Morena Baccarin ordered to pay her ex, Austin Chick, $23K a month: fair or unfair?


Back in September, we learned that Morena Baccarin had left her husband and had started hooking up with her costar, Ben McKenzie. They made their red carpet couple debut at the Emmy after-parties, and just a day later, we learned that Morena was already knocked up, apparently with Ben’s child. People began doing the math, and by “people,” I mean Morena’s somewhat estranged husband, Austin Chick. Chick claimed that he and Morena were still living together and working on their marriage when Ben knocked her up. Morena disagrees.

Anyway, Morena and Austin also have a kid together, a 2-year-old son named Julius. Julius is currently living with his mom in NYC, because Morena’s doctors have advised her not to fly back and forth to LA, which is where she and Chick lived. Chick is fighting Morena for custody and the whole thing is just another messy pile on top of one of the biggest messes I’ve ever seen. Well, it seems that family court is side-eyeing Morena’s messy situation too, because she was just ordered to pay her ex-husband some MAJOR support.

Morena Baccarin is about to drop major coin on her soon-to-be ex-husband Austin Chick … a judge just ordered her to pay him almost $23k a month. Here’s the breakdown … Chick gets $2,693 in child support, and a whopping $20,249 for spousal support. It adds up to more than $275k a year … so Chick won’t exactly have to wait tables.

As we previously reported, Baccarin and Chick have joint custody of their 2-year-old son Julius, but since she films in NYC, he mostly stays with his mom. The divorce is still ongoing, but Baccarin has definitely moved on … she’s pregnant with “Gotham” co-star Ben McKenzie’s baby.

[From TMZ]

What’s weird to me is that this financial stuff has already been settled before the custodial arrangement. Like, Austin is barely spending any time with Julius right at the moment, but I guess it’s more than conceivable that Austin will get joint custody or maybe even primary custody. As for the money stuff… ouch. Morena really isn’t that big of a star either. I mean, she’s on network TV now but I would imagine that $275K a year is a big chunk of her current income.


Photos courtesy of Getty, WENN.

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143 Responses to “Morena Baccarin ordered to pay her ex, Austin Chick, $23K a month: fair or unfair?”

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  1. Locke Lamora says:

    I had no idea that TV actors made that much money. I mean, I knew about people on super popular TV shows, like BB Theory, but I didn’t think someone like Morena also made so much.

    • LAK says:

      ‘Gotham’ is on network TV. Actors on Network TV make a-l-o-t of money because network TV is studio TV unlike cable TV which is essentially indies TV.

      Think of it as the difference in money for actors working on studio films vs those working on Indies no matter the quality of the show or their role therein.

      There are exceptions of course. And those exceptions become legends, but for the most part, that’s the status quo.

      • Naya says:

        I dont know about that “alot of money” bit. Hollywood Reporter says the standard go to price for luring a big name film actor to a Network show is 150k an episode. Now Morena is not a big name film or tv actress nor is she the star of Gotham. That show has yet to attain Friends/BBT/Modern Family status, so theres no way she is operating outside of the curve. If I were generous I would say she is somewhere between the 50k – 75k per episode mark. Now factor in agents, lawyers, managers fee and taxes. Then bear in mind, that she is not playing Batman and therefore her job is far from secure. Also bear in mind that she is a SHE, (see shelf life of an actress), this is probably her last major payday.

        My guess is either that she has made some very wise investments over the years and thats where the judge got this figure from. Or the judge is using spousal support as some kind of punishment for the supposed cheating, which is disturbing to me because “moralising judges” are the worst.

      • LAK says:

        Naya: think about what you just wrote. $50-$75K per episode is a lot of money to pay for someone who is supporting and isn’t a star name, which is the point I was making. IF the show makes it into syndication, sums paid out raise exponentially to the millions of the casts of ‘friends’ or ‘Frasier’ or ‘two and a half men’. Even for the support actors eg Kelly Rutherford was able to become a millionaire on her GG salary and she was a minor character with average 5mins screen time per episode.

        A cable show, even on HBO, no matter how prestigious doesn’t pay out those numbers even when the show goes into syndication.

        There are exceptions of course, and usually the actors play hardball eg James Gandolfini at ‘the sopranos’ but it’s not routine.

        If I were an actor, i’d aim for network shows just for the financials. And best of all, sitcoms.

        With regards morena, she’s been working in network TV for over a decade. Her salary is consistent. Her divorce papers put her at $1.5M per year. That’s a lot of money for a support player who isn’t a star. And that was the point I was making.

      • Scal says:

        If you are a ‘series regular’ (aka if you have a season contract) you get paid whether you appear in the episode or not. Or if you appear for 5 minutes or the full hour. You’re locked into that show for the year and you can’t do another show, but it’s a great way to have a steady solid income. It’s why so many actors want to be in TV.

        If she’s making 75K a episode-Gotham had 22 episodes last season. That’s 1.65 million dollars a season. On top of that she prob gets some minor residuals from Firefly, V, and Homeland.

      • Naya says:

        Let me just say that even if a person is making enough for that amount to mean nothing, that unless the other party gave up their career to support yours and you were together long enough, they have zero business picking up a spousal check (aka free money).

        Now with Morena, 50-75k was as I said a generous estimation. One that I would revise downwards now that I have looked her up. She wasnt even a regular cast member in the fist season of Gotham. She was recurring and number 14 on the call sheet. So estimate even further downwards for season 1. Shes only now been promoted to series regular and I cant tell what her call sheet number is but shes still not close to being the star.

