Ugly celebrity lawsuit and countersuit

I’ve been haunted by the lawsuit Leighton Meester had to file against her mother.

Well, maybe not “haunted.” Maybe sort of disgusted. But not at Leighton.

Who is Leighton Meester, you ask? Actually, I’m asking because I’m not sure myself. She’s a celebrity, I know that (thanks to the gossip pages of the Daily News, where she is mentioned half as much as Kim Kardashian), and I know she’s young and she is one of the stars of some TV show I do not watch. I’m positive that if I saw her on the street—and given that I live in a neighborhood where all sorts of celebrities live, shop and eat, I might very well see her on my street—I wouldn’t know who she is.

She is very pretty though. Her mother is not. But Leighton seems to be a good girl, too. She managed to rise above some fairly rotten origins, i.e., her mother was a drug dealer and indeed Leighton was born in jail where her mother was serving time for her role in a drug ring.

Somehow, though, Leighton has really achieved much in her life, and was giving her mother a lot of money each month to help support her younger brother, who has some difficulties. The mother, however, apparently spent the money on cosmetic surgery. So Leighton has sued her. The mother has countersued, claiming that her daughter had a contractual obligation to provide for her.

It’d be easy to make fun of this but I can’t. Many years ago I knew an adult Freddie Bartholomew, who as a child had been a hugely successful actor.  Little Freddie had been brought up by his grandparents and aunt. But as soon as he began to make it, his estranged parents tried to regain custody, greedy for his money. Freddie went broke fighting custody battles.

Back then, there were no laws to protect wage-earning children from exploitative parents. Now, partially because of Freddie Bartholomew, there are. So Leighton Meester is lucky in that respect. But it sounds as if she doesn’t need luck. She’s smart and good-hearted. All she needs is one intelligent lawyer and one less mother.

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