Mischa Barton is suing her mother for stealing her mansion, money

Mischa Barton filed suit in LA Superior Court this week against her own mother. Mischa’s suit alleges that her mother, working as her manager since Mischa was a child, siphoned money from Mischa’s earnings and conspired to steal and defraud her for years. The suit describes how Nuala Barton regularly stole from Mischa, opened side businesses under Mischa’s name, put her name on the deed to Mischa’s mansion without informing her about it, and even kicked Mischa out of her own home. Nuala put Mischa on an “allowance” of her own money, leaving Mischa unable to pay her bills. What’s more is that Nuala would sign Mischa up for endorsement deals without her permission, including for a weight loss drug called Proactal. Mischa didn’t learn that she was supposedly representing Proactal until they threatened her with breach of contract. She’s since fired her mother and hired another manager.

The lawsuit is long and you can read the full PDF here on E! Online. Some excerpts from the suit are below and there are summaries on E! and People:

This action arises from the tragic tale of a greedy stage mother posing as a talent manager who, instead of acting in the best interest of her daughter/client, schemed to defraud her unsuspecting victim. In the process, Defendant Nuala Barton… forged documents and has even kicked Barton out of her own home – the home purchased with Barton’s money but that Nuala has turned into her own personal ATM. Barton now seeks recovery of what her own mother stole from her and to be able to proceed with her career free of the meddling that Nuala continues to engage in and the damages she continues to cause.

As Barton’s manager, Nuala committed a series of egregious acts to intentionally exploit and harm her own daughter, including (1) inducing Barton to purchase a $7.8 million Beverly Hills home, granting herself a one-half undivided interest in the property, and encumbering the property with two deeds of trust without providing adequate documentation to Barton or an explanation of her rights; (2) withholding Barton’s compensation for her acting, modeling and endorsement work and refusing to provide transparency with respect to the accounting for such compensation; (3) lying to Barton by representing that Barton’s compensation for a particular film was less than what was actually negotiated and paid by the production company so that she could pocket the difference; (4) exploiting Barton’s name, image and likeness to create side businesses – including a Mischa Barton handbag line and Mischa Barton fashion boutique – without compensating Barton for said exploitation or sharing in the profits; and (5) damaging Barton’s reputation in the industry and exposing Barton to legal liability by entering Barton into contracts for endorsement of certain productions without first informing Barton of her obligations under said contracts.

Neither Nuala nor Barton’s father, Paul, has had a job independent of Barton in over a decade. Instead, they sit back expecting their daughter’s hard work and dedication to her craft to support their lifestyle. Both comfortably reside in the $7.8 million Beverly Hills home that was purchased with Barton’s funds while Barton is not welcome at the property…

These revelations of exploitation and fraud, coupled with ongoing instances of bullying and verbal abuse, eventually led to the breakdown of Barton and Nuala’s personal and professional relationship.

[From PDF of Mischa Barton’s lawsuit, available on E!]

Mischa’s lawyer is an excellent writer, right? I love the turns of phrase in that lawsuit, it’s like a screenplay. I guess we now know what’s been going on with Mischa over the years, and her 2009 breakdown (which she blamed on medication for wisdom tooth surgery) makes a lot more sense. She’s seemed somewhat out of it in the past, maybe with substance abuse issues, and definitely with delusions about her career. Mischa must have been dealing so much if her mother was emotionally and financially abusing her like that. If this is all true, it’s despicable. Her parents have been exploiting her since she was eight. I hope that Mischa is able to get her mansion and some of her earnings back.

2014 BritWeek Robertson Shopping Stroll

2014 BritWeek Robertson Shopping Stroll

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66 Responses to “Mischa Barton is suing her mother for stealing her mansion, money”

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  1. The Other Katherine says:

    Poor Mischa. Jesus. That money’s going to be long gone now, unfortunately. 🙁

    • doofus says:

      seriously…that SUCKS. her public behavior over the past several years prob had a lot to do with all of this.

      • Bridget says:

        Mischa is just one giant cautionary tale. Her parents are awful but they are far from her only problem. She rode very high for a brief period of time but utterly sabotaged herself with a poor attitude and drug use – she ran with a very hard partying crowd. This is a girl who willingly dated Brandon Davis, after all.

        I personally think her odd behavior is a result of her struggles with sobriety. It’s gotta be hard to do it without the support of your parents.

