Frances Moody, Who Compared Her Husband (Unfavorably) to a Seiko and Ticked a Few People Off

updated 02/22/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/22/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Frances puts her foot in her mouth quite often," her estranged husband says, but Frances Moody is one of the few who have done it on national TV. Moody, who lives in Hammond, La., was shopping at a mall when marketing reps asked her for some impromptu remarks about Seiko watches. The reps liked her style and asked her to videotape a commercial. Lauding the reliability of her watch, Moody, 33, blurted, "My husband's not around anymore, but my Seiko is." Her Dixie-drawled line, since repeated approximately 15,000 times on national TV, is now solidly in the memorable "Where's the beef?" category. Alas, there is a beef. Moody's husband, Christopher, has filed for divorce, and Frances has lost her job as director of youth ministry for the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge.

Call it bad timing. Married since 1975, the Moodys—who have two children, Matthew, 11, and Amanda, 10—had already been separated when Frances taped her comments. She had hoped that they might reconcile—but then the spots began airing. "Chris called after he saw it," says Frances, "and told me not only was he not coming back, he wasn't going to talk to me again." Frances got so mad she smashed the crystal of her Seiko. "I know what she said was a typical, irresponsible remark without malice," says Christopher, 33, an attorney in Hammond, "but it impugned my reputation for reliability."

It may also have contributed to the loss of Frances' $16,000-a-year job. "It wasn't the reason given for my firing," she says, "but it didn't help. The diocese had reservations about a separated woman planning programs for 50,000 kids. The ads just made my marital problems more visible."

Frances has taken a licking, but she keeps on ticking: She's found a new career. "I saw things about myself on TV I'd never seen before—that I'm attractive and spontaneous." So she's taking modeling lessons and has already filmed a local TV ad for a mobile home outfit. Which suits her soon-to-be ex just fine. "Every dollar she gets from them," says Christopher, "is a dollar she doesn't get from me."

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