A visibly pregnant Reese Witherspoon appeared at an emergency competency hearing for her father on Friday where a judge decided in a closed court room whether John Witherspoon is able to handle his own financial affairs.
Witherspoon's mother is suing her husband, the Oscar-winning actress' father, for bigamy, saying that he took part in an illegal marriage that she learned about from the local newspaper. She is seeking to have the marriage annulled.
The family fears that the woman John Witherspoon married may be trying to take advantage of his finances.
The court proceedings on Friday were closed, however Witherspoon and her brother asked a judge to place their father under a conservatorship, The Tennessean reported.
"The concern was that the father had gone off and married someone and therefore he is really not in the right state and the family is very concerned that he may be doing things that really are contrary to his best interests," said Dana Cole, a legal expert. "They felt a court order was needed to prevent him from continuing to have a relationship with this particular woman."
Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Witherspoon and John Witherspoon, 70, have been married for 42 years, so the actress' mother said she was surprised to see a wedding announcement saying her husband had married a woman named Tricianne Taylor in an "intimate doubled-ringed ceremony" at a "private chalet," with the bride in a "full-length formal ivory satin gown" and the groom in a "white linen suit."
Witherspoon's family believes John Witherspoon is being taken advantage of by his new wife, a twice-divorced former salon owner, and is unable to protect himself.
On Friday, a restraining order was granted barring Taylor from using the Witherspoon name.
Betty Witherspoon said Taylor, 60, tried to take out bank loans in her husband's name, according to court documents, which also allege John Witherspoon did not remember wedding Taylor.
Betty and John Witherspoon have lived in separate houses in Nashville since 1996 due to John Witherspoon's "alcoholism, overspending, infidelity and hoarding," documents stated.
Betty Witherspoon said that when she asked John about his marriage, he claimed to have no idea who Tricianne Taylor was, although the affidavit also says John had tried to bring Taylor to Reese's wedding last year, but the woman was turned away because she was not on the guest list.
Both parties have failed to respond to a request for comments.
"This is obviously a very difficult situation and for someone who's as private as Reese Witherspoon," Charlotte Triggs, staff writer at People magazine, said. "It's really a stressful time for her."
According to their wedding announcement, John Witherspoon and Tricianne Taylor are supposed to have a wedding celebration this summer in Nashville.