Sumner Redstone, 92, was ordered to submit to a psychiatric evaluation — which is expected to determine whether he is competent enough to handle his own affairs. The court order is part of an ongoing civil lawsuit, which was filed by the media mogul’s former companion Manuela Herzer.
Redstone and Herzer dated for several years throughout the 1990s. Although their romantic relationship came to an end, they remained close friends for more than 20 years.
In recent months, Manuela reportedly took on the role of Sumner’s caretaker due to his failing health. However, as reported by New York Daily News, she was asked to leave his home in October 2015.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 20, 2016
One month later, Herzer filed a civil lawsuit — claiming Redstone did not have the mental capacity to make that decision. As stated in the lawsuit, Herzer wants to be reinstated as Redstone’s caretaker because she is concerned for her former friend’s mental and physical health.
Manuela Herzer claims Sumner Redstone’s mental health began to decline in August 2015 — following a breakup with his girlfriend Sydney Holland. According to reports, Redstone initiated the split after learning Holland was unfaithful.
In her lawsuit, Herzer contends the media mogul has become “a living ghost.”
“He cannot converse, except for brief grunted responses to directed questions and, even then, he is nearly impossible to understand… He cannot initiate a conversation.
Manuela further claims Redstone developed an obsession with eating steak and having sexual relations on a daily basis — against the advice of his doctor. She also said he is prone to “spontaneous crying spells for no discernible reason.”
In stark contrast to Manuela Herzer’s claims, Sumner Redstone’s primary care physician, Dr. Richard Gold, said the media mogul is good health for a man of his age.
Redstone’s attorney, Gabrielle Vidal, said the civil lawsuit has nothing to do with friendship. Instead, she accuses Herzer of having a “financial agenda.”
“Ms. Herzer’s claim that she filed this lawsuit out of concern for Mr. Redstone is preposterous. It is a meritless action, riddled with lies, and a despicable invasion of his privacy.”
CNN stated that a judge ultimately ordered Sumner Redstone to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he has the mental capacity to make decisions about his own healthcare.
A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Sumner Redstone earned a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Harvard Law School.
Prior to his career in the entertainment industry, Redstone worked as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit and as a special assistant to the Attorney General for the Justice Department.
In 1954, he quit practicing law to become an executive with the Northeast Theater Corporation. Sumner currently serves as Chairman of the Board for CBS Corporation and Viacom.
ReutersBiz: Two psychiatrists battle over the mental competence of Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone: … pic.twitter.com/KOPxmQpTsO
— Investing Insight (@InvestingLatest) January 19, 2016
Reference for Business reported that Redstone is also the author of an autobiography titled Passion to Win.
Herzer said Sumner was in the process of writing a memoir, with the assistance of a ghost writer, when his mental health began to decline. In addition to several other “former passions,” Herzer said the media mogul simply lost interest in the memoir.
According to reports, Redstone’s hour-long psychiatric evaluation, which will be performed by a doctor of his choosing, is expected to take place within the next two weeks.
It is unclear how the results will impact the outcome of the civil lawsuit or Sumner Redstone’s career. However, the defense filed a motion for dismissal — which will be heard on February 29.
The state of Sumner Redstone’s mental health remains a mystery, as reports from Manuela Herzer and Sumner’s friends and personal doctor are conflicting.
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]