Jesse James’ ex pleads to Sandra Bullock for shared custody of her daughter

Jesse James’ ex wife and the mother of his five year old daughter, former pr0n star Janine Lindemulder, appeared in a pre-taped segment on Good Morning America yesterday pleading for custody of her daughter. Lindemulder is out of federal prison after serving a six month sentence for tax evasion. She failed to pay any federal taxes for six full years, from 2000 to 2006, and owed nearly $300,000 to the government.

James is the husband of rom-com star Sandra Bullock, and he and Bullock currently have full custody of Lindemulder’s five year old daughter, Sunny. Both Bullock and James allege that Lindemulder is an unfit mother and are seeking to retain custody of Sunny now that her mom is out of prison. In her Good Morning America segment, Lindemulder acknowledges that she has made mistakes and abused drugs in the past, but says she’s ready to co-parent again and that she’d just like to sit down and talk to Bullock about it. She also calls Bullock a great mom to Sunny, but says that it hurts that Bullock has never talked to her and that more than anything she’d like to open communication with her. Lindemulder no longer works in the adult film industry by court order and is hoping to start a career as a tattoo artist:

It’s not quite the ultimate battle of good versus evil, but it’ll do: America’s Sweetheart is taking on a freshly jail-broken pr0n star in what’s shaping up to be quite the headline-grabbing custody dispute.

The child in question is 5-year-old Sunny James, the daughter of Monster Garage host Jesse James and his trouble-plagued, sobriety-challenged, adult-film-star ex, Janine Lindemulder.

For the better part of the last year, James (with a massive maternal assist from wife Sandra Bullock) has had sole custody of the child, due primarily to the fact that Lindemulder has spent the past six months behind bars for tax evasion.

But now she’s out and looking for a return stake in parental duties. And what better place to find that than Good Morning America?

“What would give her the right to take away my daughter?” Lindemulder said of Bullock, toward whom the majority of her ire seems directed. “This is my daughter. I’m the best mother I can be.”

And while she admitted on the morning show that she’s “absolutely made horrific choices in the past,” she stresses that her life is currently back on track.

Though Bullock and James beg to differ.

The duo each penned letters to the judge in Lindemulder’s recent tax evasion case, urging stricter punishment and painting the erstwhile Blink-182 video vixen as an unfit parent.

“I am aware that Janine has claimed many times that my desire to have Sunny was because I could not have children of my own,” Bullock writes in the letter obtained by ABC News. “As difficult as that is for me to hear, and write, it couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

Instead, she claims it was Lindemulder’s life choices that led to the decision not to have kids of her own, saying she and James “realized that due to the instability in Sunny’s life, bringing another child into the world at this time would not be in Sunny’s best interest.”

Also detrimental to Sunny, in Bullock’s opinion? Having Lindemulder in her life.

“I myself have stopped working like I used to in order to be here with Jesse and the kids because we are on constant ‘high alert,’ ” she writes. “Never knowing what condition Janine will be in, and even more concerning, the condition Sunny will be in.

“While in Janine’s care, sometimes Sunny is left alone during the day, while her mother is asleep from drug use.”

Lindemulder, as expected, didn’t let those comments slide.

“Sandy doesn’t know what goes on in my house. She doesn’t know how…I’d love for her to,” she said on GMA. “Please, come over! I’ll make dinner, let’s sit down, two women.”

Of the allegations about her home life—James and Bullock have criticized not only Lindemulder, but her new husband, Jeremy Aikman, who has several past state and federal convictions involving alcohol, guns and the manufacturing of narcotics—Lindemulder said the couple is simply misinformed.

“It hurts tremendously. The accusations, especially from Sandra…her even more so, because we’ve never sat down and talked. That’s the one thing that I wish more than anything for a remedy for what’s happening here, is just communication.”

Still, Lindemulder acknowledged that Bullock is an “excellent mother” who genuinely cares for her daughter.
It’s a compliment Bullock has taken and is seemingly ready to run with.

