Due to the large number of questions in the comments, I will be doing a second follow-up with Shailey to address them. I’m not sure when that post will go live so just keep checking back.
This interview was conducted through an email exchange over a period of three days.
My questions are in bold black. Shailey’s responses are in bold blue.
Shailey Tripp Interview - February 16 - 18, 2011
Blade: Hi, Shailey. I appreciate your granting me this interview.
I already know a little about you from my research. Here is the background information I have for you. Is anything incorrect or would you like to add anything?
You are 36 years old and originally from Louisiana. You are divorced from your 2nd husband and raising two special needs children, a boy and a girl, on your own. You are a licensed massage therapist and also held a manicurist license. You do computer programming and enjoy writing poetry and short stories among other things.
Shailey: My Dad was military and we moved often. I consider Louisiana my home state and I did complete high school there but I was born in North Carolina.
Blade: When and why did you move to Alaska?
Shailey: I moved to Eagle River, AK in 2002 with my first husband. Later in 2002, I moved back to Huntsville, AL. I went back and forth between Alaska and Alabama until 2004. In April of 2004, I moved to Alaska as my permanent home. I still visited Alabama, trying to repair my second marriage. All contact with my second husband ended in the fall of 2005.
I believe I have kept a driver's license, voting card, and my business license in Alaska from 2002 until the summer of 2010.
Blade: Did you live in Wasilla? If so, when? If not where did you live?
Shailey: I lived in Wasilla, AK from February 2005 until early September 2006. Then in November of 2006, I lived in Palmer, AK. From May of 2009 to May 2010, I lived in Anchorage, AK.
Blade: When did you first meet any member of the Palin family? Who was it and under what circumstances? How would you describe their attitude? Friendly? Uppity? Holier than thou?
Shailey: I first met a member of the Palin family in late November or early December of 2006. I met a daughter at a public school I was subbing at. I was a recess monitor and lunch monitor for 3 days.
On one of those days, this daughter was causing a problem in the lunch line. I scolded her, placed her in a time out and then made her go to the end of the lunch line.
In the gym after lunch, she was a little mouthy. Very typical teenage behavior, nothing really crazy. I sent a note to her parents.
The next day her father came to school and had the daughter apologize. He also offered an apology. We casually talked. He told me that his name was Todd. I told him mine was Shailey and that I worked at a nearby hair place that offered tanning, manicures, and massages. I was the massage therapist. That is how it all began. It was very casual. Nothing weird. I didn't say anything to him that I wouldn't say to any other person I was meeting for the first time. I only remember it because of the way he was dressed, his manners, and because of what the relationship became.
Blade: When and where did you first meet Todd? How long after you met Todd did your relationship become sexual? Was your relationship with Todd different than with other clients? Did he ever confide in you? What brought about the end of your relationship with him?
Shailey: That is a good question. I already answered how I met Todd and how our relationship began in the previous question.
My relationship with Todd was different from other clients because we had sexual contact. That was the first time this happened to me in this context.
I want to let you know right upfront that the first time I lived in Alaska, I worked in a very upscale place. The women there taught me that you could take your shirt off to give a massage and earn extra money. It was even encouraged but no one wanted to "know" about it. So I was predisposed to the idea, but was very shocked when it happened. I heard rumors but didn't believe that kind of thing really happened.
After about 3 massages with no incidents or anything, weird things started to happen. At first it was a lot of wiggling on the table and some noises, which he hadn't done previously. He was lingering and making a point to touch my hand. In fact, I think this happened the 3rd time ( the noises, lingering , and touching my hand).
Then the next time, at the end of the massage, he rolled over onto his back and asked if that was it. He then placed my hand on his penis and asked if I could help him out a little. I thought I was going to die. He immediately said nice things to me and offered an extra $50.00. I did what he wanted.
Then it progressed to, “Well, you did this last time. Can you take your top off this time?” Eventually, it led to sex. If that is what he wanted he provided the protection and he left with it. He always paid an extra $50.00 to $100.00 and he always took anything he used with him. Also, he really did want the massage. Weird, huh? Always.
After about 6 months he started to refer what he called “business friends” to me. Sometimes he paid for them in advance, cash only, and those men would also leave $50.00 to $100.00. Sometimes he would drop the money by in an envelope. The first time he did this the girls in the shop teased me. The first time he sent someone to me, I honestly thought it was a referral to help me. A legitimate referral. When I realized the man wanted more than a massage, both he and I were stunned that the other didn't know what was going on. He was even angry.
