FOR A TIME, STEVE AND CYNDY GARVEY were the Ken and Barbie of Major League Baseball, a handsome couple who started dating at Michigan State University in 1969 and stayed together as he rose to stardom with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But by 1981 they had separated, and their relationship turned increasingly ugly. Snooping around her estranged husband's unattended office one day, Cyndy found a datebook detailing Garvey's trysts with his secretary. According to a tell-all book published in 1989, Cyndy flew into a rage, grabbed a bat and started swinging. "First the pictures of Steve on the wall," she wrote in The Secret Life of Cyndy Garvey. "They cracked. Then the trophies on the shelf. They crashed to the floor. I was doing damage, lots of damage."

She still is. Last week the Santa Monica district attorney charged Garvey, who now goes by her maiden name, Truhan, with five counts of filing false reports. Her legal problems began in December, when Truhan, 46, started calling the Santa Monica police, claiming someone had been leaving flowers and notes on her car, had marked her front door with an X and had accosted her on the street and bitten her ear. On Jan. 8 the police, already suspicious of her claims, brought her in for questioning, during which Truhan broke down. She admitted she had fabricated evidence and lied about everything in her complaints. She also confessed that she, in fact, was harassing someone—her ex-boyfriend, restaurateur Hans Rocken-wagner, 35. "You guys can do what you want," she told police. "I don't want to go to court. I'd rather just go to some good counseling. I know what I've done. I went through a period of anger."

That's putting it mildly. According to court documents filed by Rocken-wagner, Truhan became hysterical one night last October, when he broke off their two-year relationship. He says she phoned her two daughters by Garvey, Krisha, 21, and Whitney, 19, and left them "farewell suicide messages," then took an overdose of codeine and Valium. Tipped off by one of the daughters, Rockenwagner found her unconscious in her home and called 911. "I believe I saved her life," he said. After she recovered, though, Truhan allegedly began a bizarre campaign of harassment against the owner of the trendy Rockenwagner restaurant in Santa Monica. She stole his address book from his office, canceled his plane reservations and encouraged U.S. and German customs officials to detain him recently when he traveled to his native Germany. Rockenwagner says he was strip-searched in each country for two hours.

Truhan, who faces a possible fine of $500 and up to six months in prison when she goes to Santa Monica Municipal Court on March 20, doesn't deny harassing Rockenwagner. "I was mad at him," she told police. "I wanted revenge." She blames her extreme actions on a "major clinical depression," for which she says she has been getting medical treatment. "Depression," she noted in a statement to the press, "can rob its victims of all sense of reason."

But Rockenwagner is apparently not the only person who might be inclined to agree. On the day after Truhan was charged, Candace Garvey, Steve's current wife, filed for a legal separation and later cited a fear of violence at the hands of Truhan.

Steve, 47, who now gives motivational speeches, told PEOPLE last week that his ex-wife had been causing problems practically since the day he remarried in 1989. Cyndy called "right off the bat," he says, and made "death threats" against him and Candace (a friend of Nicole Simpson's who testified for the prosecution in the O.J. Simpson murder trial last year). Garvey said the most recent call came several weeks ago at 12:30 a.m. "Cyndy went into a tirade against Candace, who was very upset, very fearful. She has a legitimate fear of physical abuse."

Garvey himself is no stranger to domestic problems. Truhan has described him as being an aloof "sociopath" during their 10-year marriage, and when he announced his engagement to Candace, two women came forward to say they were carrying his babies. But Garvey, who pays support for those children but does not see them, says he wants to save his marriage to Candace (with whom he has a son, Ryan, 2, and a daughter, Olivia, 1). He notes, though, that "intimidation and abuse is encompassing. It will erode a relationship as strong as the one Candace and I have." Truhan's publicist Linda Grey pooh-poohs the idea that her client is causing the Garvey breakup. "You don't leave someone because your life is in jeopardy from a 95-pound ex-wife, who's armed with a telephone," she says. Candace apparently feels differently. Though she is going for marriage counseling with her husband, he has moved out of their house. As Candace told the Los Angeles Times last week, "I'm not going to be Nicole Simpson."

CURTIS RIST
CAROLYN RAMSAY and BETTY CORTINA in Los Angeles

  • Contributors:
  • Carolyn Ramsay,
  • Betty Cortina.