Sherri Shepherd lost her appeal and was ordered to continue paying support for a child who is not biologically hers. According to reports, the actress agreed to the surrogacy while she and Lamar Sally were still married. Although she attempted to void the contract when they were divorced, a Pennsylvania judge determined Shepherd is the child’s legal mother.
People reports the surrogacy was arranged through Reproductive Possibilities.
According to the contract, 23-year-old Jessica Bartholomew agreed to carry a child, who was conceived using Sally’s sperm and a donor egg. When the child was born, Sherri Shepherd and Lamar Sally agreed to raise the child as their own and to be listed as the parents on the birth certificate. However, Sherri and Lamar separated while the surrogate was pregnant with their child.
The baby boy, who is named L.J., was born amid a nasty legal battle — which lasted several years. Although Sally wanted to raise his son, Shepherd sought to void the contract and refused to the boy’s birth certificate. She also refused to spend time with L.J. or provide any financial support, because the child was not biologically hers.
— E! Online (@eonline) March 1, 2016
In April 2015, a Pennsylvania judge ruled that Sherri Shepherd is L.J.’s legal mother. Therefore, her name was added to his birth certificate and she was later ordered to pay child support until L.J. turns 13.
Although she filed an appeal, the lower court’s decision was upheld by the Pennsylvania court of Appeals in November 2015. On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the decision of the appellate court.
Amid her divorce from Lamar Sally and the ensuing legal battle, Sherri Shepherd was also fighting for custody of her 9-year-old son Jeffrey Jr.
NY Daily News reports the actress was accused of neglecting her son’s needs while she furthered her acting career. According to the complaint, Jeffrey Tarpley blamed Shepherd for their “son’s inability to tie his own shoe laces or read.” He also accused his former wife of hiring “unskilled nannies” and failing to teach Jeffrey Jr. proper hygiene.
— Daytime Confidential (@dcconfidential) March 2, 2016
In July 2014, an L.A. County Court judge determined Tarpley’s complaints were unfounded and the actress retained primary custody of Jeffrey Jr.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Sherri Evonne Shepherd started doing stand-up comedy in 1990. Five years later, she got her big break when she was cast as Victoria Carlson in the comedy television series Cleghorne!.
Between 1997 and 2007, she had recurring roles in numerous television series, including Suddenly Susan, The Jamie Foxx Show, and Everybody Loves Raymond. IMDB reports he also appeared in several films, including Cellular and Guess Who.
In 2007, Sherri Shepherd was invited to co-host The View. In her seven years with the popular daytime talk show, she and her fellow co-hosts were nominated for five Daytime Emmy Awards and won the 2009 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host.
Following her stint on The View, Shepherd appeared on numerous television programs, including Extreme Weight Loss and Dancing with the Stars, and films, including Woodlawn and Ride Along 2.
She also starred as Madame, the Evil Stepmother in the Broadway musical Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
Despite her personal and legal battles, Sherri has managed to maintain her successful career as an actress, a comedian, and a talk show host. Although her wishes regarding her surrogate son are highly controversial, Shepherd insists she is simply trying to do the right thing.
With the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to affirm the decision of the lower courts, Sherri Shepherd has exhausted all legal avenues to have her name removed from L.G.’s birth certificate and to avoid paying support. It is unknown whether the actress will seek visitation with her son.