Wife's $9M Message to Mistresses: 'Lay Off'

The law was in the news earlier this year after Andrew Young, a longtime aid to disgraced former presidential candidate and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, said Edwards' wife threatened to bring an alienation of affection claim against Young.

ABC News reported in February that in such a lawsuit, Elizabeth Edwards could argue that Young, by allegedly helping cover up John Edwards' extramarital affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter, was partly responsible for the failure of the Edwards' marriage.

Rosen said that alienation of affection claims evolved from common law under which women were considered the property of their husbands. If another man was accused of stealing his "property," a husband could sue him for damages. Today, both men and women sue under the law.

Cynthia Shackelford feels fortunate to live in a state where alienation of affection claims are recognized. Though she blames both her husband and Lundquist for the affair, she hopes her case convinces women to think twice about pursuing romances with married men.

"It takes two to do it, but it does sometimes take one to push in to something and create a problem," she said.

Shackelford said that her husband and Lundquist met while Lundquist worked as a dean at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C.. The college, at the time, received legal service from Allan Shackelford, who was then practicing law in North Carolina. (Shackelford's North Carolina law license since has been suspended for his failure to complete continuing legal education requirements in the state, according to the North Carolina State Bar.)

In her lawsuit, Shackelford claimed Lundquist began "deliberately to seduce" Allan Shackelford in November 2004 or earlier.

Cynthia Shackelford told ABCNews.com that at first, Allan Shackelford began giving Lundquist rides home from work. Eventually, she began noticing unexplained charges to expensive restaurants on his credit card bills and cell phone bills showing many calls to Lundquist.

When Shackelford confronted her husband about her suspicions, he would insist that Lundquist was "just a friend."

Husband Hasn't Paid Alimony

Still worried, Shackelford hired a private investigator. The investigator, she said, saw her husband and Lundquist spending time together at the Shackelfords' Greensboro home.

"It was at that point [that] I went and saw the attorney," Cynthia Shackelford said. "I said, 'This is not going to fly anymore.'"

The couple separated in 2005 and sold the five-bedroom Greensboro home. Today, Cynthia Shackelford lives with her dog in an apartment in Raleigh, N.C., and struggles to make ends meet through an hourly job at a retail store.

A former teacher, Shackelford said she gave up that career to raise the couple's two children and now, at 60, her job options are limited.

Shackelford's lawyer, William Jordan, said her husband was ordered to pay her $5,000 a month in alimony, but he has yet to do so. That may be part of the reason that the jury in last week's case, Jordan said, opted to provide his client such a large award.

But it's unclear whether Cynthia Shackelford will ever see any of the $9 million she's now owed by Lundquist. Lundquist, who did not appear at last week's trial, told The Greensboro News & Record that she plans to appeal the case.

"I'm so caught off guard by everything," she said. "I don't have a lot of money, so where this $9 million comes from is kind of hysterical."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...