Real Erin Brockovich Snubbed, Sued

ByABC News
March 27, 2001, 9:05 PM

March 26 -- Sure, life is glamorous these days for Erin Brockovich, now that Julia Roberts has parlayed the legal secretary's real-life story into a box-office hit and a Best Actress Oscar, but the fame has brought Brockovich her share of troubles.

First, we must address the celebrity snubbing angle: The real Erin Brockovich (as we must now and forever refer to her to avoid confusion) wasn't at the Shrine Auditorium to share in the glory on Julia's big night. She was reportedly home nursing a sick child.

Even worse, in her seemingly endless acceptance speech, Roberts forgot to thank her real-life inspiration, though she amended the omission backstage.

Back in the real world, the twice-divorced mother of three, who's already in a legal tangle with her first husband, is now being sued for defamation by her second ex.

According to, Brockovich's second husband, Steven Brockovich, filed suit against her Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, accusing her of defaming him in People magazine and tabloid The Star with claims that he was a deadbeat dad.

Coincidentally, Brockovich's first husband, Shawn Brown, is currently on trial for attempting to blackmail her with claims that she had an affair with attorney Ed Masry (portrayed by Oscar nominee Albert Finney in the film).

On Thursday, Brockovich testified in a Ventura, Calif., courtroom. "It has been a difficult task raising children with an absent father and no child support. The one thing I have been is a good mom to my kids," she said, while wiping away tears, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The real-life Masry characterized the suit to as "just another attempt by a whole group of ex-husbands, etc., to try and get money from this successful woman." He told the Web site, "I can't think of a harder way to earn money than to sue Erin Brockovich."