It’s tale that has long been written about: A supermodel meets a dashing billionare and they fall in love. Except, in this instance, Linda Evangelista’s affair with Francois-Henri Pinault has all the makings of another installment of the War of the Roses.
After a four-month relationship, which produced one child, the pair are now locked in an increasingly nasty court battle over child support payments, with the model said to be demanding a staggering $46,000 a month. And, today, it emerged that the French billionaire, who is now married to Salma Hayek, asked Evangelista to abort their child.
“After some initial happiness, he told her he wished she would terminate the pregnancy,” Evangelista’s lawyer William Beslow told a support magistrate,describing a conversation from Jan. 2006.
Evangelista, who was then in her early 40s, told Pinault she would keep the baby.
“She would support the child herself,” Evangelista told him, “since he had made it perfectly clear to her that he had no interest in doing so,” the lawyer said.
“And she did. ”
On the stand, Pinault said he met Evangelista in May of 2005, began dating her in September, and learned of the pregnancy in early 2006.
“I asked her what was her intention with the pregnancy. I was not involved in the decision of having babies,” he said.
“We were dating four months and I didn’t even know her very much.”
The Frenchman admitted he dumped Evangelista because he wanted nothing to do with the baby.
“She was so happy to be pregnant,” he remembered. “But it was not planned. I decided to stop the relationship at that point.”
Asked then by Beslow whether he believed Evangelista had intentionally become pregnant, he answered: “Well, she can answer that but I guess.”
“I was not involved in the decision of having a baby,” he said.
“ Then of course, I told her I would recognize the baby which I did. I would take my responsibility and I did. ”
Their four-month affair ended and Pinault soon met Hayek, who he would later go on to marry and have a child with.
We think Forbes coverage of the days events is the most intriguing of all….
Evangelista’s attorneys alleged on Thursday, he’s paid not a cent (or euro, as the case may be) towards Augie’s upkeep, including schooling at the costly Lycée Français. There’s more than money at stake, though. Early on in the two-hour hearing, Evangelista’s lawyer wondered whether Pinault thought the model had intentionally become pregnant, provoking an angry objection from the French billionaire’s legal team. “She can answer, but I guess,” was Pinault’s hushed response, in heavily-accented English.
Then there’s the question of fairness. After leaving Evangelista, Pinault married another big-name beauty: Hollywood actress Salma Hayek. Hayek and Pinault have a child of their own, Valentina, born less than a year after Augie. Evangelista’s attorney was careful to show how Pinault’s provisions for Valentina differ from those for Augie. Four-year-old Valentina, for instance, will become owner of a $12 million Los Angeles home the day she turns 21. (Pinault has two other older children from his first marriage, called Mathilde and Francois. They live in Paris with their mother.)
Evangelista’s legal team detailed the extravagant vacations Pinault takes with Hayek and their daughter, including a 12-day stay at the Four Seasons in Bora Bora in 2010 that cost around $60,000, Christmas on a yacht in St. Barths and stays in Miami. The French fashion mogul admitted he’d never invited Augie on a trip, nor that he’d ever told Augie of the existence of his two oldest siblings. He also told the court he occasionally pays for a security team to guard Valentina against the invasive paparazzi when the family is in L.A. He offers no such provision for Augie.
The only time Evangelista betrayed any real emotion was when Pinault couldn’t seem to recall for the court when he learned of her pregnancy (“I got pregnant in January and told him in March,” she whispered to her attorney, her voice wavering). He made certain the judge understood the nature of their relationship. They dated for three or four months in 2006, although she lived in New York and he in Paris. They were together, Pinault said, about seven days in total. “I didn’t know her very much,” he told the court.
Towards the end of the afternoon, the subject of Pinault’s relationship with his son came up for debate. Evangelista’s lawyers produced an email exchange between the two, regarding a 2009 birthday party for Augie in New York. Pinault was in town, but said he had appointments. He didn’t, though, according to the model’s attorney. After thinking for a moment, Pinault said: “I came, with my wife,” referring to Hayek. Evangelista shook her head, leaned over to her legal team, and said: “After we fought.”
While Evangelista’s exact child support demands were not discussed on Thursday, the media has repeatedly reported a figure of $47,000 per month. In the courtroom, the Canadian beauty’s attorney dismissed that amount as incorrect, and the result of a PR campaign by Pinault. The case will continue on Friday, and is expected to last four days in total. Evangelista has yet to take the stand, but watch this space….