      • QQ says:

        I totally agree with You Bridget, sure her mom is probably TERRIBLE But this girl brought a LOT of it upon herself and on top of that her attitude and acting like she was better than the material Tales were LEGEND

      • Bridget says:

        Don’t get me wrong, they were pretty clearly terrible parents that let their kids run wild (reportedly Mischa’s younger sister is a piece of work too) but Mischa made an awful lot of bad decisions on her own. The difference is just that she didn’t have a good parent to temper that.

      • Tulip says:

        I have mixed feelings about this.

        I would file the whole thing under “one big f— up” and not go digging into whether Mischa “deserved” it or not.

        Again you are responsible for you, but I would feel a lot of bitterness if a main support like my family screwed me over like that. In that mess, even as a 20 something, I’d rebel too. And Misha got into stupid things, but she didn’t hire a hit man, so let’s give her that, because people can get that insane over money, but she never did.

        Horrible parents though.

      • LAK says:

        I’m very confused. Is she complaining that she didn’t know about the boutique and the handbag line? There is lots of media of Mischa promoting these two things, store opening, advertising etc.

        Unless she was not compensated for her part.

        Also, considering her substance issues, perhaps the parents didn’t think she’d be able to handle her professional and financial life which is why she was on a ‘salary’ rather than running through her money trying to keep up with the Hiltons Etal – see how that worked out for Lindsay’s finances.

        The size of her mansion is definitive example of her trying to keep up with the Hiltons when she didn’t have similar long term level of income, and her parents taking half of it was probably their way of making sure she had a place at the end of it all – again see Lindsay.

        Everything we’ve seen in public shows that Mischa isn’t able to handle her financial life and perhaps her parents see that clearly and keep her on a tight leash as a result.

        On the otherhand, the parents could be as terrible as presented here, BUT this is one of those murkier cases where nothing is simple.

      • Bridget says:

        @tulip: no one’s saying that Mischa “deserves” being swindled by her parents (if that’s the case) but that there is an awful lot more going on here. This girl has made some supremely bad decisions over the years.

        @LAK I said the same thing downthread. I can’t believe she bought a $7.8 million house in the first place. Even in her most successful days that would have been financially unwise.

    • Jegede says:

      There is a lot more to this story than the ‘poor me’ Misha version.

      She had a very torrid history with out of control drug and alcohol abuse.
      If it weren’t for her mom and dad’s involvement, and her dad’s background in finance …. Misha probably would have lost everything years ago, and a lot more.

      Not exonerating the parents, but the truth is likely murkier.

  2. Greek Chic says:

    I can’t decide who gets the worst mother award…PMK, Dina Lohan or Nuala Barton.

    • Loulou says:

      Hollywood definitely has a population of scummy moms.

      • mimif says:

        Leighton Meester’s mum is a real piece of work too.

      • oneshot says:

        @mimif – at least Leighton herself has turned out free of any issues and a successful, responsible adult. Greedy mom failed totally at ruining her life, thank god.

    • Mia V. says:

      PMK is trash, but she’s at least very professional and her kids don’t even have talent. Dina Lohan and Nuala Barton had kids with talent, abused them since kids and now they have nothing. They win.

      • Greek Chic says:

        If i’m right Kim’s sex tape was Kris’s idea so i wouldn’t describe her as professional. Pimp suits her better.

      • Mia V. says:

        @Greek Chic she is a pimp, but she is a more professional pimp than the other moms.

      • Greek Chic says:

        You are right. She takes her job as a pimp seriously lol

      • OriginalTessa says:

        It’s pretty obvious to me that Kris loves her kids and her whole goal is for them to be successful first and foremost, and then she can reap the benefits… after they do. And to her credit, their success is due to her managing “skills”, so a lot of that money rightfully belongs to Kris. This is different. I don’t even think Dina would blatantly steal from Lindsay in this way. This seems like a case of two people with a daughter that had a lot of money, got into drugs, and saw that as an opening to instate their own little “conservator-ship” over her without any legal backing. Their side is probably somewhere in that realm. They believe they are protecting her fortune so she can’t squander it. And guess what? That might be true.

      • Dani says:

        Ugh I HATE defending the Kardashian’s but Kris didn’t tell Kim to make the sex tape. It’s on one of the verrrry old episodes of KUWTK where Kris tells Kim, now that it’s already leaked and you can’t do anything about it, at least profit from it. It was already sold to Vivid by the time Kris found out it was leaked, so she bargained a deal with them.

