Christie Brinkley and her fourth husband, architect Peter Cook, divorced after 12 years in 2008. The divorce was public and we learned some pretty damning details about Cook, including the fact that he’d had an affair with an 18 year-old intern he hired (and later paid a reported $300,000 to keep quiet) and that he had a very expensive online porn habit, costing thousands a month. Christie and Peter have two children, daughter Sailor Lee, 13, and son Jack, 16. (Jack is from Christie’s third marriage, to Richard Taubman, and was adopted by Peter. Christie also has daughter Alexa Ray Joel, 26, from her first marriage, to Billy Joel.)
Some think Christie should have kept all of her husband’s ridiculous indiscretions quiet in order to spare their then-tween children the details. I initially had that opinion, but Christie is claiming that she had nothing to do with the fact that her divorce was public and that Peter spread that story in order to malign her.
After I saw Peter interviewed on 20/20 in late 2008, I had much more sympathy for Christie. Peter basically blamed Christie for the fact that he cheated on her, and used the old “my wife wasn’t paying attention to me” line. He said crap like “I was seeking a connection I could not find in my own marriage” as if all of that was on Christie, not him. Later we found out that he had secretly made sex tapes of himself with his 18 year-old mistress, with the mistress publicly stating that it was without her knowledge or consent.
Well now Christie Brinkley, 58, is returning to Broadway in “Chicago,” and she’s still feuding with her ex over child support and visitation issues. Peter pays $1,200 a month child support, but he’s not up to date on his payments. After Christie filed paperwork with the courts claiming she was owed child support and that Peter was sending her nasty e-mails, Peter went on Nightline earlier this month and spewed a bunch of crap about how Christie was “publicly castrating him.” (His interview starts at 1:55 into this video.) Peter claimed that he didn’t owe support for a period of time in which Christie was away working, because he was watching the kids full time. Well Christie did her first interview on her divorce on The Today Show this morning. She also claimed that Peter has been trying to destroy her image, she called him a narcissist and she broke down crying.
“Since the day that he realized that I was not coming back, there has been a real character assassination going on. I asked for and got a confidentiality agreement with the original divorce. I alone have maintained the confidentiality agreement.
“I had offers for a sympathetic show from Oprah… everyone asked me to come on, I did not want to do it.”
“I have turned the other cheek,” she said, adding that her former spouse of 12 years has repeatedly taken to the airwaves to air their dirty laundry. “There’s not one quote from me, anywhere. This is the first time I’ve ever been on a show (to talk about the split).
“I’m really here because next week I’m going to start promoting Chicago. This became such a big deal. I’ve endured about two weeks of lies and stories, when actually four months prior… I quietly filed to protect my family from that. Part of my suit, I was actually clear to the judge ‘please determine this on paper.’
She revealed that Cook pays $600 per month for each of their children, though he has been quoted as saying he pays “double” what’s required by courts. “It’s a very minimal amount of money,” she said. “And it wasn’t (about) the money. I have hesitated to do anything with the court because he actually likes the publicity and he likes going to court.”
While Cook has called Brinkley a “narcissistic egomaniac,” Brinkley seems to feel much the same way about him: “I have never taken part in name calling. The only thing I’ve ever said … at the end of that (second) trial I said as a public service, ‘Google “divorcing a narcissist.”‘ … I’m not alone. I’ve gotten hundreds of letters from women that are going through this. It’s not easy.”
Lauer was concerned about the impact all of this back-and-forth between the parents was having on their teenaged children; Brinkley returned that there should be “legislation that protects families from a spouse who has been diagnosed by the court-appointed forensic psychiatrist as a bona fide malignant or extreme narcissist…. This is something the courts need to come to grips with.”
But as time wound down, and there was little chat of “Chicago,” Brinkley lost her own grip. While telling Lauer she has not been in touch with Cook for two years, though “he continues to contact me,” she said she asked a judge to “please make this stop, protect my right to peace. I just want peace for my family.”
Tears welling in her eyes, Brinkley said, “I just want peace. And every time I have any joy or any kind of success in anything, he has to try to destroy it.”
The stuff about the confidentiality agreement didn’t sound entirely right to me. As I mentioned, I thought that Christie fought to have the divorce made public, however she told Matt Lauer that “in New York State divorce court is always open. I had my trial like every other woman going through a divorce.” She might not be able to write a book about it, but all the crap that her ex did is already out there. I did find the rest of her argument somewhat persuasive. Her ex went on TV complaining about her after she filed what she says was standard court paperwork for child support. She’s claiming that she didn’t mean for this to be public at all. So now she’s trying to clear the air and defend herself.
As the article above explains, Matt tried to call out Christie for feuding with her ex and creating a “poisonous atmosphere” which could “severly impact” the children. She then retorted that her ex husband is a narcissist and has a personality disorder. She didn’t take any responsibility for her relationship with him, but I’m not in her position and maybe it’s as bad as she’s saying. It didn’t make sense to me in that she still seems to be blaming him, though. She then broke down crying, saying that she just hopes for peace in her life. At least Lauer made the point that there are two sides to every story. I tend to agree with him.
Christie is show at the Heart Truth’s Red Dress Fashion Show on 2-8-12. Credit: Darla Khazei, PacificCoastNews.com. Note that I didn’t pick the worst photos of her on purpose. These are the most recent photos of Christie that we have, and they all look like this. Peter Cook is shown at an event in the Hamptons on 5-29-10. Credit: WENN.com