Creators and Shapers: The Women in Dave's Life
May 23, 2021
Episode 3: Teresa Conroy
Also known by the nickname T.C., she served as Depeche Mode's American publicist and was Dave's second wife. Her last name is frequently misspelled as "Conway" in print and online media. Not many Dave Gahan or Depeche Mode fans are fond of her, but like her or not, she has shaped Dave's life to a certain degree and this article aims to shed more light on her as an individual.
1. Teresa worked as Depeche Mode's American publicist
Teresa Conroy when she worked for Depeche Mode. She is sitting between Andy Fletcher and Daryl Bamonte.
Not much is known about how and when Teresa got the job as Depeche Mode's publicist, but we do know that she worked with them as early as in 1988, as the picture taken above was from the Winter '88/'89 issue of BONG, where she is credited as Depeche Mode's "U.S. press officer." She is also seen in several scenes in 101 hanging out with the band and making phone calls on behalf of them. If you're wondering exactly what a press officer (also known as a public and/or media relations officer) does, here is one job description: "A press and media relations officer is responsible for maintaining the image of a company or organisation, gaining publicity and disseminating information to members of the press or other media representatives. They usually work in a busy public sector organisation, charity or large corporate company, liaising with the media, organising meetings and developing press contacts. Strong interpersonal skills are essential, as a big part of the job is networking and promoting the work of the company."1 So, one thing that Teresa had to've been really good at, among other things, was interpersonal communication and social networking. She must've had a knack for influencing and negotiating with people. Exactly how and when she met Dave and what their early interactions were like is unknown. At the time, Dave was married to Joanne Fox and had a baby son.
2. Dave left his wife and son to be with Teresa in the US
Dave left England, his home country, in 1991 to live in the US and has been living there ever since. "I was really bored and really safe," he says of his life in England. "I didn't like it. There I was with a loving, caring wife, a new baby, a big house in the country, a couple of cars in the drive, and it just didn't feel right. I wanted to move to California, but Joanne didn't want to."2 Another plausible reason for him wanting to leave England was that large numbers of over-zealous fans had started to visit his house uninvited. This was right after the Violator tour when peak Depeche Mode fandom had hit all over the world. Of course, there was yet another reason...it's not clear if Dave moved to the US for Teresa, but he definitely hooked up with her soon after he got there and they shacked up together in Los Angeles, California. To someone like Dave at that time, Teresa must've been a very thrilling and attractive woman. She was exotic- being from a place that had always fascinated him whereas he had been living only in England up until that point, and she was exciting- she had numerous tattoos, in a time where it was less common for women to have them, she used hard drugs openly and unashamedly, and she had social and professional connections in the music industry in America that opened up a whole new world for Dave both musically and culturally. In her, he saw someone with whom he could lead a "very selfish lifestyle without being judged," simply because "she was joining in."3 In April 1992, the two tied the knot in a Las Vegas wedding chapel, where they were officiated by an Elvis impersonator.
3. Teresa was responsible for reintroducing heroin to Dave
"She didn't make me take heroin," Dave says of Teresa, "She gave me the opportunity to try it again."3 So, Dave had once "played around" with heroin once before back in Basildon, as well as other hard drugs, but it wasn't until he got with Teresa that he tried heroin again and became subsequently addicted to it. However, Teresa was not an intravenous user of the drug and they had allegedly made a pact with one another to never use intravenously; however, Dave ended up eventually breaking that pact. Also, Teresa was not a regular user of the drug, either, and probably never could've predicted Dave's reaction and subsequent strong attachment to it, but by then it was too late to be of much help to him as he was in deep. Speaking of reintroducing things to Dave, we do know that Dave sprouted many new tattoos during the period that he was with Teresa. She may very well have inspired him to get most of them, and they do actually have matching tattoos that are still on them to this day- the Buddhist and Hindu "Om" symbol, which is on the right side of both of their chests.
4. Teresa and Dave split for good in 1996
After Dave had gone into rehab for his drug use for the first time, he had a talk with Teresa about it. But she basically said to him, "I'm not gonna stop drinking or using drugs just because you have to. I'll do whatever I want to do." It was by this point that Dave knew that the writing was on the wall for their relationship. "I'd thought we loved each other," he said in 1997. "Now I think the love was pretty one-sided. Actually, she soon left me to get her life together, as she put it. She always used to say to me, 'It's all about you, Dave — if only you could love yourself.' Well, that's come full circle now, because she's suing me for a ridiculous amount of money, claiming I'm responsible for her life."3 It was soon after Teresa left him that Dave went on his biggest drug binges ever and even tried to commit suicide in one instance by slashing his wrists. However, he did not blame Teresa for the quick downturn in his well-being. "I want to make it clear: it had nothing to do with Teresa; I was very much in love with Teresa. It was to do with myself not being comfortable. I probably blamed other people for a long time, and I regret doing that, but [that's] the way I felt at the time."4 Of course, just months after the wrist-slashing incident, on May 28, 1996, Dave injected a lethal mix of heroin and cocaine and died for two minutes. It was shortly before this incident that Dave and Teresa's split was made official, which can only be inferred from an article written shortly afterwards.5
5. Teresa now works as a life coach
These days, it looks like Teresa works as a life coach for the "creative and professional community" in Beverly Hills, California, under the name, "T.C."; at least that's what she was doing as recently as 2009. There was an article in LA Weekly about her business, where she says, "Coaching is based in the present, not in the past...Basically what I do is listen for when a person creates a hurdle or whatever it is that's standing between them, where they are now and where they would like to be...People get stuck on the what-ifs...It's fear. Fuck fear. We call it out. We talk about it, bring it out of the dark and shine the spotlight on it."6 Interestingly enough, Dave struggled a lot with fear, himself, and for him, it was putting them down on paper and singing about them, especially on his first solo album, Paper Monsters, that helped him. And he had plenty to say on the subject, as well. "I realised a lot of what stops me from doing what I want to do is fear," he said in 2003. "I think that stops a lot of people doing what they want to do, or saying what they want to say. I think that's one of the hardest things in the world for people to admit to, and you get kind of scared of yourself...I could just rip [the thing that is stopping me] apart, and come out the other side."7 Anyway, another tidbit about Teresa that I recently found is that she is also an occultist and sells conjure candles online. That is all the information that I can find on her current status, but out of respect, I will not link to her personal websites on here directly.
- "Press & Media Relations Officer", MyJobSearch.com (retrieved February 7, 2021)
- "The Basildon Bond", The Times (2001)
- "Tears of My Tracks", Q (March 1997)
- "Rock Star 'Death Bid'", Daily Mirror (August 22, 1995)
- "Going...going...Gahan?", NME (June 8, 1996)
- "T.C. Conroy", LA Weekly (May 14, 2008)
- "New Life New Life", 9 to 5/MW (June 2, 2003)
So, what do you think about this article? Do you have any details about Teresa Conroy that I missed, or simply want to get something off of your chest? Who would you like to see featured in a future installment of "Creators and Shapers?" Please comment below!