        However, even if we use my initial over guess. Shes not taking home exactly 50-75k per episode. We know after deductions (tax plus all fees) the actors take home often falls somewhere around a third of the gross. Now consider that she was paid for 22 episodes last year and that the judge awarded her ex $20,249 per month. Even at the higher end of 75k per episode, it looks like the court is ordering her to pay him about half her annual TV earnings for the year. The reason I questioned if she has a side business or really smart investments is because her longest TV arc was in Homeland with 29 episodes and that was for a cable show. Firefly was only 14 episodes and that was 2003. And V was 22 episodes in 2009-2011. The rest of her roles have been a couple episodes in brief story arcs. My point is, its doubtful that she could have accumulated millions in the course of her career solely on acting. Contrast with Kelly Rutherford who has 90 episodes of Melrose, 96 on Gossip Girl, 21 on Homefront and Threat Matrix and far more guest star roles than Morena. Also remember that the longer you are on a show, the better your asking price both for that show and for guest appearances on other shows.

        Yeah, I suspect the judge factored in all her annual income (acting plus investments), split it in half and then just divided by 12. And thats how he came up with 20,249k spousal support per month.

      • Naya says:

        Ok can we please throw out the residuals myth, its been debunked a million times by actors themselves. Unless you own a chunk of the show by virtue of also being creator or showrunner, or you made a sweetheart deal with the studio, you arent taking home much from reruns. Heres a good article on how its calculated, scroll down for Television

        In summary, you receive a percentage of a figure that factors in a variety of things. That percentage decreases with every subsequent rerun of the show. The Friends cast, who had some of the best negotiated deals in the business have a residual ceiling cap of $2,500 per episode. The average residual cheque isnt even in the thousands, it ranges from $70 -250. And let me just say again, Morena has never starred in a show. She is a supporting actor so consider that in your residual estimations.

      • Bridget says:

        Naya is right on this one. A recurring character like Morena’s wouldn’t be making much in terms of residuals (Kelly Rutherford’s primary income was based on her per-episode salary on GG, not residuals, and if you remember she was featured far more heavily in the first couple of seasons). Those examples LAK used – the casts of Friends and Frasier – aren’t indicative of the industry as a whole. Those were superstar casts at the top of their hit shows. That’s like saying the cast of Friends each made $1 million per episode, therefore everyone on TV must be making that kind of money.

        And I am totally side eyeing that kind of support figure for a marriage that didn’t last that long anyway.

      • Bearcat Lawyer says:

        Assuming her annual gross income is $1.5 million, the roughly $275,000 she must pay in child support and alimony is only about 18% of her gross income. Alimony payments are also tax deductible by the payer (Morena) which may explain why she willingly agreed to such a high amount for alimony but a relatively low amount for child support, which is NOT tax deductible. Plus, Chick has to pay income taxes on alimony he receives but not child support. So in a way, she is sticking it to him again – reducing her taxable income while significantly increasing his.

      • MB says:

        @Bearcat Lawyer – amazing comment, wish I could upvote. This actually sheds a lot of light on this matter.

      • NUTBALLS says:

        Thanks Bearcat Lawyer, for the insight into this. I was wondering why she’d be agreeing to a spousal support deal such as this. That makes more sense.

  2. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I don’t really believe in spousal support for either sex in these circumstances, where both parties are young with active careers. I don’t have a problem, of course with child support, or with her giving him a large settlement, but continuous support doesn’t make sense to me unless it’s a case where one party gave up their career to stay home with children, or the couple has been married for 40 years and one decides to leave. Why should she have to foot the bill for him indefinitely? The marriage is over. Settle up and move on.

    • Div says:

      Same here. I know it’s an unpopular opinion to take, but unless it fits the criteria you mentioned (one party willingly gave up their career for multiple years, a marriage of 7+ years, sole or joint custody of multiple kids)…..I find this kind of crazy alimony distasteful, especially since they were apparently only married for three years. Yeah, she cheated and was a shit to him but I don’t think this requires her to give him this amount of alimony indefinitely or until he marries.

      • Greenieweenie says:

        Me three. Alimony is for spouses who have taken career hits or provided services free of charge within the marriage that the other spouse would ordinarily have to pay for (childcare, housekeeping, whatever). The idea is due compensation–especially if the compensated spouse is really unable to earn a reasonable wage due to those years of service.

        I just don’t get these massive settlements for brief marriages (like that Bobby Flay one) meant to keep the other partner in conditions they’re accustomed to. What a
        stupid expectation. Why would you leave a marriage with full expectation that nothing will change in the way you live? There are loads of financial benefits to two people sharing one residence, etc. Why on earth one spouse should have to maintain that for another after the marriage ends is beyond me. Sounds like the judge was punishing her (I’d like to know if he was male….)

      • Hawkeye says:

        A part of me wonders if these large payouts aren’t also hush money. A non-disclosure agreement isn’t usually signed out of good will.

      • Holmes says:

        I totally agree. It’s an absurd amount of money. In fact I think either sex asking for alimony is pathetic, with a few very specific exceptions (say, one spouse put their career and/or education on hold to raise children and/or support the other spoise’s career). In every other scenario, it reeks of being bitter and unable to move on.

      • Caz says:

        I don’t think this lady should be required to pay $$ to her ex husband. He doesn’t require $20k per month.

    • SusanneToo says:

      Agree with you absolutely. Also, that amount seems like revenge money.

      • Esmom says:

        “Revenge money.” That’s a really good way to put it. It definitely seems excessive given the circumstances (on the surface, at least).

    • Meatball says:

      I agree with you. Settlement or some transitional support for 6 months to a year in some cases makes sense to me. Just because you are married to a wealthier person should not mean that you do nothing with you life. Make sure you go to school or continue to work, or save your money so you have something to fall back on. Why have a constant reminder about your ex or feel dependent on them long after he marriage is over.

      Also, who knew she had that much money?

    • vauvert says:


      It totally feels like revenge, and I don’t understand why the judge feels that the ex has to pay a quarter mil to a healthy, able to work former partner. I side eye the amount of child support too, since the child is mostly living with mom and both parents are supposed to pay for the cost of raising said child – what does he need over $2,000 a month for??? But let’s say NYC is expensive and the cost of a part-time nanny is high… still, he does not work so he could actually take care of his own son when he has the boy? But to top that with a huge alimony is just crazy. I hope she fights it.

