Celebrity marriages — and celebrity divorces — can sometimes appear as if they exist in another realm. Granted, many couples deal with their fair share of issues, but when it comes to high-powered public figures and wildly wealthy stars, subjects such as ironclad prenups, super-speedy splits, career-ending break-ups, and battles over fortunes are not unusual.
Sometimes, it’s hard to see where the fictional realm of movies, TV, and music ends and where the real-life romances of our favorite stars begin, but as Glamour notes, “Love shouldn’t be dramatic like the movies.” The magazine asserts that what “makes a great scene in a movie relationship (i.e., man running through the rain to try to get his lover back after he wronged her) makes for an uncomfortable scene in a marriage. A healthy marriage requires consistency, not drama.” That may be true, yet many celebrity relationships still seem to involve plenty of jaw-dropping twists and eye-popping turns.
But don’t just take our word for it! Stephen L. Cawelti, APC, a divorce lawyer who also handles child custody cases, was willing to give Nicki Swift the cringe-worthy, questionable, and celeb-soaked details of his clients’ most dramatic moments.
The prenup of this 'serial womanizer' had 'no upside'
Stephen L. Cawelti is a lawyer in Los Angeles who’s worked on a lot of prenuptial agreements, including one that was, er, “different.” Cawelti discussed his work with the then-fiancé of a “major on-air personality,” noting that “she was a talent in her own right, but her earnings were nothing compared to her soon to be husband (think money that you couldn’t spend in a lifetime, multiple hillside homes, performance royalties forever, books deals, the whole shebang).”
However, when Cawelti took a look at what the soon-to-be husband wanted in the prenup, his “jaw dropped.” Apparently, it “was a well-known fact that the husband was a serial womanizer, and this prenup was setting him up to get away with cycling through another one.” For instance, the proposed prenupt stated that “if either one of them wanted to divorce, the wife had to completely move out within 24 hours (regardless of if he abused her or had an affair). She would get alimony only if they stayed married for over five years, and it would only be $1,000 a month (even though he made millions a year).”
Cawelti told his client, “This prenup makes it look like he doesn’t even like you! There is absolutely NO upside for you by signing this agreement.” While he was “able to work out a few little things to lessen the blow, … she signed that terrible prenup to pacify her man,” he said, because “she thought that her fiance would find someone else if she put up a fight.”
And the Oscar goes to… a member of the paparazzi
It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting their divorce proceedings made public, and that’s especially understandable when it comes to celebrities whose lives often play out in front of the cameras. That’s why divorce lawyer Stephen L. Cawelti’s firm “specializes in discretion.” Unfortunately, that didn’t prevent one sticky situation from transpiring when paparazzi decided to “[play] dirty.”
During the split of an “A-list actress” and her spouse, the star wanted to “keep her divorce completely under the radar,” which Cawelti’s firm was happy to do. But an hour before the celebrity was scheduled for an appointment with her legal counsel, “a stranger claiming to be the actress’s brother approached [their] parking lot security in a frenzy.” Cawelti explained: “He told our security that he was the actress’s brother and that she had asked him to hurry over and bring her some important information for the attorney. He played the part so convincingly and provided enough confidential information that the attendant let him in to wait for her.” When the actress showed up, “she was greeted by a flurry of flashes and harassment. She sprinted to her car covering her face and sped off into the night.”
Cawelti apologized for what had happened. His star client insisted on using “a back entrance and freight elevator” for future appointments. Beyond that, the firm “had to up the training of [their] parking security.” Thankfully, they’ve “not had an incident like this since,” Cawelti said.
There's a silver lining to this 'drug-induced mania'
Although Stephen L. Cawelti’s firm may now be able to keep things private from the paparazzi, that doesn’t mean the team can always prevent the stars themselves from (sometimes unintentionally) putting legal information out into the world. That’s what happened when a celebrity who was going through a divorce “accidentally exposed his drug addiction to the public.”
According to Cawelti, his “client was in a drug-induced mania” and “became ultra-paranoid,” even “announc[ing] on social media that his home was being watched and to please send help.” Help arrived in the form of “local law enforcement helicopters,” Cawelti said. Beyond that, “the cops broke down the door to come to [the star’s] aid, only to find a bunch of illegal drugs. He got arrested and was taken away kicking and screaming.”
Fortunately, that’s not the end of the story. Because Cawelti’s client was involved in a divorce and “battling for custody rights,” the judge “agreed that it was best for everyone (including the kids) for some leeway to be granted,” and the “client’s wife agreed to a temporary custody switch so that he could get the help he needed.” In turn, the star “went to rehab, put in the work, and came back better than ever,” Cawelti said.
When her husband left her, this client was 'out for blood'
“I don’t wanna give him a g*dd**n thing!” That’s what divorce lawyer Stephen L. Cawelti was told when he took on a rather determined client. Those fighting words transpired when a “major TV show executive divorced his wife and ‘upgraded’ to a young model.” His wife was “outraged” and decided to take action. Cawelti said she sued her ex, “then sued him again, and again, and again.”
“First she sued him for the jewelry, then their book collection, then for some expensive silverware, then for the ocean-view home. The suing never stopped,” he said. On top of that, by the time Cawelti started working with the women, she had already “fired over 5 attorneys.” Although that made him “hesitant to take her on,” he decided to give her a chance and was sure to “proceed with caution.”
However, Cawelti admitted that “she was out for blood, and was ready to sue her husband till she owned the shirt on his back.” Cawelti said they eventually “parted ways,” and she has supposedly “moved on to three or four other attorneys.” Good luck to them!
Wedding dress? Check. Cake? Check. Videographer…for the prenup? Check
Divorce lawyer Stephen L. Cawelti knows what you’re thinking. “Are prenups romantic?” he asks. Whatever you may think of them, this legal expert says that to “most of [his] wealthy clients, they are a wedding prep checklist item.” Such was the case with a “major financial industry figure” whose “prenup was worthy of an expensive videographer.” However, Cawelti says videotaping the prenup “wasn’t the weird part.”
Apparently, while the bride “was a fully consenting adult, … it was no secret she was coming to the country to marry him for his money.” In fact, she “did not speak English,” so the legal team “had to get the prenup translated.” They were able to get the woman “one of the best lawyers who spoke her language to negotiate the terms of the prenup for her” to help ensure that the terms were as fair as possible.
“When it was time to sign, we met up at highrise in Century City,” Cawelti recalled. “We even had a judge witness the event, just to be safe. The entire prenup signing (which takes less than 10 minutes) was recorded for them to remember fondly.” Oh, such happy memories!
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