Supermodel, billionaire settle child-support dispute
NEW YORK, May 8 — Canadian supermodel Linda Evangelista and French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault yesterday reached a child-support settlement following two days of tense, often personal, court testimony last week in Manhattan.
Lawyers for both parties declined to disclose the settlement. A lawyer for Evangelista called media reports that she sought US$46,000 (RM137,670) a month as a misunderstanding, but acknowledged she was seeking a “substantial” sum to raise their five-year-old son.
Both parties agreed to return to court today to finalise the agreement.
“Everybody’s glad, for the sake of the child, that it’s done,” David Aronson, attorney for Pinault, told reporters outside of court.
The model and Pinault walked out of the courtroom together, whispering. The scene was a stark contrast to last week’s trial, when Evangelista barely acknowledged Pinault and shot him icy glances during opening arguments.
Evangelista, 46, and Pinault, 49, had been embroiled in a contentious child support trial over their son Augustin, conceived during a brief liaison in late 2005.
Pinault testified to ending the relationship after learning Evangelista was pregnant in early 2006. He denied a charge he had asked her to terminate the pregnancy.
Augustin was born in October 2006. Within a year, Pinault would father a child by actress Salma Hayek, named Valentina. Hayek and Pinault married in 2009 in Paris, on Valentine’s Day.
Pinault is chief executive of PPR, a multinational company that owns luxury brands including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. He is worth about US$3 billion, according to Aronson.
Last week, Evangelista’s attorney, William Beslow, grilled Pinault over his finances, the amount he spent on his other children, and about the gifts he’d given Augustin. Beslow had argued Augustin was entitled to financial support on par with Valentina.
Pinault acknowledged he had put his US$12 million Los Angeles home in a trust for Valentina to “reassure” Hayek that she and their child would be taken care of should anything happen to Pinault or to their relationship. Pinault fathered two children by a previous wife before meeting Evangelista.
Last week’s courtroom drama included a series of contentious exchanges, including Pinault’s acknowledgements that he “didn’t even know (Evangelista) very well” when she became pregnant.
Evangelista also gave a detailed account of her rise from a 50-cents-a-basket cherry picker in her Canadian hometown near Niagara Falls to one of the most photographed faces in the world. — Reuters