She was 12 years old and he was 9 when they first met, so Brandy and Roy Halladay have known each other for a long time. So she has a fairly good idea what her husband was going through for the last six months as the hottest commodity on the baseball market.

Plus, she said, there was never a time when her husband kept her or their 9-year-old son, Braden, out of the loop. This was a family decision, Roy Halladay told her. He wanted to go to a franchise where he could win, but his family remained a strong factor in the decision, too.

"This, as hard as it was, made our family stronger," Brandy Halladay said. "It makes you realize the things that truly are important. My husband, as big as all this is, never put us second. Not one time. And that is huge for me."

All through his introductory news conference as a member of the Phillies, Roy Halladay emphasized the comfort of this opportunity for his family. During the off-season, the Halladays live in Odessa, Fla., about 25 miles north of the Phillies' spring-training complex in Clearwater. Staying on the East Coast will allow Roy Halladay to see his family on a regular basis.

"That's why this is the best place for us," Brandy Halladay said. "He can still be a father; he can still be a husband and continue to strive for the goals he set for himself professionally. It's absolutely pivotal."

For the Halladays, who were both raised as members of the Mormon church (but are no longer practicing), family values are important, she said. So much so that when one of his agents called with details of a Phillies offer, Halladay put Braden, his oldest of two sons, on the phone to evaluate the offer.

"He's been so involved with all of this," Halladay said. "He's a die-hard fan. As much as we could, we tried to keep him involved. He made the right choice."

The process was humbling, too, Brandy Halladay said. When he played for Toronto, her husband would often not look at his pay stub, instead handing it to her. Those checks will be even bigger this season, but that means there is a greater opportunity to give back, she said.

And achieve that other goal.

"We're well-off," she said. "We have plenty of money. We don't have a ring."