'Mindfreak' star Criss Angel's "secret" wife suing him for divorce
By Christopher Rocchio, 07/02/2007
The illusions magician Criss Angel performed on A&E Network's Criss AngelMindfreak reality series may have made him a celebrity but they apparently weren't the only tricks he had up his sleeve, causing his estranged wife to reportedly file for divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty and abandonment.
Angel, whose real name is Christopher Sarantakos, has been sued for divorce by Joanne Sarantakos, his wife of five years, Peoplereported Saturday.
Angel attended a hearing in Nassau County court last Friday, according to The New York Post, to answer to charges that his marriage with Joanne "broke down" after the 39-year-old illusionist became famous following A&E's July 2005 debut of Mindfreak, which debuted its third season last month.
"When his career took a jump forward, he became a different person," Angel's father-in-law, Richard Winkhart, told The Post. "He's in love with himself. He's a narcissist. My daughter was never acknowledged as his wife. He told her it was a better single image, than a married image."
The couple married five years ago but have been together for 15 years, according to Dominic Barbara, Joanne's lawyer, who also alleged that Angel has been "abusive" and refused to provide his 37-year-old estranged wife with any monetary support despite the fact he made $7 million last year and recently signed a $200 million contract with a Las Vegas casino.
"He's not paying her support, which is tragic - considering his worth," Barbara told The Post, adding Angel had "promised" Joanne would receive a $7,000 check for "household expenses," which reportedly never arrived at the couple's Long Island home. Barbara added Angel kept Joanne "as a secret" in order to "increase his sex appeal to female fans," according to The Post.
"It's almost as if he played the Mindfreak game on her," Joanne's brother Michael Winkhart told The Post. "He was controlling her. He's basically living in a TV persona. Chris Sarantakos is dead - Criss Angel has taken over. He killed off his old self and morphed into his new self - it's scary, really."
Angel's lawyer, Elliot Weiner, told The Post "the notion that [Joanne's] not being supported is simply not accurate."
In addition, Joanne has accused Angel of having an affair with actress Cameron Diaz, according to The Post, with Barbara adding he plans to subpoena Diaz and have her testify about their relationship to support his client's divorce suit based on mental cruelty and abandonment.
"We're naming Cameron Diaz as his lover," Barbara told the court,The Post reported. "We will subpoena her [in New York Supreme Court] as soon as she comes back to New York."
Somewhat surprisingly, Weiner "did not deny adultery allegations" surrounding Angel and Diaz, according to The Post -- most likely due to the fact that Barbara claims he had Angel "tailed by a private investigator for six months."
In addition, the magician and actress were seen together "several times" in May and were also caught "snuggling" at a Cirque du Soleil performance, People reported. Angel also dedicated an early-June illusion in Manhattan to Diaz, according to The Post, and also referred to her as "one of the most beautiful actresses - A-list actresses - in Hollywood."
Judge Arthur Diamond encouraged Angel and Joanne to settle their divorce case out of court, People reported, saying "a public divorce could take two years." A status hearing has been scheduled for September 19, according to People.