“I know the term ‘stepmother’ carries many connotations, one of them being a ‘glorified babysitter,’ ” she writes. “My commitment and responsibility to Sunny, and Chandler and Jesse Jr., goes beyond that.

“We are FULLY prepared to accept the responsibility and make Sunny’s transition as healthy as possible if full custody should be awarded to Jesse…We are here, and know we may have a tough road ahead of us but we have built a strong and stable foundation, which makes us ready for anything.”
Including, one hopes, a custody battle royale.

[From E! News]

I think the most damning part of this report is the allegation that Lindemulder was passed out from drugs when she was supposed to be caring for her daughter. There’s also the issue of her new husband’s criminal past. Lindemulder and her husband have a lot of strikes against them, and they should have to show that they’re both serious about their sobriety if she wants to regain partial custody.

Lindemulder’s request that Bullock sit down and talk to her is completely reasonable, but these two have a long history. James hooked up with Bullock when then-wife Lindemulder was seven months pregnant with Sunny. Bullock and James sought sole custody of Sunny well before Lindemulder went to prison. In 2007, they launched a court case for custody with some circumstantial evidence of abuse. In court papers, Bullock and James explained that then three-year-old Sunny had bruises on her face that she said she got from “mommy’s chair,” and she also seemed upset and cried out things in her sleep like “don’t touch me.”

I’m not sure if Lindemulder has visitation of Sunny at all, and maybe she can start with court-monitored visits until she can prove that she’s ready for shared custody. It doesn’t sound like she’s back on her feet yet, although she does seem earnest about it. She also deserves some credit for not smack talking Bullock and for just asking to talk to her about it. You can tell that Sandra and Jesse really care for this little girl and that they just want the best for her.

Sandra and Sunny are shown at LAX on 7/27/08. Credit:

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43 Responses to “Jesse James’ ex pleads to Sandra Bullock for shared custody of her daughter”

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  1. M says:

    I hate that this article is about Sandra vs. Janine when it should mostly be about Janine and Jesse. She should want to sit down with her ex and repair her relationship with him than to reach out to Sandra (not that that isn’t a good thing to do). Seems like her focus is misguided to me.

  2. Tess says:

    Sad story.

    What happens to the child after Sandra and Jesse divorce?

    Sounds harsh, I know….but that’s the reality and the judge must take that into consideration.

  3. Firestarter says:

    I think that James and Bullock should retain full custody of the child and allow supervised visitation on the girl. Bullock should talk to Janine, but the child looks happy, healthy and well adjusted from the various photos I have seen.

    There is no way I would let the child back into her home until she has proven she has turned her life around. I do believe she is probably sincere in her desires to have a relationship with Bullock in the best interest of her daughter.

    She has made mistakes, but she should be allowed to see her daughter and work towards spending time with her gradually.

  4. Just a Poster says:

    I agree M. Seems like she is going to pit the “Mom vs Woman without a baby” angle.

  5. flourpot says:

    What drives these people to visit TV shows to repair their personal life?! Jeez, people, show some class. You pay for a lawyer, don’t you? As does your x-husband. So utilize that money you’re spending and hook up with him/her that way. Someone needs to start selling common sense, there’s a hell of a market for it, lately.

  6. mollyb says:

    I think it’s laughable that her defense is that she “the best mother (she) can be”. Well, that’s enough for any child, right? You may be passed out from drugs while your young daughter is supervised by your felon husband but you’re doing your best right?

  7. Beth says:

    I don’t understand why the press is making this into Janine vs Sandra. If Jesse wasn’t asking for sole custody, this wouldn’t even be a story. Based on Janine’s comments (Sandra wants her child, wants to have dinner as two women) I’m assuming that Janine believes that Sandra wants full custody not Jesse. He’s just doing it for her. Still, Janine needs to talk to her ex.

