How Accurate Is The Eyes Of Tammy Faye?

"The Eyes of Tammy Faye" tells the story of a famed televangelist couple in the 1980s. The film, based on a documentary and starring Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye Bakker and Andrew Garfield as her husband, Jim Bakker, has all the drama you could want — from a car crash to alleged affairs and plastic surgery. But how much of the story shown in the film is actually true?

Much of the film's plot is at least based in reality. Tammy always refused to be seen without makeup on, according to Slate. Faye eventually did have it tattooed on, just like in the movie. A colleague and co-host of Tammy's confirmed to Vanity Fair that she wouldn't even take the makeup off for a makeover segment, comparing it to a clown wearing makeup for work.

Tammy Faye wasn't the only one to permanently alter her appearance, though. The movie alludes to her husband Jim getting plastic surgery done, and, according to Slate, that part is true. So is Bakker's affair with Jessica Hahn, which later led him to step down from his role leading the television network he and Tammy Faye ran together (via Slate).

What did the movie get wrong?

But not everything in "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" sticks so close to the truth. The depiction of Tammy Faye's own affair, for starters, isn't exactly how people remember it. In the film, Tammy meets music producer Gary Paxton and ends up infatuated with him, according to Slate. But after they kiss, she calls off the whole thing.

In real life, the relationship was more one-sided. Tammy might have been infatuated with Paxton, but according to Slate, Paxton had no romantic interest in her and there was no affair. Paxton's wife, Karen, pushed back against those rumors at the time, to both the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Instead of running away from Jim Bakker when the accusations came to light (as shown in the film), Karen Paxton said her husband threatened to beat Jim up (via Slate).

Other parts of Tammy Faye's story, and that of her husband, are murky. The accusations of Jim Bakker pursuing affairs with other men aren't verified, according to Slate, so it's hard to say whether the film gets them right.