      • dr mantis toboggan says:

        Maybe it’s to pay for his flights to and from New York so he can see his kid

      • Merritt says:

        @dr mantis tobaggan

        She was paying for an apartment for him to live in NYC and see the child more often. Then he had a fit and moved back to L.A. He is being a selfish jerk.

      • Greyson says:

        @ Merritt

        He’s being a selfish jerk??!

        She is pregnant with her co-stars baby. They’re not even divorced yet and have a 2 year old. No way, no how he’s the selfish one. They lived in LA and now because her job and baby daddy is in NYC he has to stay while she play’s house with her new beau.. It’s a messed up situation and she is in the wrong. Full stop.

      • Bridget says:

        @Greyson: can I just point out that we know NOTHING about her marriage to Chick? For all we know, he was a disaster that cheated on her. Or not. But you’re pretty comfortable making proclamations on both of their characters while knowing nothing.

      • Greyson says:

        @ Bridget: Serious question, do you give husbands who knock up their mistresses after relocating their families in a new city for work such benefit of doubt?

        You’re pretty comfortable with the “hold off of all judgments” and with all of the snark on this site it doesn’t seem in step with the norm here.

      • Bridget says:

        Because i am very skeptical when the only evidence is the husband’s divorce declarations. Which essentially say ‘well, I *thought* we were still working on our marriage’. That marriage could very well have already been dead. Plus, it doesn’t actually sound like Chick had moved to NYC while Morena was filming Gotham, considering that she had to petition the court to be able to make the move after they split (and the divorce proceedings are taking place in LA).

        We complain all the time about celebrity splits getting ugly when there are kids involved, and here’s one split where the details are scarce – yet we’re practically branding her with a scarlet A anyhow. Yes, even in the best of scenarios we’re talking about someone getting pregnant by their jumpoff, but even then we’re making an awful lot of suppositions here. Also, I’d say the same thing even if it were a man and his mistress.

      • Tippet says:

        It’s weird how people act like a pregnancy somehow makes it worse. You don’t do anything extra to get pregnant. It’s still just sex.

    • Crumpet says:

      I agree. Unless there are some extenuating circumstances that we are not privy to, I don’t get why he gets so much support. I don’t really even get the large child support payment, because he mostly lives with his mom anyway.

    • Size Does Matter says:

      Is Austin Chick an actor, too? Did he drop his career to follow her around the country and care for their child? Even if he did, support should be temporary, usually half the duration of the marriage.

      • Andrea says:

        I find this a bit disgusting that he is getting that much money. And when this show ends, it will be hard for her to get this dropped which is what caused one of my friends’ ex’s to go broke over(he wasn’t an actor but his income changed dramatically and it takes forever for the courts to realize that, claims you are hiding money etc). I get the child support but 20k in spousal support? Was he a layabout while they were together? no?? Then what the hell? I can’t believe a judge would award this to a man or woman. It really screams that if your relationship ends badly, you can really take someone to the cleaners. Very disheartening.

    • Wren says:

      It does seem kind of odd. Did he give up his career for her during the marriage? Or does she just make more money than him and he wants to continue living in the manner to which he’s become accustomed.

      Child support makes sense, especially if the kid is going to have to fly back and forth to see his dad, but the spousal support? Dude, I though you, like, had a job…….

    • lunchcoma says:

      Spousal support isn’t typically indefinite. I don’t think it should be unless the parties are elderly and were married for many years or unless one is unable to work. It’s likely Chick is only getting this sum of money for a limited period, though. It’s something that allows him to buy a house or something similar, and then likely it will only be child support going forward.

    • noway says:

      I so agree with you on that. I think you should just take the assets split them in half or appropriately depending on prior financial agreements, and unless a partner gave up their career path to help the other or for supported the child no spousal support. Child support is different. The divorce settlements I really don’t understand are the divorces without children where they get alimony. I would rather have a cash settlement than have to still deal with an ex over anything like that. Now if you have kids a bit different as you will always be dealing with them in some way. Why would you want it otherwise. So much money for support. I think she needs a better lawyer or maybe she has money some other way.

    • Belle Epoch says:

      Totally agree with GNAT (and others). He already has child support and a settlement. He appears to be able to work (he’s not disabled). They were not married that long. Were they living some lavish lifestyle? And even if they were, why does she have to pay to maintain it? Aren’t there divorces in which the judge told either partner – mother or father – “you’re capable, go get a job”? I wonder what his lawyer said to get this!

  3. Div says:

    Alright, this will be wildly unpopular but I always cringe when someone who has only been married a few years gets an insane amount of $$$$ in alimony like this even if the other partner screwed them over by having an affair. If he was getting a huge chunk of change from her past earnings or like a $5 mil payout, I’d probably be meh but this much of her future earnings….I doubt she’s pulling more than 300-400k a year when you subtract the cost of her agent and taxes. IF they had been married for like seven years or he had sole or joint custody of multiple kids or if he had willingly dropped out of the workforce…I’d be all for him getting that money money money. Like I think Elin (Tiger’s ex) deserved every $$$$. However, when I see this I think “dude, you are a young man who was married for about three years and you have joint custody and are perfectly capable of getting work. You deserve money, for sure, but that much of you ex’s future earnings…nah”

    • Snarky says:

      I don’t you see why that would be an unpopular opinion. It seems perfectly reasonable to me. It’s silly that people can actually become upper-class professional exes.

    • noway says:

      The funny thing is I don’t think Elin is getting alimony. I think she took a cash settlement from Tiger. Especially in her case I wouldn’t want any more dealings with Tiger in any other way than what we had to do with the kids. Also, sorry but alimony can be reduced later if you get your money now you can make your own with it.