Blade: Sometime during Sarah's gubernatorial campaign you donated some gift certificates and products that you thought were for a real estate agency. Was that the Kristan Cole agency? Were the gift certificates for massage services? How long are gift certificates for massage services valid?
Shailey: I do not remember the agency. I think it was along the lines of the owner of the shop said she was gathering donations for such and such a cause. She named what she was donating and asked could we all match her. There was a big real estate convention at the time and a real estate agent picked up the donation. I remember her saying the donated items were going in thank you gift bags. Yes, the gift certificates once used came back to me, and yes it would have names on them and dates used. No, I can not give you that information at this time.
Blade: You said you gave Sarah Palin a massage sometime between January 2008 and March 2008. Are you certain it was in that time period? Was that the first time you had ever seen her in person? If not did she appear different to you in any way?
Shailey: I am certain. I lean towards the February - March 2008 time frame. No, it wasn't the first time I had seen her in person but it was the first time I had any personal encounter with her. No, I met her while she was laying down.
Blade: You asked Sarah if she was pregnant before starting the massage and she said no. Did she hesitate or was it an assertive no?
Shailey: She said no. Her answer didn't raise any red flags for me. I had no reason to doubt her.
Blade: You said that Sarah was laying on her stomach on the massage table. Did she seem to be in any discomfort while in that position?
Shailey: She seemed fine to me other than it seemed like it was hard for her to relax. To her credit, that is not unusual for your first massage with a person you don't know.
Blade: You stated that you massaged Sarah's abdomen so at some point she had to move from her stomach to her back or side. Which position was she in for the abdominal massage? Did she have any difficulty changing positions?
Shailey: This particular massage started facedown, which means she laid on her stomach. Then mid way I had her turn over so she was laying on her back. She seemed able to do this without assistance and made no complaints other than her stomach was sore.
Blade: Did you notice anything about Sarah during the massage that indicated she was pregnant? Was there anything about her that seemed unusual? Approximately how long did the massage last? Did Sarah make small talk with you? If so do you remember anything she said?
Shailey: Again, I had no reason at anytime to think she was pregnant. I was more worried that she was going to confront me and get me fired than I was about anything else. I did remember her shoes.
The massage lasted approximately 50 minutes. She wasn't a talker other than indicating what she needed me to work on or asking me to adjust pressure. I was just happy when it was over and hoped that she got something out of it because I felt it was the worst massage of my life.
Blade: After you finished the massage, did you remain in the room while Sarah got down from the table? If yes, did she request any assistance? When you've given massages to other pregnant women do they usually ask for help getting on or off the table?
Shailey: I did not assist her getting on or off the table. I left the room after telling her to remain laying down. I washed my hands, then got water and took it to her. I advised her on a few things and left the room to give her privacy to get up and get dressed. I charted my notes and left. Usually, I stay to talk to a client after giving a massage but in this case, I left and went to the break room.
Blade: At any time did you see Sarah in a standing position while not fully clothed? If so did she appear to be carrying any extra weight in the abdominal area? Did you observe her walking? Was there anything suggestive of pregnancy in her gait?
Shailey: No, I don't think I saw her in a standing position that day.
Blade: Do you know if Sarah used a gift certificate for the massage that you gave her. If so do you know if it was one of those that you donated?
Shailey: No, she did not use a gift certificate. I was paid for that massage through either the doctor or the nurse I worked for. I would have to really research that to know how I got paid for that massage. I do not know how she paid for this service.
Blade: Did you and your co-workers learn of Sarah's pregnancy prior to the birth of Trig? If so what was the general reaction? What was the reaction to her traveling from Texas back to Alaska to have the baby? Was there talk about it being a dangerous thing to do?
Shailey: One day in the break room, the radio was on. They said Gov. Palin had a baby and we were all like, “What?”. Shortly after another worker came into the office talking about her having a baby and we were all just shocked. It seemed to us that she had recently been in, (meaning within the past month or 2) and none of us had a clue. We were shocked!
We did pay attention to the news on this subject after that. I remember a small T.V. in the break room but it was taken out after we all misused it.
