I want Linda Evangelista is send me a thank you note. Wouldn’t that be great? I think I deserve some credit, y’all. Over the course of just three days and only two days of child support testimony, I changed my tune. When we first started covering the child support case – where Linda Evangelista was suing Francois-Henri Pinault (husband of Salma Hayek) for $46,000 a month in child support for their son Augie – I didn’t come down on any side. But on Sunday, I wrote about the case again, and I ended up coming down on Team Evangelista, simply because Pinault was coming across like such a cheap-ass d-bag. And maybe my voice was one of many in the changing tide against Pinault. Maybe Pinault and his lawyers finally realized how his testimony sounded so out-of-touch and smarmy. Because now Enavgelista and Pinault have come to some kind of agreement. Linda probably isn’t getting $46,000 but rest assured, Pinault will be paying:
Supermodel Linda Evangelista reached a settlement today in her bitterly-contested child support battle with her billionaire French baby-daddy, Francois-Henri Pinault — then came to court wearing a sunny smile and a chiffon dress fit for a garden party.
“He has gone a long way toward meeting those original demands,” a source close to the negotiation said of Pinault, who had been on the hook for a potential $46,000 a month that Evangelista said she needed for the nannies, chauffeurs, bodyguards and other expenses of Augustin, the five-year-old son conceived during their whirlwind 2005 affair.
Pinault, 49, is the CEO of the Paris-based luxury conglomerate that owns Gucci and Yves St. Laurent. He is raising a four-year-old daughter, Valentina, with his glamorous wife, movie star Salma Hayek, who he met four months after ditching Evangelista in January, 2006 — right after learning the cat walker was pregnant.
In previous court hearings, Evangelista’s lawyer has complained that while Pinault lavishes wealth on Valentina, he paid virtually nothing to support Augie prior to a temporary court order last year.
Today’s surprise settlement — presumed to be snugly in the five-figures per month — was reached by telephone this morning, the source said, declining to give an exact figure.
The settlement came as an international press corps descended on the courthouse to cover Evangelista’s second day of testimony in the highly-publicized case. Evangelista’s testimony, now no longer necessary, would have touched on such sensitive topics as whether Pinault initial preference was that the baby be aborted — something Evangelista was set to aver, and which Pinault has denied through a spokesman.
Evangelista’s “abortion” testimony would have dealt a public relations blow to the wealthy female clientele of Pinault, whose company also owns the luxury brands Bottega Veneta and Boucheron. Had she taken the stand today, Evangelista, 46, was also due to detail how Pinault had asked for a DNA test prior to acknowledging paternity — another less-than-sympathetic revelation for the ladies who shop.
“The parties have reached an agreement in principal, which we will present to your honor tomorrow,” Evangelista lawyer William Beslow told the support magistrate in today’s brief proceeding, which was attended by both Evangelista and Pinault.
“I agree with what Mr. Beslow says and join in the agreement,” added Pinault’s lawyer, David Aronson.
The cat walker wore a summery, floral-print dress of pleated chiffon, and chatted almost warmly with her old flame as they left the courtroom, shoulders brushing. In a previous hearing last year, she had presented Pinault with a list of little “Augie’s” expenses totaling more than $46,000 a month — a figure that included $15-16,000 a month for gun-toting, ex-NYPD detective chauffeurs, plus a 24-hour nanny costing almost $7,000 a month.
“I say this with Mr. Beslow beside me — everybody’s glad,” Aronson told reporters afterward. “For the sake of the child,” he added.
The lawyers — though not Pinault and Evangelista — will return to court tomorrow as a formality, to show the magistrate the paperwork for their settlement. It is not likely that the dollar amounts or any other details will be put on the court record, Aronson said.
Just how well Evangelista and Augie made out remains a mystery. But another source who was informed of the negotiations insisted that the final number “Is not close to the original demands,” meaning not near the $46,000 number initially bandied about.
[From The New York Post]
If I’m reading between the lines correctly, Pinault cried uncle and Linda made just enough concessions to make Pinault feel like a big man. My guess at the money situation? Probably a trust in Augie’s name worth a few million, and Augie will come into it when he’s 18 years old. Plus, maybe $30,000 a month for Linda. That’s just my guess!
Here’s an honest question, and I’m not asking this to be anti-French at all, this is seriously a theory I have: do you think Pinault was taken aback by the lack of respect he got in New York? He’s a major figure in France, and had this child support case played out in the French courts, I think the result would be very, very different. I think Pinault came into this case thinking that with his money, his public persona and his lawyers, he could push Evangelista around and wage a PR campaign to make her look like a money-hungry shrew. He totally didn’t understand how some Americans would find Evangelista sympathetic, and even more than that, they would find him, Pinault, to be rather vile. Was this all just a massive PR miscalculation?
Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.