  4. AG-UK says:

    I didn’t realize she earned enough for that but I would imagine they get around $50k-100k per week unlike the Seinfelds, Friends or BB Theory which I have never watched.

    • LAK says:

      The show is only in 1 or 2 (?) season. In recent memory, only ‘Baywatch’ made the kind of money from the outset that allowed for ridiculous paycheques to the actors because they syndicated it from day 1.

      Those shows you mention didn’t start paying their actors ridiculous sums until syndication which typically happens after 3rd/4th season.

      • Bridget says:

        Even then, the Baywatch actors didn’t make a ton. Did you ever see the clip of David Chokachi (sp?) cashing in his residuals check? It was something ridiculously small.

  5. Sasha says:

    Child support I have no issue with. But $23K a month for spousal support till he remarries or he dies? I’m sorry that seems unfair and an abuse of power on the judge’s part. They were only married for 3 years and a limited 2 year settlement could more than help him get back on his feet. Yes, she is on tv, but she is not a big tv star like Sofia Vergara or Mariska Hargitay. I can’t help but feel she is being punished for jumping into another relationship so fast and being pregnant again. And yes, I would think this is unfair if the genders were reverse.

    • byland says:

      Thank you. I hate to cast doubt on the judicial system without knowing the details, but this ruling seems remarkably like court-sanctioned slut-shaming.

      • Div says:

        Yeah, I can’t help but think this slanted ruling stinks of sexism and playing morality police. What she did was distasteful, but it in no way justifies this kind of ruling…especially when you consider how short their marriage actually was.

    • Greenieweenie says:

      This actually sort of happened to a friend of mine. I didn’t even realize it was a thing. When a sibling divorced, it was just a matter of a payout over a set period of time. But when my friend divorced her husband of less than five years, for pretending to be a student while taking the tuition money she gave him and blowing it on video gales and movies all day, she had to pay him alimony. I just don’t get it. The guy COULD work. But because he chose not to, he was entitled to her pay indefinitely?? Something is wrong with that calculation.

    • lem says:

      rarely is spousal support indefinite, especially for such short marriages. maybe i missed it in the article, but i didn’t see where it said he got that much indefinitely. given that it was a 3 year marriage, i’d be amazed if a judge ordered indefinite support (could be wrong though–and if so, she needs to appeal that asap!).

    • LAK says:

      Sasha: Just want to point out that she is on a network show. The pay is good no matter star power or role.

      Think of it this way, Kelly Rutherford was able to become a millionaire on her ‘Gossip Girl’ salary when at best her role was a supporting one and was on screen for perhaps 5mins per episode.

      • Merritt says:

        Rutherford also previously was on “Melrose Place” and a few other shows prior to “Gossip Girl”. She also allegedly broke now.

    • claire says:

      It’s totally bonkers that being married to someone for 3 years means in divorce you are now entitled to support them for life. The judge also said he won’t count the $ she pays for an apt. in NYC, when he visits, to be counted but that for her to stop paying that would be a contempt charge. He gets $23,000 and still can’t pay for himself when he visits? I’m guessing this judge has been cheated on before and decided this was a nice way to get revenge.

  6. byland says:

    Can she really be making enough that this amount of support is not ridiculously cost prohibitive?

    • SusanneToo says:

      Doubtful. I hope she challenges that ruling.

    • BendyWindy says:

      Lots of regular people get saddled with child support or alimony that takes 30 to 40% of their net income. I don’t feel bad for her if that’s what the judge has determined is fair.

      • byland says:

        I feel bad for anyone this happens to when the spouse receiving payment is capable of going out and getting a job to take care of themselves, male or female.

  7. cannibell says:

    Yikers. I wonder how soon her lawyer will be back in court to ask for a reduction. That said, I’m guessing there may be more to this than meets the eye, because that seems like an insane amount of money.

  8. snowflake says:

    I don’t know. What does she make, what does he make, what are the court guidelines?

  9. BendyWindy says:

    That’s Halle Berry money! Either Morena is flush or Halle is getting over.

    • Dena says:

      Lol. I was just thinking that and also that I need a hook-up like this.

    • Holmes says:

      She’s not flush, I guarantee it. People keep saying oh she’s on network tv, she makes big money. She doesn’t make THAT much money. She’s never been on a Friends/BBT level show where she’s be making a million plus per episode. Let’s be generous and say she makes $75k per episode (which I highly doubt, but let’s use it for arguments sake). At 22 episodes per season (and again, I have never watched Gotham so I have no idea if it has that many) that comes out to $1.65 million/year before taxes, paying publicists, lawyers, nannies, etc. No doubt that would make one wealthy in most parts of the United States, but in New York or LA, that’s barely enough to make you middle class. Add to that the fact that she was already supporting his dead behind for how many years AND renting him an apartment in NYC…the more I think about it, the more absurd it seems.

      • anon says:

        But don’t forget she also make residuals on everything she ever been in…. She still gets checks for Firefly and Serenity and anything else stared in (indefinitely) when they air and when they are bought. That’s extra money no one seems to be thinking about.

  10. lucy2 says:

    I could see her being responsible for his travel expenses and maybe some living expenses, but if she has primary custody of the kid, he has time to work. Was he a stay at home dad while they were together? Otherwise I don’t see why she’s paying spousal support right now.

    • Tiffany says:

      She does cover his travel and apartment when he comes to NYC. She asked that be factored into alimony and the judge said no.

  11. Greenieweenie says:

    The more I think about it, the more it actually makes me angry. Tell me this isn’t sexism! She’s bringing another child into the world that she’s responsible for, and she’s also being assigned primary financial responsibility for both her first child AND her ex partner even though they have joint custody and the child resides with her!! How is this an equal distribution of responsibility?? I’m not talking in terms of $$ amounts but in the balance. Look at that and tell me society doesn’t punish women more.

