2017’s action comedy film ‘American Made’ dramatizes the life of an infamous pilot, Barry Seal, and his involvement in the 1980s Iran-Contra Affair. In the film, Tom Cruise plays the character of Barry, who flies dangerous operations for his own ambitions, various governmental agencies, and the deadly Medellín Drug Cartel. As the pilot-turned-drug-runner smuggles cocaine between countries while working covert missions for the CIA, he gains millions with his house overflowing with money.
As Barry builds a fortune for himself through increasingly dangerous undertakings, his wife, Lucy Seal, stands beside him. Through her character and the rest of Barry’s family, including his three children, the narrative crafts a likable arc for the character, empathizing the viewers with his character. Likewise, Lucy’s character provides on-screen grief that impacts the film’s ending, enriching the story further. Therefore, given the film’s heavy inspiration from reality, viewers are bound to wonder about Seal’s real-life wife and her current situation. Let’s find out.
Who Is Deborah Dubois?
Sarah Wright’s character in ‘American Made,’ Lucy, is based on the real-life Barry Seal’s third wife, Deborah Seal née Dubois, who sold executives the rights to her late husband’s life story. Deborah first met Seal at 21 years old when she was working at a restaurant that Barry happened to stop by on his way to a court hearing sometime around 1972. On their first meeting, the pilot asked Deborah out, and the woman was charmed by his pleasant disposition, looks, and wild stories.
Eventually, the couple got married in 1973 and went on to have three kids: Aaron, Dean, and Christina. Unlike her on-screen counterpart, according to Deborah, she was never privy to her husband’s illegal drug smuggling. As such, we can conclude that while adapting Lucy’s character from Deborah, the film took some creative liberties. In a conversation with Daily Mail in 2015, Deborah shared her thoughts on the film and said, “I thought Sarah Wright was lovely, but on one of the scenes where she was yelling at Barry and swinging at him, I thought to myself that’s not me.”
“That would have never happened. I don’t think I was ever angry with my husband like that,” Deborah concluded. Nevertheless, despite the few changes made to her character to appropriately fictionalize its dramatized story, ‘American Made’ gets other parts of Deborah’s life right, such as her situation following Barry’s ultimate demise.
Where is Deborah Seal Now?
On February 19, 1986, the Seal family underwent a great tragedy after Barry Seal was shot dead outside of a Salvation Army Center. After learning about her husband’s death from a friend, Deborah tried to drive down to Barry with her kids. Relaying the experience, Deborah shared, “I was stuck in traffic, so I stopped at a pay phone. I told them [Deborah’s friend], I don’t know which hospital to go to. They said, Debbie, just go home. He is not going to a hospital. I told my children their father was dead. I got them home. Then I went to the kitchen and just cried.”
After Barry’s death, much of the pilot’s properties and belongings were lost to the IRS due to his involvement in drug trafficking and other illegal activities. As such, Deborah and her kids were left to get by on Barry’s life insurance, moving to a modest life from a life of luxury overnight. Even when Deborah tried to seek out rumored off-shore accounts with millions, the attempt remained futile. “The millions of dollars they said he made – if he did, he was holding out on me,” said Deborah.
Years after Barry’s passing, Deborah still wondered about the truth behind her husband’s murder, particularly due to a number of strange correspondences with one of his killers. The unnamed man spoke to Deborah on three occasions and asked her to visit him to learn the identity of those who contracted Barry’s death. Yet, communications were stopped before the man could disclose much else.
When discussing this incident, Deborah said, “Now, if common knowledge is the cartel did it, why would he tell me there’s something else? I think it’s a deathbed confession. But I’m being prevented from seeing him.”
These days, Deborah Seal lives a life away from the public eye. The mid-to-late 2010s shined some public light on the woman due to the release of ‘American Made,’ yet she only divulged so much information about her life. “I’m worried that people might come out of the woodwork [after the film’s release]. I don’t like attention on me. But I’m not on social media, so I don’t expose myself a lot. I’m very private,” said the woman. Thus, according to the last known reports, Deborah, who never remarried, was living with her daughter, Christina. However, not much else is known about the woman’s personal life.