I love Dr. Phil. What can you tell me about him?
—Richard J., Arizona
Phillip C. McGraw, the self-help expert who refuses to sugar-coat his advice, was born on Sept. 1, 1950, to a salesman father and stay-at-home mom. He has three sisters, which may explain his understanding of women. Growing up in Texas and Oklahoma, McGraw excelled as a football player, winning a scholarship to the University of Tulsa. He went on to earn his doctorate in psychology and open a practice with his father, who also had decided to study psychology. Though he practiced for a number of years, he never felt comfortable in the job. “From the very beginning, it wasn’t for me. I didn’t have the patience for it,” he says. Instead, he opened a business called Courtroom Sciences, which helps lawyers with behavior analysis of those involved in a trial. He met talk show host Oprah Winfrey when she hired his company to help defend her against a lawsuit by the beef industry. His no-nonsense style led to his appearance on her show, and a new career was born. As for his qualifications in giving relationship advice: He and his wife, Robin, have been married for 26 years, and they have two sons.