    • BendyWindy says:

      I think the family court system is screwed up in general. And I hate to be “that person,” but the only thing remarkable about this to me is that she’s female, because I have seen this scenario play out over and over again only it’s the father that is paying through the nose. I only know of one woman who has to pay child support. One.

      • ell says:

        exactly, let’s be realistic.

      • Greenieweenie says:

        To some extent, I don’t mind that as much. Men earn more, men get more opportunities in the workplace….men can afford to pay more. I do wish more women would aim to take financial responsibility for themselves (sometimes it feels very lonely being both a mother and a woman with a career), but at the same time that seems like a symptom of the disease: sexism makes it harder for women with children to work, even apart from all the social conditioning, etc, that keeps women from pursuing careers in highly compensated professions.

      • ell says:

        “Men earn more”

        but he doesn’t, that’s the whole point?? you’re generalising about normal people, and it doesn’t apply to baccarin who happens to be loaded.

    • ell says:

      maybe he was a stay at home dad? and sorry, i’m a feminist but i don’t see how this is evidence of women being punished more? wives get alimony literally all the time. why is it fine for women then? equality means equality.

      • Greenieweenie says:

        It’s the balance of financial responsibility. It should be 50-50. That can be measured in different ways. The sum total of work one parent puts in (in terms of full time childcare, say) can equal 50 percent or more of the financial burden imposed were that parent not assuming the burden.

        But she’s assuming the financial responsibility of pretty much full-time care (even though he has joint custody and should therefore be assuming half) AND a huge alimony payout for a brief marriage with a young child (i.e. one that didn’t cause her ex to be permanently sidelined from a career, even if he was the primary caregiver).

        Besides all of this, who’s earning potential is really greater, long term? The actress whose window is rapidly closing, or the man? You can’t have it both ways. You can’t set up a workplace and industries that reward men over women every single time,* and then say “she should have to pay through the nose because I see a lot of men having to do the same thing.”

        *You might not see that. But besides
        the ample data showing hard and soft sexism in so many measures, I’m also referring just to career trajectories (those of men vs women and who is compensated most/when. No matter how you cut it, if you bear
        children and care for them, you lose).

      • Greenieweenie says:

        I’m generalizing in response to a comment that generalized.

      • Greenieweenie says:

        To me, alimony is fair compensation for domestic work, including child rearing, and the corresponding loss of future earning potential. If that potential is permanent, say after twenty years of marriage, then I don’t have a problem with longer-term alimony or a large lump sum payout–until that spouse marries again and someone else assumes responsibility for the loss of earning potential. Keep in mind that the working partner generally doesn’t suffer that loss.

        But this is not that.

      • EN says:

        > wives get alimony literally all the time. why is it fine for women then? equality means equality.

        It shouldn’t be fine for women either unless they gave up a career to be homemakers, and the marriage was a long one, at least 5 years.

    • Me says:

      Well she ruined her mariage by cheating And getting pregnant by Another man whole still married ! Stop with the punishing women non sense, If the roles were reversed everyone would be k with it

      • Greenieweenie says:

        You’re so not getting the point.

      • Greyson says:

        Agreed. Funny how no one has sympathy for Halle paying through the nose to her Ex, but this woman actively cheated and humiliated her spouse. She better hope baby daddy #2 sticks around..

      • Holmes says:

        Oh, so you know her personally? Otherwise, you can’t possibly make such a statement. How do you know HE wasn’t the one screwing around on her first?

      • Greyson says:

        @ Holmes – Where is Austin Chick’s pregnant new SO playing house with his son to Morena?

        She was tactless in this. Even if he was a known cheater, end the marriage FIRST then move onto dating/procreating with other dudes.

      • AJ says:

        With ya on that. I dunno about his cheating, but talks about her affairs on set as a pattern have a long history. And i have to say even in past he did cheat on her, he was the one to take a break in his career so she can go on with filming, while he stays homw with son. Not to mention that she lead him to believe they work on marriage and hid pregnancy from both of guys untill she decided how to use it best

  12. Kylie says:

    I have no problem with the child support. But that is a ridiculous amount for alimony. She can’t possibly be making enough per episode for that to not take a major hit to her finances. Unless she came from a rich family or something.

  13. Easypeasy123 says:

    Maybe it has something to do with taxes. She pays taxes on the child support $ but he’s going to have to pay the taxes on spousal support

    • lem says:

      at least in my state, that’s standard. child support is non-deductible but spousal support is. either way, that’s a massive chunk of her income (assuming she’s not making millions on Gotham).

  14. Louise177 says:

    I feel like alimony is only questioned when women are paying it. Based on IMDB Austin isn’t doing much so getting alimony shouldn’t be shocking. I am surprised by the amount because I don’t think Morena makes much. She’s not a big star nor on a big show.

    • Jessica says:

      “I feel like alimony is only questioned when women are paying it.”

      Yes. When it’s a man having to pay a woman people are all like, “She deserves the money”.

      • ell says:

        and this sort of attitude doesn’t help equality. if it’s ok for women to get alimony then it should be for men as well (and btw, we don’t know whether he was a stay at home father).

    • LAK says:

      She doesn’t have to be a star to make big money. She’s on a network TV show, and if I recall, she’s been on several network TV shows in the past. Network TV pays very, very well.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      When women are paying it or (if men pay it) when we don’t like the women.

      I’m not familiar with the system in the US and we don’t know how much she makes. But in Germany we definitely need to overhaul the system and make it more flexible. 50% of single mothers here are on what constitutes as welfare. I have a friend who’s a single mom and has the kid most of the time. Her ex pays something like €200-300 a month. That’s nothing when you think about what a child costs (it doesn’t even cover kindergarten). If she lost her job, she’d be f*cked.

      So I guess we react this way to women paying up because we’re still used to the reversed situation and I get that. My initial reaction is “Yeah, he SHOULD pay.” most of the time. It’s not always fair but when in doubt, I do tend to side with the woman.

