Supermodel Linda Evangelista, French Tycoon Duke it Out Over Child Support
By Carlos Boettcher and Candace Smith
In the second day of the battle of the malcontent millionaires, Linda Evangelista, 46, duked it out, litigation-style, with her former lover Francois Henri-Pinault, 49, on Friday over how much money she would receive in monthly expenses for their 5-year-old son, Augustin.
Evangelista was reportedly asking for upward of $46,000 in monthly expenses for Augustin (also known as Augie), and though she denied such a figure in court on Thursday, no additional figure has been floated.
David Aronson, Pinault's attorney, argued in a New York family court that the issue is wholly moot, contending that Pinault initially reached out to Evangelista and her former lawyer, Francois Chateau, in 2007 asking for a decision regarding child support. He says that the letter was met with no response. A letter sent from Pinault's attorneys to Chateau reads, "Dear Francois, your silence is deafening… we owe it to our clients to conclude this matter."
"When I make an offer, if there is not an answer, that means no," said Pinault in court on Friday.
Though Pinault had known he was Augie's father since January 2007, he did not recognize Augie as his son until 2009 after actress Salma Hayek had given birth to their daughter Valentina. When asked the reason for his clandestineness, Pinault admitted that he had been more concerned with Valentina at the time. They had thought for five months that Valentina had Down's Syndrome and Pinault professed in court that "we almost lost the baby."
Evangelista has been riled for asking for wild demands including a 24 hour nanny and bodyguard for Augie, with critics questioning if these expenses were not just means to gain funds for herself under the guise of child support.
"Most of the expenses [in Evangelista's list of $46,000-a-month in child care expenses] do not relate to Augie but they relate to Ms. Evangelista," Aronson, said in opening statements yesterday.
Beslow shot down that argument in court today, citing legal documents created for Valentina that says any legal guardian can materially benefit from the provisions of her trust, saying that it's hypocritical not to award Evangelista child support just because she may thusly benefit from it.
Staying true to her modeling roots, Evangelista was fashionably late for the second day, entering the court with powerhouse style in a white pencil skirt, slate-colored blazer, and python Christian Louboutin stilettos.
Evangelista's lawyer, William Beslow, sought to shoot holes in Pinault's argument that he treats Augie as well as he treats his other three children. Beslow noted that Pinault spent 260,000 euros on gifts in 2010. Only two of those gifts were for Augie, he noted, one of which Pinault cited as being from FAO Schwartz, "a piano thing", he said.
Valentina, Pinault's daughter with actress Salma Hayek, has been taken on a $52,000- 12-day vacation to Bora Bora and has a $12 million Los Angeles home in a trust for her.
All this comes after a thrill-rocked hearing on Thursday, in which lawyers for Evangelista claimed that Pinault had asked her to abort the baby and said that he never responded to child support claims. He insisted that he offered a counter-offer to her intial report in 2007, an offer he says went unanswered.
"I'm not going to pay money I'm not asked for," Pinault said Thursday.
Pinault is the chief executive of PPR, his family's company that owns such luxury brands as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Heir to the $11.5 billion empire, Pinault brings in $4 million to $5 million annually.
Evangelista, a mogul in her own right, is the former face of L'Oreal Paris and has graced the cover of over 600 magazine covers and is worth $8 million.