If there's anyone who's regretting the aftermath of his brief rendezvous with a top model, it's François-Henri Pinault.
The billionaire CEO of PPR, a luxury group that owns Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci and other high-fashion brands, was called to Manhattan on Thursday, where he faced Linda Evangelista, '90s supermodel and mother of his 5-year-old son Augie, over a bitter child support battle.
Both fashion forces deliberated over whether or not Pinault will be required to pay a whopping $46,000 a month in child support. The request, which was made by Evangelista and her high-profile lawyer William Beslow last August, stunned court officials. The announcement was made one month after the identity of the child's father was revealed.
Evangelista attributes the costs to the protection and safety of her child, insisting that 5-year-old Augie needs his own driver and armed bodyguards. The model claims that she has previously used up to $46,000 on security expenses and nannying costs on her child. Meanwhile, her lawyer claimed that Pinault had paid nothing, up until she went to court last July.
Evangelista's $1.8 million annual income drastically declined once her L'Oreal contract expired last year. After that, "It became necessary for her to go to the bullpen and ask the father for help," said her Beslow. He added, "Ms. Evangelista is not looking to piggyback the lifestyle of Mr. Pinault."
However, Pinault and his lawyers believe that this is the supermodel's intentions. Evangelista, who infamously told Vogue in 1990, "We don't wake up for less than $10000 a day," was told to shy away from the current state of her above-average lifestyle by her attorney.
Beslow stood before a court magistrate on Thursday and recounted a series of 2006 conversations between Evangelista and Pinault concerning her pregnancy: "After some initial happiness, he told her he wished she would terminate the pregnancy," he said. Beslow added that Evangelista told Pinault she would keep the child and would furthermore support him on her own. "And she did," he stated.
The two dated for four months from 2005-06, although Pinault said the couple had only spent approximately seven days together. As chief executive of PPR, Pinault has an annual income of $4 million; However, it's his family's net worth estimated at $13 billion according to Forbes, that concerns his camp. Pinault stated, "I told her that I would recognize the baby ... and I will take my responsibility."
If the grant is approved (which is highly unlikely), Augie could receive up to $807,000 each year. Meanwhile, Pinault claims the sum is exorbitant, even for the "King of Luxury" and his lawyers say the model mommy should expect her request to be denied.
Side note: Pinault is also the husband of movie star Salma Hayek and father of their four-year-old daughter Valentina. The two experienced a brief split prior to their marriage in 2008, which Pinault said, "created a high level of anxiety to my wife." To reassure Hayek that she would be taken care of if the two were to split, Pinault purchased a $12 million home in Los Angeles, placed in a trust for their daughter. The two high-profile individuals lead relatively private lives, although they are occasionally spotted happily holding hands at film festivals, fashion shows and awards ceremonies. Hayek's thoughts on the current child custody battle remain unknown.
The proceedings will continue through next week.