    • Renee28 says:

      Yes. If a woman was staying home raising her son while her husband was off knocking up his costar no one would question if she deserves the money. It sounds as if he was the primary care giver while she was working and only recently has their son been living with her full time.

    • EN says:

      I disagree with alimony for both men and women. Women should be able to support themselves. This is the only way to get to gender equality at some point in the future.

  15. LG says:

    The ex said Morena makes $1.5 m a year. The judge may have come up with that $23k /month support based on the $1.5 m . What I don’t understand is why she has to pay him “for life or until he remarries” which is what it says in the article in People.

    I think that for marriages that last less than 10 years, the length of spousal support is usually half the length of the marriage. So, if the marriage lasted 4 years, then spousal support is 2 years, etc. They were married for 3 1/2 years.

    • Div says:

      The indefinite thing is definitely unusual, which is why I’m starting to think sexism played a part in this. I have my doubts she makes that much…she had a role on Firefly and V and that was about it and I doubt the residuals are that much…Plus, even if she makes $1.5 m a year when you subtract the amount she has to pay for her agent, manager, lawyer, and a taxes a big chunk of that will be gone.

      • LAK says:

        I remember her on ‘stargate’ and ‘Homeland’.

        Looking at her IMDB page, she seems to guest star on many network TV shows and semi-regular on the same eg she’s 2 episodes on ‘the Good wife’, but is 1.5 season of ‘homeland’.

    • Crazy says:

      This whole thing is ridiculous. It feels like the judge was punishing her for cheating, which is not the judge’s job. Actors earnings are notoriously unstable. You see this with many actors. They are slapped with huge alimony payments based on current earnings, then the show ends and they are broke and can’t make the payments. Actor’s earnings need to tide them over for the long, long lean periods.

  16. Ben Ding-Ovr says:

    Can we have some updates on Daniel Craig please.

  17. Saphana says:

    suprised over the huge sum. it would need to be toned down anyway as only a very few people stay popular in both cinema and tv to keep on demanding huge wages. this guy from The Mummy also had insane alimony and struggled to reduce it after his career tanked.

  18. Ollie says:

    If i remember well he is currently unemployed? Why does he need that amount of support money?
    And how rich is she? She was just a supportive character in maybe 4 not that long running shows in the last 15 years or so. Her Gotham part is tiny, right? No way does she currently earn enough. Is she a heiress?

    Yes it’s likely that she always lived thrifty with her earnings from a few episodes Firefly, the alien show? and Homeland.
    He is a healthy human, he doesn’t have sole custody and they were married for just 3 years… Something is fishy here. Around 2600 for the son but he gets 20 000+ in spousal support?

  19. Sumodo1 says:

    Other than she was Claire Danes’s high school classmate, there was nothing surprising in Baccarin’s “Wikapedia” entry. She’s probably not an heiress or the inventor of “Li-Fi.” She ain’t rich. The judge socked it to her. I KNOW I will be following this situation.

  20. LG says:

    She is also in the movie Deadpool, as Ryan Reynold’s love interest. That’s a potential franchise and she filmed it in between Season 1 and Season 2 of Gotham.

    • Naya says:

      She was only a recurring character on Gotham Season 1. Shes only in season 2 been promoted to series regular. She is not the star but a supporting character. Deadpool was likely not a major payday either. Firstly, we know now the kind of money that big name actresses are offered to play love interests and she is hardly a big name. Secondly, Deadpool was made on the cheap, its not getting the standard mega budget because it is R rated and expected to appeal to a very niche crowd.

      As an aside, she must be one of multiple love interests if thats who she even plays. Deadpool is famously pansexual. To lock him down to a human woman would betray the promise they made to preserve the comic version.

  21. JustJen says:

    I don’t get it. I hope her lawyer appeals. This is the kind of crap that caused most states to become no-fault divorce states. Sounds to me like the judge was biased.

  22. The Original Mia says:

    There’s no way that support is indefinite. She probably has to pay him for a year or 18 months. He can’t be a bum forever, especially on a 3-4 year marriage. She may not like but sometimes it’s better to do it to get rid of the husband. She should have worked out support prior to the marriage, but they had dated for years prior when he was working.

  23. Merritt says:

    It seems like the judge wanted to punish her. Her lawyers should try to get that amount reduced.

  24. Blue Sky says:

    Im trying my best to make an opinion, but i can’t get over how her name means “Lord” in my home language. I even pronounce it in Setswana in my head lol.

    SN: Awkward, awkward situation with her co-star. Gotham is weird now with the behind-the-scenes drama and i want Fish Mooney back 🙁

  25. Triple Cardinal says:

    Was there a pre-nup?

  26. ThomThumb says:

    I do not understand the American judicial system, when it comes to spousal support or settlements.

    The cases where someone, be that husband or wife, takes half of the main income earners money is ridonk. Especially when it comes to high-profile cases. The Kevin Kostner or Poul McCartney divorses comes to mind, hell even the Kelsey Grammer one. These woman or men would never… ever have earned that kinda money elsewhere. And if by any remote chance they could have, they really should have. Unless you really believe Camille grammer is talented enough to make that kinda money on her own. The term Golddigger would never ever be in our vacabulary if it wasnt for these insane amounts.

    • Bridget says:

      I’ll at least give Camille Grammar a little bit of credit: she was not only with Kelsey for a long time, but he really did owe some of his success to her because he was/is a barely functioning addict. She helped keep him up and able to actually make his call times and perform and make his money. He wouldn’t have been able to make it through Frasier and make that money without her.

    • Jessica says:

      Paul McCartney is British. His divorce went through the British court system.

    • Tia says:

      Heather Mills didn’t get anything close to half of Paul McCartney’s money. I think she got about £24 million while he is worth at least £400 million (Heather said he was worth £800 million and she was looking for £125 million as a settlement). She didn’t throw a jug of water over Paul’s lawyer because she was happy with what she got.

