Is The Vow with Rachel McAdams based on a true story?

The 2012 movie The Vow is the screen adaptation of a 2000 book by the same name

The Vow
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

The 2012 romantic drama The Vow is currently trending on Netflix - a fact that doesn't surprise us given the success of the film when it was first released. 

Both old and newer fans of the movie, which stars Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, who is currently working on a Ghost remake, have a single question in mind while streaming the production: Is The Vow based on a true story?

Turns out that the film is actually inspired by the events chronicled in an eponymous book by one Kim Carpenter that was released back in 2000.


The Vow tells the story of Paige and Leo Collins, newlyweds who are seen exiting a movie theater at the beginning of the film. While driving home, the couple gets into a bad car accident that leaves Paige in an induced coma. 

Once she wakes up, Paige no longer recognizes her husband and also realizes she's had a weird relationship with her wealthy parents, who have actually never met Leo. The character does, however, remember her ex-fiance Jeremy and builds a relationship with him while recovering from the accident.

The sentimental movie also features flashbacks that dissect Leo and Paige’s relationship, showing audiences how the two met, fell in love and got married, while showcasing other personal relationships of Paige's.

Needless to say, Leo spends the movie trying to have his wife fall in love with him all over again.


Rachel McAdams takes on the role of Paige opposite Channing Tatum’s Leo, but the cast of The Vow also includes Jessica Lange and Sam Neill as the protagonist's parents Rita and Bill Thornton. Scott Speedman plays Paige's ex, Jeremy, and Jessica McNamee is Gwen Thornton, Paige's sister.


The Vow is loosely based on the real-life relationship between Krickitt and Kim Carpenter, who actually wrote an eponymous book about his experience that was released in the year 2000.

As documented in the literary piece of work, the Carpenters got into a car accident on September 18, 1993, just ten weeks after getting married.

Krickitt unfortunately suffered memory loss and no longer remembered meeting her husband Kim or even getting married to him. 

Sadly, she never regained her memory but did start falling in love with her husband all over again. The two even renewed their vows in 1996 and had children together: their son Danny, who was born in 2000, and their daughter LeeAnn, born in 2003.

The Vow

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

"I made a vow, she would never have married a man who walked away," Kim said to Inside Edition  in 2012, at the premiere of the movie based on their journey, explaining the title of his book.

However, in 2018, the couple announced their upcoming divorce in reaction to Kim's alleged infidelities. 

"Kim was having an affair, I never thought that was a road we would go down because I made a vow for life," Krickitt said to Inside Edition then. "It was shocking and surprising to me because we were so committed to each other and to the vow."

A few months after Kim admitted to the affair, Krickitt moved into a townhouse with LeeAnn and Danny moved in with his father.


The Vow is currently available for streaming on Netflix in the UK and on HBO Max and Amazon Prime to all subscribers in the United States.

Anna Rahmanan

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.