Heaven turned into hell for actor Stephen Collins this year and he wants his soon-to-be ex-wife to pay for the trip.
According to celebrity gossip website TMZ, Collins is demanding $1 million from estranged wife Faye Grant. Collins and his lawyers believe that Grant leaked audio to TMZ in which he confesses to being a child molester. The tapes were made in 2012 during a meeting between Grant, Collins, and a therapist. At that point, Collins had already confessed to his then-wife that he’d had sexual contact with minors multiple times. During the therapy session, Grant asks Collins multiple, very specific questions about the molestations, which Collins answers.
On the tapes, Collins confesses to sexual contact with three girls, two in New York and one in Los Angeles. One of the girls was 11-years-old at the time she was molested by Collins.
In late October, Collins’ lawyer, Mark Vincent Kaplan, filed paperwork with the court claiming that Collins has been unable to find work after the tape was leaked. According to Kaplan, “Faye’s decision to parade that recording… has resulted in Stephen having no income other than investment income and pension income.”
Collins isn’t the only one mad at Faye Grant. Siblings Niki and Sam Saletta are angry too. Between the two of them, the siblings appeared in 24 episodes of 7th Heaven, the drama for which Collins is best known. While neither of the siblings had a starring role in the episodes in which they appeared, they were receiving residual checks whenever an episode of 7th Heaven aired in syndicated re-runs. But soon after TMZ released the audio tape in which Collins confesses to child molestation, the re-runs were pulled off of the air by the last two channels airing them, TV Guide Network and UP TV. That means those residual checks were pulled as well. Neither Niki nor Sam Saletta has ever claimed to have been molested by Stephen Collins.
Despite Collins’ confession, he will not face charges on the molestations. Both the NYPD and the LAPD opened investigations, and both departments concluded that the incidents had occurred too long ago for Collins to be charged. The molestation in Los Angeles occurred in 1983. There has been no official word on when the molestations in New York occurred, but it is believed to be earlier than that.
It’s not immediately clear why Collins feels ex-wife Faye Grant should foot the bill for his lost wages. According to TMZ, Grant was advised by her lawyer that the recordings were legal to make because under California law, a conversation may be secretly recorded to gather evidence of a violent felony, such as sexual assault of a minor. Despite the legality, Collin’s lawyer said that she violated a different agreement.
“Faye has known for over two and one-half years that in the event that the recording should find its way into the public arena, that would constitute a further breach of her fiduciary duty, and Stephen would seek to hold her accountable for the damages sustained.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that Grant’s attorney requested to be removed as her attorney citing a “breach” in their billing agreement and “an irremediable breakdown in the attorney-client relationship.”
Did Grant release the tapes to TMZ against her attorney’s advice? Does Collins deserve a payday from his estranged wife?