  8. BitterBetty says:

    I know I don’t really know anything about the situation but watching this interview Janine seems to be taking responsibility for her past choices, and honestly trying to get back on track. not everyone is a multi million $ movie star… it’s not easy getting a new job to support yourself, fighting your addiction and trying to be a good mom all at the same time. I dunno, Sandra and JJ obviously have the upper hand being rich and powerful vs Janine who’s an ex con, ex porn star and addict… I hope SB and JJ remember that taking a child away from her mother is something that child will have to live with for the rest of her life. so it should be the absolute last resort.

  9. Green Is Good says:

    Thank you, M! That’s what I was thinking. Why isn’t she trying to negotiate with Sunny’s father? Because he’s not an A list celeb? Sandra isn’t Sunny’s stepmother, but unlike Janine, Sandra cares about the welfare of her husband’s child. Janine is unfit. Done.

    The only reason Janine keeps mentioning Sandra’s name every two seconds is because it will bring more publicity, which is what Janine wants.

    Janine is STILL in the porn industry. She has her own website pushing her movies and whatever else.

    The other reason she’s wants some kind of custody is so she can collect some kind of child support.

  10. Green Is Good says:

    Additional: If Jesse had married a nobody, Janine wouldn’t have been able to get the time of day from GMA.

  11. Firestarter says:

    I think she isn’t making James an issue because it is Bullock who has been the main one writing letters and going to the courts.

    James, from what I have seen from his old reality show (some motocycle show I watched a marathon of one thanksgivng) and on Celebrity Apprentice (don’t judge) seems very meek and docile. Lindenmulder used to be VERY domineering to him on his show, and the other Apprentice contestants used to steamroll over him. I think he is kind of whimpy and a little dumb, BUT very nice and likeable. I am sure Bullock wears the pants in that relationship and Lindenmulder knows that based on having done the same with him during their marriage. So, I think that is why it is more her speaking about Bullock and not about James.

  12. princess pea says:

    Seriously, custody issues are between mother and father, and should not involve anyone else. If she wants more visitation, it should be discussed by lawyers, not in public, and not by smearing a star’s name. It would be nice for Sandra to go visit this lady, maybe, but WHY? How many stepmothers and second wives make buddy-buddy relationships with the ex? (Imagine Katie Holmes out for lunches and girls nights with Nicole)

    Sunny’s best interests may include a fuller relationship with her mother, but ONLY once her mother has proven that she is reformed. Until Jesse feels that has happened, supervised visits are all that I would allow.

    Edited to add: Green Is Good, your second comment is so right. Lucky lady, that her ex married someone more famous.

  13. vico says:

    I agree with BitterBetty. If she is trying to start over and can prove she is getting better she needs to be a part of her daughter’s life and her daughter needs that too. Lots of kids might rather have a famous movie star as a mom but that doesn’t mean it’s the best for her. As far as JJ goes, anyone that watched him on the Apprentice could see what a total ass he can be. He was verbally abusive to more than one contestant. I wonder how he treated his wife in the marriage. It really does usually take two to screw things up.

  14. Firestarter says:

    @Vico- I saw him in a totally different way than you did obviously. He was very low key and only spoke up when people were fighting. I never saw him be an ass except with the people who were assholes themselves.

    You should check out episodes of his old show I think it was on TLC or some channel back in 2004. Lindenmulder was NUTS on there and always yelling and screaming at him.

    I find James to be a spineless whimp myself.

  15. maddie says:

    Sorry but if Lindemulder was really concerned about getting her daughter back after she got out of prison she would have not married an ex-con with guns, drugs and other things on his rap sheet.

    Let see an ex(?) porn star with a stint in the big house for tax evasion, drug use and an violent ex-con as a husband, she married after getting out of jail

    VS a well known stable father and his wife an famous well known and well liked actress, who booth have got there act together seems to me who would be the logical choice.

    Why should she states Sandra should come and see her and have dinner with her and see that she is not a bad person, of course not she will be on her best behavior to get Sunny back.

    Sunny must have told her dad that her mom was sleeping all day.

  16. maddie says:

    Tess: Is Jesse & Sandra getting divorced? I hadnt heard that before now?

