Dr. Jackie Walters is no stranger to overcoming adversity. The Atlanta-based OBGYN has opened up about many of her tough times on Married to Medicine during the past five seasons, from surviving breast cancer twice to her father's battle with Alzheimer's disease.
But this season of Married to Medicine began with an unimaginable hardship for Dr. Jackie. The season kicked off with the revelation that her husband, Curtis Berry, had been unfaithful to her, the news of which sparked conversation in gossip blogs and among the Married to Medicine couples alike.
Dr. Jackie recently opened up to The Daily Dish about the process of moving forward in her marriage after experiencing infidelity. "I get to decide if I have the courage to forgive or the freedom not to," she shared of what we'll see of her journey with her relationship this season of Married to Medicine. "That is the hard part of healing from infidelity is just figuring out what is right for you. And I can't say that I've figured it all out. I cannot say I know what's right for me, because again with the airing of the show, it's reliving what we've already shared."
Having alone time has given Dr. Jackie some guidance in figuring out her next steps with Curtis. "What sustains me and what has kept me afloat during this process is one, is just having space. For Curtis and myself, we needed time apart to figure out how to heal," she said. "And secondly, my higher power is God. A lot of prayer. A lot, a lot, a lot of prayer and talking to God, just quiet time to hear that still voice and that sense of peace of what's right for me."
When it comes to seeking out support from others, Dr. Jackie said that she has relied more heavily on friends than on family. "I have the absolute best friends and family in the whole wide world. I've got ride-or-die girlfriends," she said. "I don't call my family a lot, and I think that's a mistake a lot of people make when there's a problem in a relationship is talking to your mom and talking to your sister and cousins about it because when the craziness is over and done, you still want your family to love and accept that person regardless, married or not. And so inviting family members into this craziness, I've tried not to because whether I stay or go, I still want my family to be in a place where they can still love and respect Curtis, whether it's with his new wife or whether it's with me."
Dr. Jackie also credits her friends for helping her stay resilient during this difficult time, as well as when she dealt with obstacles in the past. "What I know now is strong people need strong people. And so to just surround yourself with friends who can hold your hand and pray for you when you can't pray for yourself and hold you up," Dr. Jackie said while starting to tear up. "I've got some wonderful friends. And so just through this whole process, if I had not had the friends that I have in my life, I'm not sure I could've done it."
One of the things that keeps Dr. Jackie going is knowing how much she has inspired people with how she has handled her struggles. "Success for me is knowing that people want to do and be like me so that they can be better and do better. And so this year, though, has definitely shaken me more than any of the other stuff. And, you know, with breast cancer people love you, and they don't blame you for it. You don't get to choose. And with Alzheimer's you don't get to choose it," Dr. Jackie shared. "Infidelity was one of those things where you go, 'Wow, could I have done something different?' Now I'm never gonna own that because infidelity's a choice. But it just makes me know that I have to keep doing what I do and giving back and keep living my life so that other people want to be better."
Of course, being a part of the Married to Medicine crew has also taught Dr. Jackie a lot about dealing with relationships — both during the good times and the bad. "Marriages are tough. And in so many instances, we date the representative. The person that you really think you're marrying or you're dating isn't always the person that you take home after the I do's. Or something happens in the house. Like, the hocus pocus trick that takes place and that you married this person, and they start talking and doing things and saying stuff and you're like, 'Who is this? Somebody stole my husband. He's been possessed by a new person,'" Dr. Jackie said, adding that she's also learned that staying focused on the solution and not the problem is also key in having successful relationships. "And I mean, if you look at a heartbeat, it's up and down, and so is life. And knowing that the down isn't always a down, but at some point you'll get back on the up."
Find out more about how Dr. Jackie dealt with her husband's infidelity, below.