Need or greed?

18 May 2012

I was asked to contribute my opinion to the launch issue of Grazia magazine on Linda Evangelista’s outrageous demands in her maintenance dispute.

The father of her child is a rich French businessman now married to Salma Hayek. It’s a pretty long involved story – as all of these are. Suffice it to say, she hasn’t asked for maintenance up to now (her son is now 5) and it seems to me a tad fishy that she only took the guy to court after she had broken up with her next very rich boyfriend.

Still the father has to pay, right? Well that is another grey area and I would love your thoughts. Right from conception he told Linda he didn’t want the child or the relationship and has been minimally involved ever since. So should he be expected to contribute now? What do you all think?

I know many moms who are horribly underpaid by fathers out there who want all the good stuff of parenting with none of the responsibility. We have had many tears in our very own offices over the same thing. I am firmly on a single mom’s side when it comes to her right to fight for a decent contribution from the father of her children.

But the problem I have with Linda E is that her demands became so outrageous (she told the court her son needed armed escorts) and so she wanted R370,000 a month. Now again, one woman’s R5,000 is another woman’s R300,000 and I can imagine her child lives a very different life to the ordinary Joe.

But where do you draw the line between need and greed? And what has her high-profile maintenance battle done to damage the ordinary mom out there fighting for her kids?

As I said in Grazia I can only imagine a whole slew of deadbeat dads out there feeling like they have been vindicated: that women are out there to trap them and make a fortune off them. When that is patently not true.

I get many letters from women who have been convinced by their partners to start a family and then the man just disappears when he can’t handle the pressure or he has met somebody else! And the mothers are left with the responsibility of raising their kids solo. There just is no easy answer, is there?

Should he be expected to pay if he didn’t want the child in the first place? And if yes, then should Linda have been more reasonable in her requests? In the Grazia issue, our regular contributor Margot Bertelsmann of has the other say, but while we were writing our arguments, we both agreed that we could have argued for either side. 

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