  17. Westender says:

    The fact that these celebrity parents like Janine(she would be considered a celebrity because Sunny’s father is JJ) or the Gosselins and others decide to do media interviews is just wrong.
    As a previous poster said that is what lawyers are for, to hammer out the best agreement that benefits everyone. I honestly think that the judges overseeing such custody cases involving children of celebrities impose a media blackout on reporting any details.
    Having your parents fighting over you and or a divorce is hard enough on a child without the entire world knowing about it. The parents made a choice to be in the media spotlight , the children did not have that choice

  18. crash2GO2 says:

    BitterBetty, well said. This issue hits close to home for me. Let’s just say that my ex is keeping my 5 year-old daughter from me for much the same reasons, except those reasons are made up in his head, and he is the one with the problems he is accusing me of. He was the one in rehab, not me. I’m not saying that this is the same situation by any means. But for anyone to keep a child from their mother needs to realize that this is not something to take lightly. in my case, my attorney says it will work in my favor – the courts don’t like it if there isn’t any reason for it. And he doesn’t even have a court order for it – he just decided to take her. Nice, huh?

  19. shibajonz says:

    Jesse left Janine after repeated violent incidents on her part. He warned her that was a ‘deal-breaker’ for him, but she didn’t – or couldn’t – stop. He and Sandra got together AFTER he left Janine.

  20. birdie says:

    From my point of view, Janine does not look like a “fit” parent. If I were Jesse James, I would fight tooth and nail to ensure Janine & her felon husband only received supervised visits with Sunny, a few times a month. Sunny is a lucky little girl to have Jesse and Sandra in her life.

    I think its not the media, but Janine who is forming this as a “Sandra vs. Janine” debate. Firstly, it looks better if she is fighting someone who has no biological claim to the child. Jesse has every right to keep his little girl away, but if Janine focuses the argument on Sandra – it’s like “she stole my baby!”

    Secondly, I think Janine really views the situation as her vs. Sandra. She strikes me as a disturbed, highly immature woman, who truly thinks Sandra is trying to replace her. Janine appears to be personally affronted that Sandra thinks she has any right to comment on her parenting or be close with her daughter. It’s like she sees Sunny as property, something she owns, that Sandra is trying to take away from her.

    Anyway why is Janine taking this to the networks? This is a private family matter, nothing can be gained by exposing her dirty laundry to the public. There are courts and lawyers who should be helping her with this, not an interview on the Today show.

    If Janine really wants her daughter back, the proper course of action is to stay sober, get into a recovery program. Be drug tested weekly or monthly to prove to the courts and the other parents that you are on the straight and narrow. Get your act together, save some money, prove that you can stand on your own two feet before you try to bring another little life into the situation.

  21. Iggles says:

    Ugh. This story really sucks. I want to think Bullock and James are doing the best thing. However, they do have a history of douche behavior (James leaving his pregnant wife; Bullock dating a married man with a child on the way). Still the mother seems unstable. I think it probably in the child’s best interest to stay with her dad until the court declares her fit. After that joint custody seems the best thing for all parties — BUT they will need to put their personal crap behind them!!

  22. Roni says:

    I feel sorry for ALL parties involved, I really feel bad for Sunny the most. This issue ISN’T Sandra Bullock’s battle to fight…case closed. She is a non-issue so her name shouldn’t even be brought up. This issue is about Jesse and Janine. They are the ones that made Sunny…Sandra was NO WHERE AROUND when the love was being made and all was right with the world! Sandra is Jesse’s wife NOW (at the moment) she has NOTHING to do with this in my opinion. Yes, Sunny lives with her (Sandra) but she is SOLELY there because her father is there. Now, I know the woman has served time, but she should be given the benefit of the doubt. Also she married an ex-con which will NOT look good in getting her child back (don’t know what she was thinking about there). IF I was the judge, I would tell Sandra to step back and let her husband take care of his own business, I would tell Janine that IF she wanted custody back she would have to drop that “new” husband, stay in a legit job for over one year and then maybe after a year has gone past we will take it back to court. I would keep the custody order that is in existence now for at least one more year until the biological mother proved herself fit. Then see what happens.

