Since he divorced his wife last year, U.S. TV icon David Hasselhoff has remained busy in court. But the actor has lucked out with litigation not once but twice. First he won custody of his two teenage daughters last month. And now, the Knight Rider and Baywatch star has won libel damages from celebrity magazine OK! for its reports on how Hasselhoff supposedly celebrated the custody win.
His ex-wife, actor Pamela Bach, has not been so lucky. Her former divorce attorney is apparently suing her for nearly $40,000 in unpaid fees. Gary Mitchell, a divorce lawyer who worked for Bach for six months in 2006, claims that he has received no payment from her.
London’s High Court awarded Hasselhoff, 55, a reportedly substantial amount of damages on August 23, according to AAP. He sued publishers Northern & Shell Plc. and Northern & Shell North America Ltd. for running stories saying he had been intoxicated and abusive at an L.A. nightclub after winning custody of 17-year old Taylor Ann and 14-year-old Hayley.
In July, OK! Weekly (which publishes in North America) ran a story that claimed Hasselhoff “drank champagne like it was water” until two o’clock in the morning. The article included the headline, “Hasselhoff Celebrates Custody Win”. The next day, OK! published an item alleging that he had acted “abusive” and “off his face” that night. Hasselhoff has been known to have alcohol problems in the past.
Hasselhoff’s attorney, Simon Smith, told AAP that “the allegations are entirely false”.
The actor himself issued a press statement outside the court afterwards. “I am very pleased with the outcome of this case,” Hasselhoff said. “Whenever false reports about me have surfaced, I have done my best to ignore them. However… I was encouraged this time by my children to take a stand.”
OK! and OK! Weekly both will print public apologies and reimburse Hasselhoff’s legal expenses in addition to the awarded damages.
In the meantime, the Associated Press reported that Gary Mitchell filed his lawsuit against Bach the day after a judge ruled that Hasselhoff doesn’t have to pay legal fees of almost $200,000 to Debra Opri, the attorney who represented Bach during the custody battle.
In a court hearing last week, Opri claimed that Bach, 43, had permitted her to seek Hasselhoff’s share of the couple’s community property. Aware that her client was having financial problems, Opri knew that the only way Bach could pay her was if they sought payment from Hasselhoff. After losing custody of Hayley and Taylor Ann, Bach replaced Opri immediately.
Hasselhoff marred Bach on December 9, 1989, and their divorce became final in August 2006.
The actor currently is a judge on America’s Got Talent, and he appeared in the movie Kickin’ It Old Skool this year.
Even if you win, long protracted court cases (like the Hasselhoffs’) often have a very negative effect on many aspects of your life — and your children’s. It uses up a lot of time and money, and it creates emotional trauma. Click here for advice on how to negotiate divorce (or custody) agreements with your spouse out of court.
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