Amber Frey: What We Know About Scott Peterson's Mistress

When Laci Peterson was reported missing on Christmas Eve 2002, the story quickly made national news. The 27-year-old Modesto, California, native, who had been married to her husband, Scott Peterson, since 1997, was eight months pregnant at the time of her disappearance, according to ABC. An enormous search operation was immediately put in motion to find the model housewife and mother-to-be. "Woman vanishes on walk" ran the headline of the local Modesto Bee newspaper on December 26 — in the early days, it appeared that Mrs. Peterson may have been abducted while exercising the family dog in a local park.

While the press made public several theories concerning the disappearance of Mrs. Peterson — including the potential involvement of a satanic cult, per The Modesto Bee — police were already becoming suspicious of Scott, according to ABC News. "I suspected Scott when I first met him ... I was a little bit thrown off by his calm, cool demeanor and his lack of questioning ... he wasn't, 'Will you call me back? Can I have one of your cards? What are you guys doing now?'" one former detective involved in the case as stated.

The bodies of Laci Peterson and her unborn son were discovered April 13, 2003, having been washed up on a beach in San Francisco Bay, per the same source. But despite detectives' interest in Scott Peterson as the prime suspect in the murder of his own wife and son, no motive could be pinned on him until the appearance of Amber Frey, a Fresno woman who told police she had begun an extramarital affair with Scott just before his wife's disappearance.

Amber Frey met Scott Peterson on a blind date

In 2002, Amber Frey was a 27-year-old single mother of one, who was making successful inroads into her new vocation, massage therapy, according to ThoughtCo. She was also looking for love.

Frey first met Scott Peterson through her best friend, Shawn Sibley. In October 2002, Sibley was attending a conference on pest control, according to the New York Post, when she met Peterson who was working as a salesman within the industry. Per the same source, Peterson immediately began trying to make a move on Sibley, who informed him she was engaged. Nevertheless, the two went on to discuss sex together in graphic detail, according to fellow conference-goers who eventually stood as witnesses in Peterson's murder trial, per The Daily Journal. Ultimately, Sibley saw Peterson as a potential match for her single best friend, Frey.

According to the New York Post, Frey's first blind date with Peterson took place November 20. The married father-to-be wined-and-dined Frey so successfully that, despite having never met before, things quickly turned romantic. The pair ended up sleeping together in Peterson's hotel room, where he stunned Frey with champagne and strawberries.

Amber Frey didn't know Scott Peterson was married

From Amber Frey's perspective, everything about her new explosive relationship seemed to be pointing in the right direction: Scott Peterson was good-looking, fun, romantic, and generous, and bowled her over with good food and wine. "There would be many more corks ... many more bottles to share," Peterson told Frey on their second date, according to the New York Post.

Little did Frey know that the man who had just swept her off her feet had been married for five years, that his wife was in the third trimester, and that he was already concocting a web of lies to hide the truth from his new lover. Frey wasn't Peterson's first dalliance. In a frankly absurd turn of events, it was during Peterson's murder trial that his own defense — led by celebrity attorney Mark Geragos — revealed that Peterson had cheated on his wife Laci on three separate occasions before her death, according to The East Bay Times. The defense was attempting to minimize his affair with Frey as a motivating factor in the murder and to reframe it as "normal behavior" within the marriage.

According to an interview Frey gave to NBC, after the second equally thrilling date, Peterson came to visit Frey at the home she shared with her 2-year-old daughter, Ayiana, to tell her that he hadn't been completely honest about his past — he had been married, he said, but told Frey that he was now a widower. That same day, Peterson bought a second-hand boat that Peterson's murder trial revealed was used to dispose of the remains of his wife and unborn child just weeks later.

Amber Frey's cooperation was vital to the police case

Amber Frey came forward to the police at the end of December 2002, according to NBC. Frey had grown suspicious of Scott Peterson, who had covered his tracks by telling Frey he was going away for weeks on end: first on a fishing trip with his father, and later to France, where he would be spending New Year. Peterson often called, but something didn't quite add up, and Frey asked a friend in the police department to run a check to see if the new man in her life was married after all. What she found was even more shocking — that as well as being married, Peterson's wife had been missing for days, and that his face was all over the news.

Meanwhile, the lies continued, and disturbingly Peterson, while lying on the phone about his whereabouts, displayed none of the emotion or worry that a husband with a missing spouse would, in normal circumstances, struggle to keep back. Frey agreed to allow the police to wiretap her phone and record her conversations with Peterson, per ABC, to gather evidence that he lied about his marriage and continued to lie compulsively even as he presented to the world the image of a caring family man. Frey's recordings and testimony at Peterson's trial became vital pieces of evidence in the case against him.

On November 12, 2004, Peterson was found guilty of the murders of his wife Laci and their unborn son, according to History. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

Amber Frey's 2005 memoir made her a bestselling author

The murder of Laci Peterson and her unborn child and the subsequent trial of Scott Peterson dominated national news for almost two years — with huge repercussions for the life of Amber Frey, the unwitting "other woman" who became one of the trial's star witnesses.

"Amber came across as one of the most credible people you could ever hear testify," said Frey's attorney during the trial, Gloria Allred, per People. "And Scott Peterson on those recordings came across as one of the biggest liars one could ever hear."

Though Frey emerged from the trial with her reputation intact, the months and years after she went public with her and Peterson's relationship were turbulent and potentially traumatic ones. Hounded by the press and often mischaracterized as a knowing "mistress" — Frey was keen to correct NBC interviewer Matt Lauer that "I didn't have an affair with him," but rather the infidelity was kept from her — Frey's life was turned upside down overnight.

In 2005, Frey published a memoir telling her side of the story, "Witness: For the Prosecution of Scott Peterson," which swiftly went to No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list and revealed in great detail the bravery and determination that Frey had demonstrated throughout the ordeal.

Amber Frey now leads a (kind of) normal life

Rising to national infamy as the "mistress" of a notorious killer — who, however witlessly, came to be widely identified as the motivating factor in his heinous, heartless crimes — has the potential to be a life-ruining experience. However, Amber Frey appears to have negotiated being thrust into the public eye under such circumstances in such a way as to emerge unscathed and flourished as her life has settled back into a degree of normality.

In 2006, People reported that Frey had married Robert Hernandez, who works in law enforcement, in a small private ceremony in California. The couple divorced in 2008, according to ThoughtCo.

In 2007, Frey extended further into the wellness industry by opening her own day spa in Fresno, according to CBS. Meanwhile, the masseuse hit the headlines locally once again in 2011, when it was reported in The Fresno Bee that Frey had reneged on a deal to collaborate on a book about sex addiction with a local author, who was then poised to sue. Per the same source, by this time Frey's business was reportedly beginning to struggle, and she was facing foreclosure on her home.

Scott Peterson's death penalty was overturned in 2020 due to perceived errors in jury selection, according to CBSN Bay Area. Per Oxygen, Frey has publicly declared that she is once again willing to testify against Scott Peterson if a new trial is granted to him.