People is reporting that America’s Sweetheart Reese Witherspoon, star of hit films including Walk the Line, Legally Blonde, Election, and perhaps most impressively, the voice of Greta Wolfcastle in the classic Simpson’s episode “The Bart Wants What it Wants,” is in the news again. But not because of anything she’s up to. This time, it’s her mom, Mary Elizabeth Witherspoon, who’s commanding the headlines.
Mary Elizabeth (Betty) wants the legal powers that be in Tennessee to annul the marriage between her estranged husband, John, and his new bride Tricianne Taylor, on the grounds that Betty and John never actually divorced.
“No person in Tennessee can marry another while being married at the same time of the second marriage,” Betty declared in an affidavit calling for an annulment.
Betty, who is a retired university professor and nurse, believes that John, a doctor who was recently barred from practicing medicine, is suffering from depression, alcoholism, and personal problems. She only found out about his new marriage by reading about it in the local newspapers.
“I love my husband and I don’t want a divorce,” Betty noted. “We have been married 42 years. He needs help. He has a problem with alcohol. He also has a problem with hoarding, which led to our separation in 1996. Since then, we have lived in separate households.”
However, Betty isn’t just keeping an eye on John’s activities. She also has some misgivings about whether his new wife will try to transfer marital assets or borrow money that will put John in debt.
“[Taylor] refused to talk to me,” Betty told People. “I wrote her a letter stating that John Witherspoon was married and had two children and four grandchildren. I have had no response. But she clearly knows now that she is married to a man who is not divorced.”
Betty has successfully obtained a temporary restraining order against Taylor, which prohibits her from using the Witherspoon name or posing as John’s wife. Last Friday, Betty and Reese Witherspoon attended an emergency hearing in Tennessee to seek conservatorship over John – who appeared in court with them.
It’s unclear how this matter will move forward, and at what speed.
Suffice to say, if there was ever any doubt that the rich and famous (or at least, the parents of the rich and famous) don’t struggle with the same life problems that the rest of us do, this sad scenario puts that myth to bed. One only hopes that it doesn’t get much sadder than it already is.