      • Bobbiesue says:

        Brooke Shields’ mother seems to fall into this category, as well. There have been rumors for years but apparently Brooke just wrote a tell-all. Really sad.

      • Greek Chic says:

        Dani I think they wanted to present it as a leaked tape. They would never admit that Kris orchestrated everything. Paris Hilton became famous from a sex tape and Kim wanted to follow her steps IMO.
        Just because Kris was saying that she has nothing to do with the sex tape at a KUWTK episode doesn’t mean that is true. They are liars.
        A mother that wants to protect her daughter from humiliation would try to ban the tape, not make a deal and gain money.

      • QQ says:

        don’t forget Drew Barrymore and the Culkins in the list of Worst Parents

      • Tifygodess says:

        @dani it’s already been proven their show is full of lies and a chance to rewrite history. It came out during Kims divorce to Kris they fabricated scenes to make him look like the bad guy and also sold stories to the press. I don’t know why anyone would believe what they say on this faux scripted reality show.

      • Ange says:

        The mother of that younger girl from Modern Family is bloody awful too.

    • kai says:

      what does PMK stand for? Pimp mother Kardashian?

    • bns says:

      You forgot Jaid Barrymore.

  3. Talie says:

    I don’t know, maybe if her mother wasn’t watching her money and giving her an allowance, she’d be living in a trash can right now.

    • Leona says:

      This was my first thought too. Doesnt Mischa have a drug problem or was that resolved? It could just be that her parents were trying to protect her from herself. That would also explain why she isnt allowed on their property – tough love and all of that. She may have been clueless of her own finances because she was too hopped up on heroin or something.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        It’s not THEIR property. It was paid for with Mischa’s money.

      • The Other Pinky says:

        If they were in her employment then there’s no reason to assume they didn’t pay with their own money earned from enabling her career. The house may even have been a gift to them which makes it THEIRS not hers. She is really just making allegations at this point, none of which are not easily explained with the druggie theory.

    • Bridget says:

      Mischa is a mess AND her parents are awful. Though I’m a little unsure how the mom was able to add herself to a deed like that – it’s not like managers typically have the power to do that, and in cases when they do, fraud is usually alleged. And there’s no way that girl should have ever purchased a $7.8 million house; even at the height of her success that would have been a major financial stretch. This is why parents make such terrible managers. Even when they don’t take advantage of their children they just don’t have the knowledge and expertise.

      I’m guessing that Mischa has been trying to get her life back together and that includes taking stock of her finances.

  4. minx says:

    Just sad.

  5. Red Snapper says:

    There’s two sides to every story. Just because Mischas lawyer says it happened doesn’t necessarily mean it happened. Mischa is a talentless hack. I’ve been fascinated by her career since The OC. Just my opinion, but I think it’s far more likely that she ran out of money and this lawsuit is her way of prying some loose from her parents.

    • Cinderella says:

      I agree, although I’m curious to see how the parents will respond. If the money was dwindling, why keep an $8 million dollar house? And if Mischa is clean, why is she not welcome back to the house?

  6. Sabrine says:

    She seems a little gullible. Once you’re an adult you should handle your own finances or else make sure you know to who and where your money is going. She seems to have let this go on far too long. Just because it’s family doesn’t mean they aren’t opportunists.

  7. Norman Bates' Mother says:

    Those creepy stage mothers and fathers should be treated the same way as other types of abusers. The fact that the likes of that woman or Dina Lohan, Ariel Winter’s and Jimmy Workman’s mother, Drew Berrymore’s mother or Thora Birch’s father were not stopped when there was still hope for the normal upbringing is so sad and I have trouble believing that no one around them have noticed. There are so many people on movie sets. I don’t know how Mischa’s mother behaved around other people so they might have been clueless but it is well known that Dina Lohan took her underage children to the adult parties and caused Lindsay’s addiction or that Thora Birch’s father insisted to be in the same room when she was doing sex scenes and verbally abused her on sets etc. and they kept destroying them to the point of a breakdown. They and countless others had so much potential, so many perspectives, not even necessarily in show business and they were failed by their own parents. It’s great to hear that Mischa finally found the courage to fight that despicable woman.

  8. Hautie says:

    Yet another example of why as an adult actor/entertainer… you never let your stage parents near your business. Or your cash.

    Once you are an adult. You need to hire independent people. Lawyer, Tax account and Agent. And never ever give anyone, power of attorney.