  27. Me says:

    I don’t feel sorry for her. At all. Don’t feel sorry for cheating spouses

  28. Chinoiserie says:

    I feel that if she makes 1.5M a year (which I belive, TV actors can be much richer than people think) she cheated and there was some kind of non-disclosure agreement this amount of money is completely fine. What is the issue is that supposed till his death or remarriage thing, I just can not believe that. 18 months should be reasonable.

  29. Kate says:

    I don’t think it’s a matter of the court side-eying anything. Spousal support is a pretty straightforward thing. The party who is the primary earner will pay support, almost always for a set number of years. (No longer are we in the days where a man would pay alimony for the rest of his ex-wife’s life or until she remarries). I imagine things will get reshuffled once custody is settled. If he gets joint or primary custody and has the child more often, she’ll pay more child support and less spousal support. A court of equity isn’t going to bankrupt the paying spouse with spousal support payments. These things are usually income and formula-based, not arbitrary. And since just about every state in the U.S. upholds prenuptial agreements, it seems pretty clear that these two don’t have one.

    • (Original, not CDAN) Violet says:


      Agreed. The amounts would’ve been determined by income and formula, not set on a whim.

      That said, I’m not outraged about the amount because I think she made a mockery of her wedding vows so I don’t begrudge him the money.

  30. Leah says:

    That seems an inappropriate amount of money. She’s not a big star and they weren’t married that long. I wouldn’t get married if i was an american movie star because of laws like this. This guy is not old, he can work, theres no reason he should be supported so generously by his ex wife.

  31. Jess says:

    I agree with everyone here, that’s a ridiculous amount of alimony for such a short marriage, he’s a young man who is completely capable of working and providing for himself and his child. He may deserve something for being cheated on but come on, he hasn’t given up 18 years of his career and life to raise children, he’s just angry and going after whatever he can to hurt her, the child lives with her primarily and from what I gather she was paying for his home and he moved across the damn country?!? Sounds like a jerk, I hope she gets the ruling changed.

  32. Andrea says:

    Did anyone else notice he looks odd in all the pictures where she is smiling broadly? He looks like a bit of a jerk in these pictures.

  33. Keaton says:

    Objectively I think she got screwed by that judge and should challenge it.
    Subjectively (and assuming her ex’s side of the story is accurate) – I feel no pity for her.

  34. Bridget says:

    Honest question here: is Morena a serial cheater or was this just a disaster of a marriage? This is total unfounded (and possibly quite unfair), but I just get the creepiest vibes from him in all the pics.

    • AJ says:

      looks like serial one

    • The Original Mia says:

      Not sure how she’s a serial cheater when this was her first marriage. She was with this guy for years before they even married. I’ve heard stories he was cheating on her during her pregnancy and after. If the marriage was over and they were legally separated, then her relationship with Ben was not cheating.

      • AJ says:

        hmm i heard it opposite, she was indeed well known in notorious way for her on set affairs but they stopped with marriage, though rumors about her and Damian was very heavy during Homeland, it was even said that her storyline was cut off bc she was trying to push her baby as Damians, but it was from Chick. Im late march rumors in NYC at Gotham set started about her chasing Ben, claiming she is divorced and how horrible her hubby was, how cheating he was and how he abandoned the kid. Now we hear how she pushes her new baby on Ben, though she was still working on marriage with her ex. Who is the father is a question bc she kept her pregnance a secret for a long time. I guess she is way far far far away of a loyal person and marriage material.

      • Bridget says:

        But how so? Even by Chick’s account, they were having serious problems but he thought they were at least working on them. And that’s if we go by the absolute most damming version possible. We are making a lot of suppositions based on the idea that Austin and Morena were still together when she got pregnant, even though nothing actually supports that. For all we know *he* could have been the serial cheater, threatened by his partner’s continued success. Plus, if she was filming in NYC and he was living in LA, how could they have been living together and working on their marriage?

      • AJ says:

        @Bridget she rented an apartement for them in NYC (not the one that is given by Network) so they could work on things it was in court docs. Rumor fix i guess that site published part of them. If he was a serial cheater then why she wasn’t the one to file divorce before having a baby with another person (if the baby is Ben’s).Why keeping pregnancy a secret from both of them if her hubby was a serial cheater and bad guy. Get a divorce with evidence of adulter and that’s it.
        As i wrote below…i think Chick has a lot on her what wasn’t published yet and that is why the judge decided the way he did

      • @Bridget
        To me, the court papers say the exact opposite of what Chick says. From what I got out of it, they were coparenting AMICABLY, moving on with the divorce, when he found out she had a boyfriend. He was already in the apartment she was paying for, and had the kid–once he found out she had a boyfriend (which the papers say was a couple weeks after he moved all of his stuff into the apartment at NYC), he got mad, and just TOOK the kid back to LA (their custody agreement says that he gets his son for eight days a month, and then every two months, he can take his son to LA for eight days)………

      • AJ says:

        @Virgilia Coriolanus well if u after JUST a couple of week would wals on on a freshly showered new gf of ur still significant other playing with ur kid in apartement what was rented for you to be with ur kid, wouldn’t u take away ur kid that previously lived with u and fly back home? She fooled both men here. As much as i am amused by the amount of money she has to pay now, she is literally paying for all bad selfish and cunningly calculative decidions she has made. If roles were reserves a lot of posters would chear, it is hard to admit that this is rare occasion when a ladyy cheater is paying for all the mess she created

      • Bridget says:

        AJ – where are you getting this from? Anywhere other than Blind Gossip or CDAN?

        And I’m just going to point out, the guy was a “writer” and a “director”, couldn’t he have worked anywhere? Judging by his IMDB, he had the time.

      • The Original Mia says:

        @Bridget, he could work anywhere. He decided to uproot their kid and move back to LA in a fit of pique because she had well and truly moved on. Passive aggressive actions like that make me side-eye most of his story. Is it about the kid or punishing her?

