Manager: Fantasia Barrino "not responsible" for breaking up marriage
By Reality TV World staff, 08/09/2010
Fantasia Barrino's manager has denied the third-season American Idol champion and Fantasia For Real star is responsible for the break-up of the marriage of Antwaun Cook, a North Carolina man she has been dating.
"[She is] certain that she is not responsible for the deterioration of the Cook's marriage," Barrino manager Brian Dickens said in a media statement released Monday and obtained by Us Weekly.
"Fantasia will weather this storm with the dignity and grace that she has exemplified throughout a life in which she has repeatedly overcome obstacles and challenges. Fantasia's faith in God, herself and family remain as strong as ever."
Barrino was accused of having an affair and making sex tapes with Antwaun Cook in a lawsuit filed by Cook's estranged wife Paula Cook that surfaced in the media over the weekend.
The complaint asks the court award Paula Cook custody of the couple's 2-year-old and 6-year-old boys and require Antwaun Cook to pay child support, post-separation support, alimony, and pay his wife's legal fees, as well as ensure an equitable distribution of the couple's property.
According to the lawsuit, Barrino met Antwaun Cook in August 2009 when she visited the T-Mobile store he works at in Cary, NC and the pair began "their covert adulterous affair" shortly thereafter. The relationship allegedly included the recording of "their illicit sexual activity."
However, Paula Cook allegedly didn't learn of the couple's "open and notorious relationship" -- which included Barrino tattooing "Cook" on her shoulder -- until early October, when Antwaun Cook failed to accompany his wife to New Orleans on a trip that had been scheduled to coincide with their 5-year wedding anniversary and a member of Antwaun Cook's family told her about the relationship.
Antwaun Cook then allegedly told his wife he wanted to "work out" their marital problems but secretly continued to have a relationship with Barrino until the Cooks separated in June -- after which Barrino taunted Paula Cook during a subsequent phone call with her estranged husband in July.
"He don't want you," Barrino said, according to the complaint. "Maybe the next time that you get a husband you'll know how to keep him. That's why he is here with me."
Although the lawsuit doesn't name Barrino as a defendant, it is reportedly a potential first step in a lawsuit that could cost her millions since North Carolina is one of seven states where a "home wrecker" can be sued for breaking up a marriage.
"You can sue that third party. Most of the cases involve sex. It doesn't have to be sex. It can be something much lower," Charlotte School of Law professor Beau Baez told NBC's WCNC-TV affiliate in Charlotte, NC.
"Seems like [Barrino] would have been much better off [to have said], 'Look, I'm interested in a relationship, why don't you get a divorce and let's talk later."
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Dickens' statement did not address Paula Cook's sex tape allegations, according to Us.