    You sign all the checks. You see all contracts and the checks come to you for deposit. If you allow anyone to take care of your cash. Be prepare to be stolen from and end up bankrupt.

    (I am waiting for Katherine Heigl to wake up and have an audit done for her finances. I have long held a suspicion that her Mother has drained her dry too. )

    • doofus says:

      you’ll notice the kid stars whose parents are NOT the “manager” or otherwise involved in the kids’ careers usually turn out OK…because the parent isn’t getting a cut of the pay so their interests most often lies with their child’s well-being, and not with the child’s next job.

      it’s more of “are you OK to do this next part?” and not “Get your ass in here and do your job so mommy gets her next check.”

      I realize that this is not a hard and fast rule, but it seems to hold true a LOT of the time.

      • ctkat1 says:

        Definitely- the (recent) child stars that tend to turn out ok are the ones with parents who hire professional agents and managers for their kids and then stay off the payroll themselves and keep a clear division between “business” and “parenting”: Natalie Portman, Claire Danes, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the Fanning girls, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, Joshua Jackson, Mila Kunis, Mae Whitman…

        As you’ll note with all of the above examples: we don’t know those parents’ names. They’re not trying to get famous off their kids, they’re just being parents.

    • The Other Katherine says:

      Hautie, agree 100%. Good rules for life, not just show biz!

  9. Decorative Item says:

    It’s entirely possible, but why has it taken so long for her to sue? She hasn’t had work for a long time and may just have run out of her own money. Or, her parents suck and I don’t know what I’m talking about.
    Still, I’ve seen families fall apart over trifling inheritances, it really doesn’t take much to break those “bonds of love.”

    • Delilah says:

      Who says she hasn’t worked in a long time? She’s got 11 projects in various stages for 2015 alone. So I’m thinking her parents just suck.

    • Decorative Item says:

      Don’t take it too seriously Delilah. I haven’t seen her do anything for years and didn’t think she was working much, that’s all. I even said that I may not know what I’m talking about. Wow, you know she has 11 projects in the works! You’re quite interested in her aren’t you?

      • Katija says:

        “Wow, you know she has 11 projects in the works! You’re quite interested in her aren’t you?”

        Um, a 5-second IMDB search of someone doesn’t a stalker make, dear. Play nice with the other boys and girls. 🙂

  10. NewWester says:

    Did Mischa’s mother encourage her to walk away from her role on the “O.C” ? I have always thought that was when Mischa’s career really went downhill.

    • PiecesofMe says:

      Mischa leaving the OC was not her choice. It was definitely a Josh Schwartz decision.

  11. minime says:

    Wow…I think that a lot makes sense now. That’s sad but good for her for trying to cut those ties now, must be hard.

  12. Shambles says:

    We wonder why all these kids have such serious issues as they transition into adulthood… Maybe it comes from being exploited instead of raised. So deeply sad.

    • doofus says:

      “Maybe it comes from being exploited instead of raised.”

      yes, this…well said. I said (sort of) the same thing above. when your parent is your manager, he/she has a vested interest in you taking the next job and getting paid, because otherwise THEY don’t get paid.

      when the person is JUST a Mom or Dad, their interest is in the kid’s well being, not the next paycheck.

    • Bridget says:

      It’s no mystery why child actors are frequently so screwed up. Photo shoots, television shows, movies – they all have massive amounts of money riding on them. Young performers have very adult jobs, with adult level salaries and expectations. Chronologically they’re children, but in every other aspect of their lives they’re adults, and don’t have the emotional or intellectual maturity to deal with it. When the parent is the manager there’s always going to be a conflict, because what’s best for the child is definitely not always what’s best for the job.

      And there is a lot of temptation in Hollywood. If you don’t have your head firmly on your shoulders it can eat you alive. Mischa came up just when blogs and entertainment reporting were fixated on “young Hollywood” and she ran with the celebutante crowd.

    • hogtowngooner says:

      This is a major reason Ron Howard has himself explained why he didn’t into the child-star trap. He mentioned that when he was on the Andy Griffith show as a child, he was already making more money than his father was, but that his parents didn’t spend a dime of it (put it in trust, I assume), and lived off solely off the dad’s salary, plus he still had to go to regular school, do chores, be home for dinner, etc. He (Ron) said this maintained the family dynamic of the parents still being in charge. I think it’s a major point of anxiety for child stars and can often manifest itself in addiction, etc later in life: at such a young age, rather than being taken care of, they’re solely responsible for their family’s well-being. Instead of growing up, learning, playing, etc., they’re stressed out being successful in a very cruel industry. If they fail, they let the whole family down. That’s a terrible burden to place on a child, who is too young to handle that.

