Though she later backed out due to scheduled conflicts, Jessica Biel took on the role when the series premiered in May 2022.

Read ahead for everything to know about the true story of Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore's murder.

Who is Candy Montgomery?

As detailed in Texas Monthly articles titled "Love and Death in Silicon Prairie, Part I: Candy Montgomery's Affair" and "Love and Death in Silicon Prairie, Part II: The Killing of Betty Gore" — which HBO Max's series Love and Death is based on — Candy was considered a "normal suburban housewife." She was married to a man named Pat Montgomery and together they had two kids, a son and a daughter.

In 1977, Candy and her family moved to Wylie where they resided in her "dream house in the country." While Candy and Pat seemed to have a picture-perfect life to outsiders, Candy considered her marriage "very boring" and longed for something more.

After settling down in their new home, Candy began attending Methodist Church of Lucas, which Texas Monthly says was the "center of [her] universe." It was during a church service that she first met Betty and the two became close friends.

Who is Betty Gore?

Like Candy, Betty was a wife and mother in the suburbs of Dallas. In January 1970, she married Allan Gore; when their first child was born, Allan took a job at a manufacturing conglomerate called Rockwell International. In 1976, Betty took a job teaching at an elementary school "but she didn't enjoy her work for very long," as Texas Monthly states: "She couldn't control her unruly students, and at the same time she couldn't bear to be left alone at home when Allan had to travel."

Despite this, Betty decided the two should try to have their second child. She began planning her pregnancy "down to the exact week so that the baby would be born in midsummer and she wouldn't have to take any time off from teaching," the outlet states.

This reportedly made Allan resentful, as he felt their sex had become "completely mechanical." As his marriage to Betty became strained, he and Candy grew close after colliding at a church volleyball game in 1978.

Elizabeth Olsen Is an Unfaithful Wife in New 'Love & Death' Trailer

Did Candy Montgomery and Allan Gore have an affair?

During the church volleyball game in the summer of 1978, Candy and Allan quite literally crashed into each other as they both tried to make a play on the same ball.

According to the articles, Candy thought Allan "smelled sexy" and began to fantasize about having an affair with him. One night after choir practice, Candy approached Allan in his car and said she'd been thinking about him a lot and wanted to know if they should act on her attraction.

Allan initially rejected the offer, noting that Betty just got pregnant again and it would "be unfair to her," but shortly after, he gave her a kiss.

A few months later, they met up again on Candy's 29th birthday where they discussed the details of the affair, establishing a rule that if either of them started getting "emotionally involved," they would end things.

They officially started having an affair on Dec. 12, 1978, which continued for several months. While Candy reportedly felt guilty about deceiving Pat, she never felt uncomfortable around Betty and even threw her a baby shower. Candy and Allan continued the affair even after Betty gave birth in July 1979, but shortly thereafter, Allan and Betty decided to work on their marriage and Allan ended his affair with Candy. Things eventually took a turn for the worse in the summer of 1980.

What happened the night Betty Gore was murdered?

On Friday, June 13, 1980, Allan was away on a business trip and became worried when Betty wasn't answering any of his calls. He asked a neighbor to check on her but Betty didn't answer. He then called Candy, who was watching their daughter, Alisa, at the time, and she assured him Betty was fine.

However, after several more attempts to get in touch with Betty, Allan grew more worried. A few hours later, a neighbor entered the Gores' home to find their infant daughter in her crib and "oceans of blood" leading to the utility room door.

The neighbor informed Allan that Betty was dead, presuming she had been shot. Distraught, Allan called Candy again at about 11:30 p.m. informing her of Betty's death and asking if she could continue watching Alisa. She agreed and later broke down crying in Pat's arms.

The next morning, the police reported that Betty was murdered with an axe and that they found a bloody footprint in the home. Upon learning this news, Candy used a pair of garden shears to cut up her rubber sandals, which prosecutors said was done to destroy any suspicion based on the pattern on the soles.

What crimes did Candy Montgomery commit?

As the last person to see Betty alive, Candy became the main suspect in her murder. The police questioned her several times, and although her alibi seemed airtight, that all changed when Allan admitted to having an affair with Candy, giving the police a motive for killing.

Candy was arrested and charged with murder, which she denied. She was later released on bail and given full support from their church. Candy hired a lawyer from her church, Don Crowder, to represent her. Don later enlisted a psychiatrist and clinical hypnotist named Dr. Fred Fason to uncover Candy's memories from that night.

Through several hypnosis sessions, Fred said he discovered that Candy has suffered childhood trauma, which led to her rage as an adult. He was also able to piece together what happened the night of Betty's murder, which Candy later recounted during her October 1980 trial, where she pleaded self-defense in Betty's murder.

During her testimony, she alleged that on Friday, June 13, 1980, Betty confronted Candy about her affair with Allan. When Candy admitted to the affair, she claimed that Betty went into her utility room to grab an axe, which Betty then used to attack her. Candy said she eventually gained control of the axe and hit Betty as the two continued to struggle. In an act of rage, Candy proceeded to hit Betty 41 times; Texas Monthly adds she only stopped "at the point of utter exhaustion."

Did Candy Montgomery go to jail?

Candy gave her testimony that Friday and by the following Wednesday, the jury heard the final arguments and reached its verdict the same day. In the end, Candy was found not guilty and therefore served no jail time for the murder of Betty.

Where is Candy Montgomery now?

Candy has stayed out of the public eye since the trial, though Dallas Morning News reports that she and Pat eventually moved to Georgia, where she began working as a certified family counselor. It's also been reported that Candy and Pat split shortly after their move.

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