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Sherri Papini's Ex-Husband Reveals It Was a 'Weight Off His Shoulders' to Cut Contact With Ex-Wife After Kidnapping Hoax

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Source: ABC

Jun. 21 2024, Published 7:51 p.m. ET

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Keith Papini reflected on how significantly his life has changed by choosing to cut contact with his ex-wife, Sherri Papini, after she pleaded guilty to faking her own kidnapping.

The father-of-two filed for divorce in April 2022, citing "irreconcilable differences."

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Sherri Papini admitted to faking her own kidnapping.

"It was such a weight off my shoulders because I was constantly trying to play this game with her, but you're not going to win against her," Keith explained in an interview published on Friday, June 21. "She's too good."

"Ever since [cutting off contact with Sherri] it's been a lot easier," he added. "Now, I just get to focus on the kids.”

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Keith Papini filed for divorce after her guilty plea.

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As OK! previously reported, Sherri disappeared while out on a jog in Redding, Calif., in November 2016. Following a country-wide search for the missing mom, she was found on the side of a road in Sacramento three weeks after her alleged abduction. She had various injuries and was also very malnourished at the time.

"As soon as I saw her face, the way she looked up at me in that moment, I just felt, this is fake, this is not real," Keith confessed to the outlet. "Then I felt guilty that I even thought that she could do this."

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Sherri Papini was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

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After returning home, Keith revealed that Sherri made him feel like their lives were in danger from her alleged kidnapper.

"Every day something revolving [around] what we dubbed, 'the 22 days' would come up, whether that be loud sounds at night where I have to go outside to make sure someone's not coming in to kill us," he said. "I mean, she led us to believe that we were being ... Essentially that we were going to be attacked at some point."

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Sherri Papini was released early in 2023.

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Eventually, the ruse was over and Sherri pleaded guilty to her role in faking the kidnapping back in early 2022. She was later sentenced serve a year and a half behind bars, but received an early release in 2023.

She currently only sees her children once per month.

Keith shared that he even considered allowing their kids to change their surname to avoid the association with their mom's crimes.

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"My son basically said ... 'Well, I don't think we should have to change our last name because of mom's mistakes,'" Keith recalled. "Him saying that just kind of hit me like, 'Oh wow, this kid is ... He's right.' But again, as a parent, you think about your children and you know that last name is very unique, and it's forever going to be out there. But at this time, anyways, they both are happy kids. They're very happy kids, and they're thriving right now."

Keith spoke with People about his life after his divorce and asking his kids if they wanted to change their last name.

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