I did not know about that trip until last week. I have been doing some reading up on the curiosity of her being pregnant. I had no idea that it was a big deal or that any theories on her pregnancy existed. When I was 20-something weeks pregnant and needed an angel flight they almost didn't fly me so I am unclear as to how she was able to fly on a commercial flight.
Blade: Did you ever hear rumors about Bristol being pregnant in early 2008? If so what did you hear?
Shailey: I heard rumors that summer and that fall if I remember correctly. I heard them at a beauty shop I worked at in the valley; not at any of the clinics I worked at.
Blade: Is there anything that you would like to add about your experiences with the Palins or about yourself?
Shailey: I still feel a little mystified as to why anyone would care that I gave her a massage other than because of her celebrity status. Anything that took place between me and the Palins was really a minor event in my life compared to other things that were happening to me personally. These interactions took place at a time in my life when I was in extreme hardship and was trying to rebuild my life from that hardship. Also, my kids needed a lot of medical attention and that is where my main focus was. I really do not know anyone in that family other than Todd.
That concluded the original interview but I had some follow-up questions for Shailey. Her responses to those questions are below.
Blade: The place where you first gave Todd massages, was that AAY Spa or another place? If it was a different place, did your sexual relationship with Todd begin there? Did Todd follow you when you began working at AAY and after that when you had the office in Anchorage?
Shailey: The place I first gave Todd a massage was another place. There are several of these kind of places all over the area. The name of the place I first gave Todd a massage at was xxxxx,and later, there was a massage at ooooo. However, this time was so congested and so many things were happening that I am not 100% sure if I had sex with him at xxxxx. I think I saw him there for his initial massage. Then at ooooo (the original location which later moved), I had sex with Todd for the first time. I am not sure these shop owners would want their businesses’ names published but I mentioned them so you are clear. Also, ooooo and xxxxx are physically very close to one another. At some point xxxxx went out of business.
Blade: When you say that you remember Sarah's shoes, can you explain what you mean? What was memorable about them?
Shailey: I love shoes!!! I fantasize that I, in my daily life, wear ultra high heels. The truth is I am clumsy as hell and they hurt my feet. The aunt I admire most can play basketball in her heels.
Anyway, there were several times I was in Wasilla shopping for shoes and all of the women’s shoes were not available because Sarah had bought them all. So naturally when she came for a massage, I admit I did check out what kind of shoes she was wearing. She had on these amazing 6 inch taupe heels. I have no idea what brand of shoes they were but I loved them and me being me, thought it was kind of funny that she wore them.
Blade: Do pregnant women usually request assistance getting on or off the table?
Shailey: Pregnant women always ask for assistance getting on and off the massage table as do geriatrics. Most importantly, if I know a woman is pregnant, I have a special stool for them to use and also a special way I like to position them. Sometimes I even offer a chair instead of a table.
Additionally, I would never do certain types of massages on a pregnant woman due to blood pressure issues and possible labor.
Blade: So you weren't aware of Sarah's announcing her pregnancy the first week of March? You didn't hear any of the talk about her not looking pregnant?
Shailey: No, I was not aware of her announcing her pregnancy ever.
Until a few weeks ago when Jesse Gryphen came into my life I had never heard anything about her being pregnant and certainly not "conspiracies" about her pregnancy. This is news to me and a little silly. If anything I thought she was pregnant and horribly selfish for the things she did to her body while she was pregnant. It never occurred to me that she wasn’t pregnant or faked it. It still seems absurd to me because I can’t relate to it at all or even understand a motive for it.
Blade: After learning that people believe Sarah faked her pregnancy in 2008, what is your personal opinion? Do you believe Trig is her and Todd's son?
Shailey: I honestly don't know what to believe. I don't believe she was pregnant when I gave her a massage. But that may be wishful thinking on my end because I hate to think I harmed her or her child in anyway!
I don't like Todd (at all) and the only nice thing I can say about him is that he really loves his children. I believe he loves Trig.
Blade: Thanks so much for your time, Shailey. I'm sure the the readers of this blog will have questions so feel free to respond to them in the comments section.
I hope everyone appreciates the time Shailey put into this interview. If you haven’t already, please visit her website. Here is the link:
Shailey just informed me that she might not be able to respond to any questions until Monday.
Please remember that I am always interested in any information related to the Palins. If something interests you, then send me an email.