She was one of the original supermodels and famously uttered the oft-quoted line: “I don’t get out of bed for less than £10,000.” She still cuts a stunning figure with looks that many women would die for. But at 46, Linda Evangelista has gone down in my estimation this week. Considerably. I’m sure it won’t bother her but anyone who can still command vast sums for appearances and modelling does not need to argue in court that she needs £28,000 a month from the father of her four-year-old son.
Ms Evangelista argues she needs to pay for around-the-clock nannies and armed chauffeurs to take care of Augustin while she, as a single mother, is working. I appreciate that as a high-profile figure (though perhaps not as high these days as she once was) she is likely to spend a little more on security surrounding her offspring that your average parent. However, holding out for such a huge amount does seem a little excessive. And it sends the wrong message to “normal” couples attempting to thrash out details of a financial settlement.
As I have said before, we live in a celebrity culture and some people take their lead from the way people they see in the media behave. Seeing someone like Linda Evangelista, who has earned millions and is still said to have had an income of well over £1million last year, saying she needs her ex to pay such a huge amount towards childcare surely sets a bad example.
This story has legs and will run a while yet. No decision on the issue has yet been reached by the New York court where it was heard and even the judge’s jaw dropped at the lofty figure, it has been reported. There is also the matter that the father, revealed for the first time, is billionaire François-Henri Pinault, 49, the CEO of luxury brands firm PPR, which owns Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, and husband of Hollywood actress Salma Hayek
There are single mums out there fighting to get some support from an estranged ex to help them as they try to raise children and work. Many, I think, would be horrified to hear that a wealthy and successful woman is using the courts to fight to get such an obscene sum. It is not the fact that the father should not have to pay, it is just the level bearing in mind the financial position of all involved.
Of course, it doesn’t cover the father in glory either. As a billionaire, you would have expected him to do what he could to ensure his son is comfortable. Some reports allege he does not contribute.
As family solicitors, we do what we can to encourage couples to reach financial settlements amicably. This is hard enough task on its own in situations where emotions are running high. Having celebrity ‘role models’ like this setting such an example does not help anyone.