  23. temeneos says:


    I would be so sympathetic if she hadn’t gone to the media to air out her concerns.

    Leave it to the family court, I am guessing the judge will NOT be amused by the bio mom’s antics

  24. Feebee says:

    It’s a pity this being played out in public, but since it is…. on the surface of things the best thing looks like Sunny should stay with her dad with supervised visits from her mum. It seems to be the stable environment. Despite the mum’s problems she shouldn’t be cut off from her daughter if the contact can be made in a safe and healthy way.

  25. snowball says:

    Iggles, so Jesse and Sandra have shown douchebag behaviors? And this famewhore Janine is of course, a bastion of morality and normalcy.

    This woman is toxic and she doesn’t do much to dispel that appearance by going on television and doing a “poor me” act.

    How about she should get her life together (including kicking that loser she’s with to the curb) and ask a judge to gradually increase visitation instead of going on televison to screech the tired old, “she can’t have babies, that’s why she’s stealing mine!”

    Or maybe Sandra is just a loving mom who is doing what she thinks best for Sunny. I highly, highly doubt that Jesse is wearing a skirt while all this plays out. Just because he’s not whoring it up on t.v. doesn’t mean he’s not doing as much if not more than Sandra is to keep Sunny safe.

    I’m with temeneos – the family court judge will sort it all out and I don’t think all the whining she’s done and the way she’s done it will impress anyone.

    And what’s with all the, “Sandra’s his wife…for now” stuff. If anyone’s heard rumors that she and Jesse are splitting up, I’d love to hear it too. Because they seem to really have it together, unlike a lot of Hollywood couples.

  26. vico says:

    @firestarter, I believe you’re right on the spineless part but saw him be nasty beyond called for on Apprentice. Also him not fighting this battle instead of Bullock is pretty spineless too.

  27. Firestarter says:

    @Vico- That is my point. He is spineless and that is why Bullock is in the front of the fight and why Lindenmulder is addressing her.

    Look, I don’t say that the mother is a paragon of virtue by any means, but to be angry that she is only addressing Bullock is ridiculous, because if you read the articles on here and other blogs, Bullock has been the one to take the initiative with the custody. James has been the silent one. Bullock is the one writing letters and attending the court proceedings. I do think that Bullock is in charge and that is who Janine is trying to appeal to and why she is.

  28. Firestarter says:

    Does anyone remember her as the naughty nurse from Blink-182’s Enema of the State album cover?

  29. Tazina says:

    Look what Lindemulder married, an ex-con with a rap sheet as long as his arm….HELLO…”the manufacturing of narcotics”…was he running a meth lab and destroying people’s lives?…..and Lindemulder says something about the couple being “misinformed”…..ummmm..I don’t think so….the facts speak for themselves…..the most this woman should get is supervised visitation and nothing more.

  30. gg says:

    She needs to work on her appearance if she wants a court to find her believable. All the awful throat tattoos are not helping, so I’d start with the lasering if I were she.

  31. Katyusha says:

    @Green is Good
    I guess technically, Janine is still in the porn industry pushing her merch, but she does not, in fact, make movies any longer.


    When you say she “doesn’t look like a ‘fit’ parent”, do you mean physically? Or she doesn’t seem like it?

    We all know she’s a mess, but I’m curious as to what you meant by that.

    Janine is so beautiful, I can’t believe she chose THAT guy. Ugh.

  32. Jeri says:

    She should prove herself instead of shouting it on TV. Does she want shared-custody or attention. Repeating herself on TV proves nothing. Do the work instead of the talk.

  33. birdie says:

    @ Katyusha…. She does not look like a fit parent appearing on national tv announcing that her ex and his wife are trying to steal her daughter. Listen, I know there are people who have made mistakes and served jail time and that doesn’t necessarily make them bad people. But Janine hardly looks like she has her act together enough to have her daughter’s best interests at heart. She got married to another felon while imprisoned?! She knows nothing about this man she is letting into her life, and now she wants her daughter to be around him too. He looks gross, his rap sheet is terrifying. Parents who put their children in dangerous situations by surrounding them by unpredictable dangerous people are Unfit in my eyes.

