Los Angeles, CA- If you’ve ever wondered just how nasty a divorce can get look no further than actor Stephen Collins, who has been embroiled in a nasty divorce for the better part of two years, and has all the makings of a Lifetime movie. Earlier this week allegations that Collins, who played a priest in the television series “7th Heaven,” molested three young girls surfaced which his attorney believes is an attempt on behalf of the actor’s estranged wife, Faye Grant, to extort a larger divorce settlement.
Tuesday celebrity gossip site TMZ got their hands on audio tape of Collins, 67, confessing to exposing himself to three young girls between the ages of 11 and 13. Some of the incidents Collins is talking about occurred over four decades ago. One of the girls was a relative of Collins’ first wife and another victim was related to one of Collins’ former neighbors.
Grant, 57, secretly recorded the therapy session in which Collins admits to the molestation back in 2012 upon the advice of her attorney, TMZ reported. She later surrendered the tape to police but she apparently hung onto it so she could use it later. (In the state of California it is legal to secretly tape someone if they are talking about committing a felony.)
Now, the divorce attorney representing Collins alleges that Grant released the tapes to the media in order to extort Collins and get larger divorce settlement than she deserves. Although Collins has taken mainly smaller roles since “7th Heaven” was canceled in 2006 after running for nine years, he still has nearly $14 million in assets to divide and Grant apparently wants a larger proportion.
Mark Vincent Kaplan, Collins’ attorney told TMZ, “Over the course of my representation of Stephen in the divorce case, Faye has repeatedly threatened to give this audiotape to the media unless Stephen agreed to pay her millions of dollars more than that to which she was legally entitled.”
Kaplan said Grant’s attempts to get a larger settlement failed so she began “peddling” the tape to various media outlets and TMZ finally bit.
“It appears that she has finally found an audience for this tape — not surprisingly, on the eve of the trial in the divorce case where, again, she is seeking millions of dollars more than that to which she is legally entitled,” Kaplan said.
Law enforcement in New York, where the separate incidents, took place have reopened their investigation and said it said prosecution is still possible since the clock on the statute of limitations doesn’t start running until a complaint is filed.
Grant denies being behind the linked audio, instead she pointed the finger at law enforcement who she gave the recordings to in 2012. In a statement Grant said, “I had no involvement whatsoever with the release of the tape to the media.”
The divorce between Collins and Grant just goes to show how down and dirty a divorce can be, and fortunately it doesn’t happen in every divorce. But when it does, a spouse will want an experienced divorce attorney on their side to help them avoid making any mistakes that will jeopardize their case or their final settlement.