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"I gotta believe she was a fighter, and it's awfully hard to believe a fighter with that background would take the cheap way out," Straub said."Polo is a knock-down, drag-out sport, with cowboys bumping up against each other, but they let this cowgirl in. She was fit and firm and vigorous and ready to take on the world." Deborah began playing polo while she was still married to Fred Couples, and her obsession with the sport is often mentioned as a major factor in their break-up.There were choices made that are hard to understand. She had a history of depression and had been "severely depressed" during the two weeks before she died of suicide, said Scott Carrier, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner's office. That never changed -- from the day she jumped into her husband's arms after he won the 1983 Kemper Open to the afternoon in May when she leaped to her death from a chapel in Claremont, Calif. Police used Deborah's Florida driver's license -- issued in 1996 when she still had a home in Palm Beach County -- for the initial identification.Some children playing nearby said they saw her walk over to the school's Kresge Chapel and try a door, but it was locked.Then she grabbed hold of the bottom of the chapel's roof maintenance ladder -- which starts several feet from the pavement -- and climbed seven stories straight up to the top.But Joyce Donchess, a longtime friend, told Sports Illustrated she knew Deborah was suicidal.Donchess said she and Deborah had grown up together in San Marino, Calif., and she visited Deborah on the afternoon of the 26th.
When she met Fred at the University of Houston in 1979, she was on the tennis team.
Then again, Deborah Couples, the flamboyant fortysomething ex-wife of golfer Fred Couples, always did manage to make people wonder what she was thinking.