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HOME > Liza & David

'Very litigious' David Gest sues estranged wife Liza Minnelli for $10 million

By Wade Paulsen, 10/22/2003 

Even his friends called him "very litigious". On Tuesday, David Gest lived up to his image. Gest, 50, filed suit against his estranged (and soon-to-be-ex) wife Liza Minnelli, 57, claiming that she regularly beat him during their 16-month marriage and asking for $10 million in damages.

The couple were scheduled to star in the reality series Liza and David for VH1, before the network pulled the plug due to the "unprofessional, erratic and deceitful" conduct of Gest. The countersuits over the show's cancellation were settled out of court, shortly after Liza and David split up.

At the time of the split, David was described as "very litigious," a "control freak" and a closet homosexual. He now wants to add the term "battered husband" to that description. According to his lawsuit, which was posted on The Smoking Gun, Gest alleges that Liza's alcoholism gave her "remarkable force and strength" and that another man described Liza as "stronger than any woman I've ever seen."

As a result of the abuse he suffered, Gest claims to suffer from "virtually constant, unrelenting pain in his head" that require him to take "11 prescription medications per day, some more than once, to treat the pain and injury."

It leads us to wonder why, if David suffered such severe injury at Liza's hands, it was Liza who decided to separate from David and not vice versa. Also, even if we accept that the incidents described in the lawsuit took place as alleged, we have nagging doubts about any allegations that ask us to picture an aging, 5-foot-tall, drunken Liza Minnelli as stronger than, say, five-time Olympic gold medalist (and, along with Barry Bonds, alleged steroid user) Marion Jones.

In the New York Times, Gest's celebrity lawyer Raoul Felder states that formal divorce papers between Liza and David should be filed within a week. According to Newsday, Liza released a statement saying that she had hoped "that the end of my marriage would be handled with mutual respect and dignity." However, we are skeptical that "mutual respect and dignity" exist among celebrity couples willing to do reality shows....

We also note that David Gest uses the court papers in an effort to boost himself and belittle Liza. Here is his self-description prior to the marriage: "a world renown event and concert producer-promoter." Here is his description of Liza at that time: "alcoholic, overweight, unable to be effectively merchandised, could not get insurance to perform concert dates on stage or in any other artistic media." Gee, we guess it must have been the world-renown David Gest that VH1 wanted to show in the Liza and David series, despite VH1's disdain for him.

Although we have no idea if Gest's allegations are true, his descriptions of Liza's drinking and physical actions in his lawsuit seem to be typical of the actions of an alcoholic who is not interested in recovery, which even Liza's friends agreed was true of her prior to the marriage. If she has regained her sobriety, then Gest deserves the public's thanks. However, considering his prior antics that came to light after his marriage, such as his self-dealing at his "American Cinema Awards Foundation" after the chairman died, discovered by The Smoking Gun, we would have thought that Gest would be looking to escape the spotlight.

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