By Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
August 13, 2006
Sandy Bianchini, ex-wife of former Philadelphia Eagle, Vince Papale, said that Disney Pictures pulled an end around with the facts in the upcoming movie about Papale’s life, “Invincible,” starring Mark Wahlberg.
In a letter sent to various media outlets, Bianchini, who began dating Papale in the summer of 1976 when she was the single mother of a nine-year-old son wrote, “Two weeks after meeting Vince, he had to leave for training camp…Not one day went by that Vince did not receive a card or letter from me…We spoke everyday and he would fill me in how he was progressing… I was his sounding board, his cheerleader, he best friend…My son Skip and myself would go to visit whenever we were allowed and spent many a day watching practices…The day he was told by (Dick) Vermeil, “Congratulations old man you made the team,” was the best and happiest day for Vince.”
Bianchini, who married Papale in 1977 continued, “How can a movie be made, a TRUE STORY about Vince’s climb to being an Eagle without his family being acknowledged? We were his family! Vince even considered adopting Skip. Vince’s entire Eagles’ career was interwoven with my family. It pains my son and me that even though we were his family and totally a part of his story, we weren’t even thought of. Vince’s story is as much our story as it is his.”
“We have been told that there will be a supportive “love interest” who happens to have a son in the movie…I am truly disappointed in Vince that he could just brush off everything we as a family shared. No matter what you can not change the past and we are his past.”
In the movie, Papale’s wife is shown throwing him out of the house. Bianchini wants people to know that the wife portrayed in the film was Vince’s first wife. She was his second wife.
In real life, there wasn’t a “Hollywood” ending for Papale and Bianchini who were divorced in 1983.
In a phone conversation, Papale, who today is married to his third wife Janet and has two children 12 and 9, did not want to hear Bianchini’s comments, and responded, “I am thrilled that Disney made a movie about my life. I had no control over the creative liberties taken in the making of the film.”
Disney Pictures did not respond for a request for comment.
“Invincible” starring Mark Wahlberg as Vince Papale and Greg Kinnear as Dick Vermeil opens nationwide August 25.