Former supermodel Linda Evangelista clashed in court with Frenchman Francois-Henri Pinault over child support for her son fathered by the Gallic tycoon, one of France’s wealthiest men.
In what could be one of the most expensive child support cases ever, Evangelista wants $46,000 a month for 5-year-old Augustin, including a bodyguard, a driver and a 24-hour nanny, according to a list by Pinault’s lawyers.
Evangelista’s attorney William Beslow disputed the amount, but gave no figure for how much the Canadian ex-model is seeking to support “Augie” from billionaire Pinault.
Dressed in dark glasses and Louboutin high heels, Evangelista on Thursday arrived 15 minutes late for the hearing in a Manhattan family court, before the 49-year-old Frenchman took the stand first.
Pinault, who heads the PPR luxury goods conglomerate whose brands include Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, testified for more than an hour, and was pressed at length about his “incredible” wealth.
Beslow had the French businessman describe his many businesses, positions, homes and luxury holidays spent with his three other children, but never with Augustin, who was born in October 2006.
Speaking in English, Pinault said he had only known the ex-model for four months, and they had only spent seven days together, when she announced she was pregnant in early 2006.
“I asked Linda what were her intentions with the pregnancy, we were dating for four months, we had been together seven days, I didn’t know her very well,” he said, avoiding looking at Evangelista, 46.
“She told me if I didn’t want to be involved to raise that kid, she would understand and she would take care of the kid… I was not involved in the decision of having the baby.”
Conceding that he broke off their relationship, Pinault added: “Then of course, I told her I would recognize the baby, which I did. I would take my responsibility and I did.”
The businessman acknowledged that he had not paid any child support for Augustin, but said he was the first one to raise the issue in 2007. “I received a demand that was not reasonable,” he said.
Pinault is due to continue his testimony on Friday. Evangelista will take the stand after him, in a case expected to last four days.
The record for a US child support ruling is currently held by rapper Sean “P. Diddy”, who was ordered in 2005 to pay $19,000 a month to his former lover Misa Hylton Brim, with whom he had a son, Justin, now 18.
Pinault has been married since 2009 to actress Salma Hayek, with whom he has a four-year-old daughter, Valentina. He also has two other children from a previous marriage.