      • AJ says:

        @Bridget of course at other places then blind gossip (i checked there just along the other places). I just spend one evening out of boredoom (due to be stuck at home with stomach bug) reading articles in time order.Aka when was divorce anounced in press,how Morena started to tiwst things etc. I just read at more then one place (for exaample People post articles only pro Morena) and even found some fans tumblers and twitters, those who were on set,posted pictures and telling what they saw. Also here on this site in previous articles ppl were saying a lot of similar stuff. Then went in archives about homeland, and i read there as well. So yeah i see this story as Morena is a serial cheater and she is trying to cover her mess. I do not feel so much for Chick, bc he should have dumped her lon ago it was his choice to give ore chances for a cheater, and all i can say as i did before- Morena is literally paing for her own mess. Numbers are unfair, the fact that she has to pay is fair.
        I feel for both kids and Ben in this story, but today it is not topic of discussion. Though fear,distress and utter unhappines were evident on Be’s face at the latest event.
        As for Chick working before 2012. If i recall correctly (i might be wrong) imdb page is running by not professional ppl, they didn’t have interest in Chick before so they posted all they can fins while they were interested and stopped when they are not. As for continue working from everywhere – he and Morena agreed that he will drop work to be a full time parent while she is filming.

  35. AJ says:

    as much as i am surprised by amount of money i can’t keep thinking about two things….ok may be three.
    1.What her ex has on her, aka what else, what even more huge mess she created….bc that amount of oney needs more solid reason that cheating. My wilde guess is that this number is based on the fact that he gave up his careeer to be full time parent and she did what she did aka lead him to believe that marriage is still on, ade him move to NYC while having and affair + the fact that may be rumors about her affair with co star during Hoeland wasn’t a rumor. A lot of ppl were saying that she was trying to switch her ex with her co star using oops-pregnancy even back then, but her Hoeland co star was wiser than her Gotham one and didn’t fall for it. So we see a pattern that could be used in court. I know it sounds silly, but as i said i can’t see that amount of money if not for her e having smth big on her.
    2.Her new Bf’s family is full of high class lawyers. If they didn’t help her out, then may be her words that SHE (not her ner Bf) plans to arry is just wishfull thinking. Plus add blind gossip and some other sites articles about her admitting that she is not sure that her new bf is baby’s daddy. So he aka new Bf may not help her full force and i really doubt that he will marry her soon bc he risks to support her ex as well.
    Rumors has it (and it only rumors) that in reality Morena said that baby is Ben’s only bc her ex filed divorce. Ben and her wasn’t serios. Just fun in trailer bc she cahsed him hard enough for him to surrender, but it was over very fast and she also lied to him that she is already divoreced.So when her ex filed the divorce she told Ben about the baby (after few months hiding it) so to cover her ass and push him into being Daddy and husband.That is why her reps leak so any info and details to press.
    3. As much as i find the amout of oney to pay ridiculous, i can’t say that it looks like Karma bite her, bc she used her ex business connections to build her carrer, then threw him away as an old gabage (at the second attempt)when he sacrificed his career for the son,
    if i were Ben i would think twice if not more to do smth with her except support the child IF it is his.( DNA test please),bc she will milk him till his last penny now

    • Bridget says:

      Probably less conspiracy, more the fact that if he declined to work in order to support her career, he’s entitled to $$ for a while. As people have pointed out upthread, it’s highly unlikely that this amount is in perpetuity considering that they were married for a short period of time. These things aren’t just arbitrarily decided by a judge, it’s usually a pretty simple math formula. It’s also very possible that both parties really just wanted to get this over with.

      Also going to point out, the dude doesn’t even have anything on his CV past 2012. How much was he even working before his son was born?

  36. PennyLane says:

    I don’t know any of these people, and their domestic situation seems like a huge mess, however based on my previous life experiences I would like to state the following fact:

    That ex-husband has Cheater Face.

    Big time!

    • Andrea says:

      I was thinking that too!! He has a very I don’t care attitude when in every picture when she appears happy.

  37. lady t says:

    Funny…when Halle’s judgment was issued everyone was praising the judge for his ruling.

    • cannibell says:

      Lady t – One thing I haven’t seen with this situation that was very much in play with Halle’s was the level of vitriol and manipulation she exhibited. She did everything she could to undermine Gabriel Aubry’s ability to parent their child, and trashed him from here to the moon at every opportunity. The judge saw through it, and I think that’s what people were praising.

  38. Brasileira says:


  39. wolfie88 says:

    Chick Bitch! WTF will revenge money do.
    “Hey, Austin what do you do for a living.”
    “nothing, my cheating ex pays me”
    *sings* what a man what a man what a might good man

  40. Andrea says:

    So I am guessing she didn’t have a prenup right?

    Random question: can a prenup guard against trusts and monies bringing into the marriage only? What if you acquire yearly income from interest on investments, does that have to be split?

  41. Cupcake says:

    I don’t get why people get up in arms about divorce settlements. Marriage is a legal contract and spousal support/alimony, child support, other types of support are all very typical terms in a dissolution of marriage. Nobody should get involved in any legal contract without being prepared to deal with the various consequences.

  42. anna says:

    jeeez how much do tv actors get paid?. Ive never even heard of her before this. Once again proving i shouldve tried being an actor. lol

  43. Julesj says:

    I was married for 21 years with three kids and did give up my career in support of my husband. Moved to a state where my career didn’t exist. When we divorced my attorney (a friend) was so mad I wouldn’t take alimony that she made us both sign saying I could change my mind at any point for ten years and get it all retroactively. Won’t happen. Alimony is demeaning, in my mind. Why in the world would you get any self-esteem in the choice to be supported?

  44. jc126 says:

    A ridiculous amount of money for such a short marriage of 2 young people. It’s not like they were together for decades.