ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After some four months of marriage, Teresa Tapia and her first husband’s half brother are divorcing.
The widow of five-time world champion boxer Johnny Tapia married Jeffrey Padilla in November, a few months after Padilla was released from prison – having served time on charges that included second-degree murder.
In 2010, it was revealed that Jerry Padilla, Jeffrey’s father, was Johnny Tapia’s biological father.
Johnny Tapia died in May 2012 from heart disease at age 45.
Teresa Tapia, acting as her own attorney, filed the petition for divorce just before closing Monday in the Domestic Relations Section of the 2nd Judicial District Court. In the petition, she cites irreconcilable incompatibility.
Judge Deborah Davis Walker signed a temporary domestic order intended to maintain the status quo, which is standard in divorce proceedings.
Both Tapia and Padilla said their decision to marry was a mistake made in haste.
“After four months of turbulent marriage to Jeffrey Padilla, I decided to end the marriage,” Teresa Tapia said in an emailed statement. “It was a decision that I take very seriously.
“I have learned that by moving on after the death of Johnny, is that I was unprepared and clueless of how to adapt to someone new. I have arrived at the conclusion that I would much rather live on my memories of Johnny, our marriage, family, and remaining his widow forever instead of being anyone else’s wife.”
The emailed release included a statement from Padilla.
“After long and careful consideration on both our parts, Teresa and I have decided to end our marriage,” Padilla said. “After 14 years of being incarcerated, I now realize that it was too early to jump into a marriage situation. I need to take the time to keep working on bettering myself.”
The marriage between Johnny and Teresa Tapia was often turbulent, as well. Johnny Tapia struggled with a cocaine habit that sent him to hospitals, rehab centers and prison.
But Teresa, serving as her first husband’s manager and media spokeswoman, saw him through the good times, as well – five world titles and millions of dollars in fight purses, signing bonuses, etc.
After his death, about 7,000 people attended a memorial service at the Pit.
“I was married to Johnny for 20 years,” Teresa Tapia said, “and was able to conquer all the ups and downs that marriage created. It was true love and will always be hard to follow.”
Jeffrey Padilla was convicted in 2003 of second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and drug trafficking.
Jerry Padilla, another son, Jerry Jr., and a grandson, Jerry III, all have spent time in federal prison on drug-trafficking charges.
Journal staff writer Scott Sandlin contributed to this report.