Taya Kyle, the real-life widow of "American Sniper" Chris Kyle, attended the 87th Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday to honor the late war hero.
Despite being in the midst of an emotional murder trial, the 40-year-old mother of two made her way to Hollywood for the star-studded event to represent Kyle, whose journey inspired Clint Eastwood's Academy Award nominated film "American Sniper." Taya arrived on the red carpet dressed in an emerald green strapless gown and clutching her late husband's dog tags.
"I'm just hoping I make it through without sobbing my eyes out," a candid Taya told People.com. "You know on the drive over here I was just fighting back tears so much and I want to be that type of person that can just appreciate the beautiful things in front of you and feel Chris with me and of course it's bitter-sweet so I'm just trying to stay focused on celebrating not only Chris' service but the work that Warner Brothers ..."
Eastwood's war drama scored six nominations but only managed to win an award for sound editing Sunday night.
The film tells the tragic story of Chris, a former Navy SEAL, who served four tours in Iraq before leaving the military in 2009 to focus on family. On Feb. 2, 2013, he and a friend were gunned down by Eddie Ray Routh, at a Texas gun range and the former Marine is on trial for their murders but has pleaded "not guilty" by reason of insanity.
"I'm really grateful to [Warner Brothers] for first of all making an amazing movie that a military family can relate to and then on a personal level there's no way I could have been here without their help," said Taya, adding that she believes her late husband would be "really happy that so much healing is happening" and that military families were "healing with this movie."
Chris, who became an advocate for veterans' mental health after leaving the military, is widely considered to be the most lethal sniper in U.S. history for having 160 confirmed kills. This number is pegged much higher in his autobiography.
Taya admitted that she still struggles with the loss of her husband and credited faith for providing her the strength to move forward and fight for justice for her late husband.
"It's by the Grace of God and the support of people like you who literally give me the energy to get out of bed each day and see the beauty through the ashes of my life," she wrote in a Facebook post ahead of the Oscars. "I hope the same for all of you. We all struggle and we all have to find the strength to fight another day. I know I am not alone."
Attorneys for Routh argued recently that the "troubled" Marine was experiencing a psychosis allegedly brought on by PTSD when he fatally shot Chris and his friend Chad Littlefield. They said that as a result he could not be held accountable for the murders.
During opening statements, a prosecutor told jurors that Routh "may have been mentally ill, but he still knew right from wrong" when he killed both men.
"The evidence will show that mental illnesses, even the ones that this defense may or may not have, don't deprive people from the ability to be good citizens to know right from wrong, to obey the law," said Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash, "and at the very least not murder people."