  34. Katyusha says:

    Fair enough.

  35. anony says:

    “Janine is so beautiful, I can’t believe she chose THAT guy. Ugh.”

    Janine USED to be beautiful– now she’s a tattooed freak.

    The longer this goes on, the worse it is for what’s left of Bullock’s career.

    When you read the details of this, it’s obvious the kid was not in the best of care with Janine. And it has nothing to do with her porn career.

    Unfortunately, it also looks like the kid has got her looks from Jesse and not Janine.

  36. Elle says:

    I agree Firestarter, I just dont understand why Sandra would want to involve herself with such a man. Usually, when your guy tells you he married a druggie, porn star and procreated with her, you run . . . or is that just me? Sandra can do so much better than this ass monkey.

  37. jaye says:

    She may not be a good mother, but Sandra Bullock is full of crap. She’s sacrificing having kids of her own because of someone else’s kid? Yeah right. It sounds good and makes her a sound like a very giving person. She should win an academy award for that acting.

  38. Judy says:

    I think that little girl is pretty and is fortunate not to look like a porn star lol Janine if she really wanted her child would not have married an excon with violent behavior raps. She would have gotten treatment and then tried to get her kid back. She can yack all day long about BUllock but Sandra has been there for this little girl. Sandra does’nt pass out from drugs and as far as her breaking up that marriage it isnt true. He had already left her and had to have a dna test to make sure the baby was his. It is a shame tht this kid is going to even know what her mother does for a lving, how embarassing for this child to have a mother as a porn star. They need to take this ckid from her and not give her any visitation and maybe this child can grow up without this baggage,

  39. Firestarter says:

    @Judy- Could you please link where you got the DNA test info. from? Because anything I have read about them has no ref. to any DNA tests being performed or James claiming that Sunny may not have been his.

    Also, Bullock and James most certainly did meet before his marriage to Lindenmulder was over.

  40. Kathie says:

    I am just glad that a judge in a court who has the facts from both sides is making this determination instead of people who have no stake in how this little girl grows up and are writing to express their opinion..ugh!

  41. lolo says:

    I love Sandra Bullock! Team Sandra Bullock!!

  42. Katyusha says:


    I fail to see why her beauty is no longer existing because she’s a “tattooed freak.”

    Perhaps, because I am also, a “tattooed freak.” But your judgemental comments are a nice touch 🙂

  43. myohmy says:

    JJ accused janine of child abuse and asked Children Service to investigate. Janine maintained shared, unsupervised visits. I guess they found nothing to prevent this. Janine’s tax status was reported by JJ (says Janine) and then he and Sandra asked for stiff penalties. Most people are allowed to work out a repayment plan with IRS even when they owe a lot more than Janine. This was done with the pleas of Sandra and JJ. Was this a ploy to control Janine access to her child?… Also a way of getting Custody. What does Sandra’s accusations have to do with not paying your taxes. JJ seems to have a history of reporting people, like he did with Dennis Rodman. If he was concerned he would have arranged an intervention privately.
    Note: Did jj’s first wife keep him from his 2 children when he had substance abuse problems? Doesn’t jj own guns? A man who has been married 3 times may have committment problems. A man who abandons his child for her first years has committment problems. How did he and Janine meet? Was he into porn?
    Janine went to court w/o a lawyer because of lack of funds.She knows the deck is stacked against her, especially in light of Sandra’s celebrity sataus.
    Maybe she used the media to help her level the playing field. If Janine is wild and crazy then she probably was wild and crazy when JJ married her. What does that say about JJ.
    Note to Sandra, a child loves its Mother unconditionaly and tends to later resent those who condemn the Mother. Years of observing and counseling have thought me this. Be Careful What You Wish For!!! It seems you and JJ are stalking Janine. A child knows what you want to hear and will respond accordingly.