The entire country is has been buzzing about Tampa resident Jill Kelley, but until now, we haven't heard much about her side of the story.
Now, one of her friends is speaking out. Don Phillips is a Tampa businessman who has been a Kelley family friend for years. He says he considers Jill Kelley to be like a sister, and he gave us some insight into what she and her family have been going through.
Phillips says Kelley found herself under intense international media scrutiny suddenly and accidentally, and she's terrified.
Phillips says the news broke on the very same day she planned a birthday party for her child on the lawn of her home.
VIDEO: You can watch the entire interview with Don Phillips in the video player above. It is split into four segments; scroll to the right for segments 2, 3 and 4.
"They didn't really know seemingly what the timing of all of this investigation was and it caught them by surprise. Would they really have been having a birthday party on the lawn for their children if they thought it was going to become this major news piece, and the moment that it did -- hence the picture of the pink dress that SNL made such great fun of," Phillips said.
He says Kelley reached out to a contact at the FBI after received anonymous email messages.
"For the most horrible unintended consequence, Mrs. Kelley, when she became aware of what she just thought was an ill-intentioned stalker who knew an uncommon amount about her schedule and the schedule of her well-placed friends, didn't go to the CIA director, who is very busy taking care of affairs that you and I care most about. So she went to some of her contacts in the community, asked some of their advice," Phillips said.
Little did she know this would to an investigation that resulted in the Petraus controversy going public.
"She's now caused the downfall of the very guy that she was trying to be very careful about to do the most proper thing," Phillips said.
Phillips says Kelley did not know about the affair when she emailed the FBI, and she did not seek notoriety.
"What was her intention?" we asked.
"To deal with this perceived threat to her family of this stalker," Phillips replied.
The threat was in those overly-informed emails believed to have been from Paula Broadwell, the woman involved in an affair with Petraeus.
"Mrs. Kelley and her husband, two people very quietly living out their life, have suddenly been vilified as if she or they were the reason for all of this. And there is very little mention and there is very little discussion about Mrs. Broadwell," Phillips said.
Phillips says he wanted to speak out as a way to support the Kelleys, and he says they know he did this interview. Phillips says they've done a lot for the Tampa community, and they deserve a voice.
We've reached out to Jill Kelley to request an interview, and so far, have not heard back.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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