Aging supermodel and fashion industry icon Linda Evangelista is used to glossy Vogue spreads — not seamy headlines accompanying paparazzi pictures of her in The Post. However, thanks to a vicious child support battle with French billionaire François-Henri Pinault (who you may know as Mr. Salma Hayek — or more importantly, Mr. Gucci Group), she has been reduced to the latter.
While bloggers and critics have targeted Evangelista, and stated that it’s ridiculous that she would demand $46,000 a month to care for their five-year-old son Augustin, I am more sympathetic to her. In many cases, child support becomes a mother’s meal ticket — but I don’t think this is the case here. On her own, Evangelista is estimated to be worth just short of $20 million. Considering she’s been in and out of high-profile relationships with very wealthy gentlemen for years, I’m also guessing she hasn’t been forced to squander her savings. Basically what I’m trying to say here is that Evangelista probably doesn’t need money from Pinault, but who’s to say she isn’t entitled to it?
Pinault and Hayek have a young daughter together as well (Valentina), and the family is regularly photographed on lavish vacations all over the world. It was also disclosed during this trial that the girl has a massive trust fund that includes a $12 million Los Angeles estate. Even though Evangelista and Pinault were allegedly only involved sexually, I still think Augustin is entitled to a similar lifestyle to the one he has provided for Valentina. Now, I’m not saying he needs to whip out his check book and write a $12 million check. Nothing of the sort! But for a man whose family has a net worth higher than $10 billion, I feel that frankly, he can loosen his damn purse strings and prevent this trial from becoming messier than it already is.
The two people who this is hardest on are probably Augustin and Salma. From her perspective, she’s only been married a few years to Pinault, and she’s already dealing with outrageous baby mama drama. Meanwhile, for Augustin, the details of this trial are public record — and it’s not going to feel particularly good in a few years when he finds out his father essentially wanted nothing to do with him. My suggestion, since I think I’m an expert on all legal issues and can make everyone’s lives easier, is that he pays up. Maybe not to the tune of a fat $46K a month, but a figure that’s somewhere in the ball park. Evangelista’s reason for needing such a large sum may seem strange (she insists she needs bodyguards and a full-time nanny), but as a celebrity, there are pressures that require specific attention. Pinault, give your baby mama $25K a month so we can all move on and this child can potentially gain some semblance of a normal life.
When I think about child support, I’m immediately drawn to the situation that played on The Real Housewives of Atlanta between cast member Sheree Whitfield and ex-husband Bob. He pissed away his fortune (probably on McMansions and depressingly ugly cars) and claims he is unable to pay her support. In this case, the answer isn’t as clear to me. I still feel like he owes his children, but if he doesn’t have the money, then he simply doesn’t have the money. You can fight this crap in court for years, but if someone can’t pay — they just can’t pay!
Ultimate conclusion: If you have a ton of money, be a little bit more flexible. After all, you DID contribute to this situation in the first place. Was that night of passion worth the price? Be a dear and decide out of court so the press doesn’t go even crazier.