Tom Petty’s family members are battling over his assets 18 months after his death. Adria and Annakim Violette Petty, the daughters of the late Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers frontman, have filed a lawsuit against their dad’s widow, Dana York Petty.
In the suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Petty’s daughters allege that their father’s wife has deprived them of their rightful role in determining how the late rock legend’s future works are released. Adria and Annakim Petty are seeking control of their father’s song catalog and at least $5 million in damages, Billboard reports.
When Tom Petty died in 2017, his widow was named as the trustee of his trust. The trust reportedly entitled his two daughters to “equal participation” in decisions about how Petty’s catalog is to be managed. But Dana Petty filed a probate petition last month seeking to put a professional manager in charge of her late husband’s archives. Dana alleged that Tom’s eldest daughter, Adria, had been erratic in their dealings, per Variety. Adria Petty fired back with a separate probate petition in an effort to claim control of her father’s estate.
Attorney Alex Weingarten, who filed the new lawsuit on behalf of Tom Petty’s daughters, said the musician wanted his music and his legacy to be controlled equally by his two daughters and his wife, Dana. In a statement, Weingarten alleged that Dana Petty refused Tom’s wishes and instead “insisted upon misappropriating Tom’s life’s work for her own selfish interests.” The lawyer said that after countless efforts to resolve the matter amicably, Petty’s daughters could no longer watch Dana “disrespect” Tom’s wishes and his legacy.
Dana Petty’s attorney called the suit “misguided and meritless,” and as further proof as to why Petty designated his wife to be the sole trustee with authority to manage his estate.
In the months since Tom Petty’s death, the compilation albums An American Treasure and The Best of Everything have been released, but not without constant head-butting among the three women Tom Petty loved most.
Petty’s widow and daughters reportedly fought over content, release dates, credits, and liner notes, and Dana Petty alleged that Adria has interfered with plans to release a third album, Wildflowers — All the Rest, an expanded 25th-anniversary edition of Petty’s classic 1994 album.
Despite the legal drama, Adria Petty, who recently directed the music video for The Best of Everything track, “For Real,” told Rolling Stone she loves her stepmother and she just wants everything to work out for her family and for Tom Petty’s musical legacy.
“Have I been frustrated at times? Yes,” Adria admitted of the estate drama. “We’re trying to figure out how to work with everybody’s advisors and lawyers. We all love each other and we all work pretty great together when we speak directly to each other. It’s been a difficult time. …I have no doubt in my mind everything is going to work out. From the bottom of my heart, I love Dana and my family. And I love the Heartbreakers. They’re my family too. It’s just going to take a minute for everyone to catch their breath.”
Tom Petty died of an accidental overdose on October 2, 2017, at the age of 66. Adria and Annakim are the late rock star’s daughters from his first marriage to Jane Benyo, whom he divorced in 1996. Petty married Dana York in 2001.
You can see the video for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “For Real” below.