  13. Leftovers says:

    Her mother is called Nuala. I’m just cherishing the HellBoy vibes right now, that’s what I choose to take from this story.

  14. Boston Green Eyes says:

    I feel for anyone who had a f^^ked up mother, I really do. I come from a very dysfunctional family, but my mother was the one who tried to keep everything together (read: dad was raging a$$hole who controlled with an iron hand and mom ran interference around that ). So, even though I have my issues, I don’t come from a place where my mom totally screwed me. IMHO, the people with the bad mother scenario are really the most f’ed up (unless they get help and really work at it).

    • Shambles says:

      I hear you on that. I feel like we hold this notion (usually true) that our mom is the one person in the world that will have our back no matter what. Even when dad doesn’t care, or is a raging a$$hole, or leaves, mom is still there. We came from our mother’s wombs, so that bond is the one that’s supposed to be truly unbreakable. So when mom betrays us, it shakes the foundation of everything we know in this world.

      • Crumpet says:

        Very true. It is an unforgivable betrayal.

      • Mltpsych says:

        So well put. I have a mean and narcissistic mother who would throw me under the bus whenever it suits her and it is painful everyday. It takes a lot of courage to cut the cord even with a terrible mother. It took me years of work in therapy so if it took her this long I could easily see it. Most of society doesn’t get that some mothers just should not be mothers.

  15. OriginalTessa says:

    I’m guessing there’s two sides to this story. Her parents are probably trying to protect her money so she doesn’t squander it. They are pulling a Jamie Spears without the courts involved. Mischa has behaved like a child, so they’ve been treating her like one. And now, for whatever reason, she wants her house and her money, which her parents have hopefully protected for her.

  16. lucy2 says:

    If this is true and how her mother handled everything, no wonder she’s had some issues.
    But a little part of me wonders if maybe it’s not true, if half the stuff her mother did was tough love trying to get her to straighten up, or to protect what money she had and get her some new deals after her career fell apart. Who knows. Maybe it’s a little bit of both.
    Didn’t her house go into foreclosure or something? I think there have financial issues with it for a while.

  17. missis says:

    I like her a lot. Please stop highjacking this thread to make it all about the kardashians, I am truly sick of them, This is about Barton! While I don`t even click on a news about the shallow vapid family, I would truly like to read more about Mischa! Thank you for making that happen, maybe more in the future 🙂

  18. ponymommy says:

    My face to face interactions with Mischa when she was trying to be relevant in NYC after she left LA about 7-8 years ago were all so awful. I have no sympathy for her. She behaves in an awful way towards people and then karma comes knocking on her door.

    • oneshot says:

      You can’t leave us like that and not give details! Do tell….

      • ashley says:

        I’ve seen her out and about in LA twice, once at a show like 6 years ago, and actually this weekend at the London rooftop pool. Both times she was pretty sweet and calm. I think she’s gone thru some shit and her parents weren’t there to reign her in, but she seems baseline like a nice person.

      • ponymommy says:

        The gist of it was that no one treated her as a famous person and so when we would be out in nightclubs we’d always see her getting all out of sorts and steam coming out of her ears because no one was noticing her or paying attention to her. We were just the local hipsters back then, we got into the nightclubs we did just because we were friends with people and liked to dress nicely. The 3 people everyone seems to have an awful story about from those days were Parker Posey, Mischa, and Kelly Osbourne (who seemed to think she had somehow discovered and settled Williamsburg long after the fact). New Yorkers don’t give a f— about celebrities, we care about money, power, and art in order to pull rank. Hope that satisfies your thirst!

    • Jegede says:

      @ponymommy –

      Mischa was absolutley LEGENDARY for being a prime time b-tch to ‘civilians’ and ‘minions’.

  19. MSat says:

    It’s like Gary Coleman all over again. He was the biggest child star on the planet in the 70s and his parents took every cent he earned. Evil!

  20. Flower says:

    Hardly unusual in Hollywood, this has been happening since the 30’s , dozens of child actor stories in the same vein, Judy Garland , Shirley Temple, Deanna Durbin Jackie Coogan, Gary Coleman, Macaulay Culkin, LeAnne Rimes all had family leeching off them and skimming millions. The Olsen Twins seem to have been an exception , their parents banked every penny for them.