Why Becoming the ‘American Sniper’ Could Have Cost Chris Kyle His Family

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While Chris Kyle was one of the most prestigious servicemen to ever fight for the U.S., the battles waged once he arrived home were far harder to win. 

Before Kyle's best-selling book "American Sniper" would inspire a film of the same name starring Bradley Cooper, he and his wife, Taya, spoke with Inside Edition about the hardships faced both far and near.  

“It’s my duty to serve my country. I always put country before my family and that definitely caused tension," he told Inside Edition in 2012. 

"My heart couldn't take it any more and our life was falling apart,” Taya said. “I do remember sitting down at the table with him, it was our kitchen table and feeling terrified. Telling him, 'I couldn't do it anymore.’”

Kyle by then was a military legend, having served four tours of Iraq as a U.S. Navy SEAL. During his time serving, Kyle was responsible for more than 150 sniper kills. 

"The only reason I look good is I'm surrounded by heroes," he said of his fellow soldiers. 

While Taya was as proud of her husband as he was by his brothers and sisters in arms, she noted she lived in constant fear, especially after she learned that terrorists in Iraq had placed a $20,000 bounty on his head.

"He was never safe. It didn't matter if there was a bounty or there was never a bounty," Taya added.

Ten years of continuous combat took its toll on Chris as well.

"I could not bring myself to ask him to stop. It was his dream job," she said. "He was constantly deployed and always in a war zone. I don't know that many people who had that many years in a row of constant wartime deployment without a break."

Chris finally realized he needed to make his wife and children a priority over his military career. So he retired from the Navy Seals after being awarded two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars, all with valor.

But life at home was senselessly cut short when in February 2013, Kyle was murdered. 

Former U.S. Marine, Eddie Ray Routh, was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when he shot Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield as they walked to set up targets at a shooting range.    

Kyle and Littlefield had invited Routh to the exclusive Rough Creek Ranch-Lodge-Resort in Glen Rose, Texas, in an effort to help Routh in his mental health recovery. Routh suffered from PTSD from his time in the military and had been in and out of mental hospitals for at least two years. He was also diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Routh was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. His sentencing came two years after the killings, but Kyle's death was still hard for Taya to comprehend.  

“Sometimes I don't think he's even gone," Taya told Inside Edition after the sentencing. "He's such a part of who I am, such a part of my kids. He protected his fellow man, got through hell and back with his soul intact."

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