Supermodel Linda Evangelista, whose haunting eyes and defined cheekbones dominated the modeling industry of the 1990s, appeared before the Manhattan Family Court on the second day in a child-support trial against French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, the husband of Salma Hayek. The lawsuit has been filed against Pinault seeking child support for Augustin, the son of Pinault and Evangelista, whose paternity was recently admitted by Pinault. The dispute arose over Pinault’s refusal to allow Evangelista’s demand of $46,000 a month child support for Augustin.
Pinault is the CEO of PPR, a firm with clients like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Pinault, who has two other children from a previous marriage, is estimated to have a market worth exceeding $3 billion.
Pinault told the court that Evangelista had approached him in 2007 seeking support for Augustin, but that he found the demand ‘unreasonable.’ He also told the court that he had made a counter offer which was not accepted for three years by Evangelista, and then she sued him in 2010.
Evangelista holds that their son Augustin should be provided for at the same level as Pinault provides for his daughter with Salma Hayek.
When quizzed on his delay and reluctance in admitting the paternity of Augustin, Pinault said that he wanted to delay the action for the health of Salma Hayek. According to the French billionaire, Hayek had been through a traumatic pregnancy in which there was a great chance of losing their child. Hayek had given birth to Valentina one year after Augustin was born. In the days immediately following Augustin’s birth, Hayek was pregnant.
Pinault said, “What prevented me from … legally recognizing … was that my wife was pregnant, and it was a very difficult pregnancy.” “To be very clear…” Pinault told the court, “For five months we were told that the baby had Down syndrome. I asked Linda to delay recognition of Augie until the birth of Valentina.” According to Pinault, Evangelista had readily agreed.
Evangelista is known to have told the Vogue magazine in 1990 that people like her “don’t wake up for less than $10, 000 a day.” During her testimony of 45 minutes, Evangelista mentioned that she still commands as much as $100,000 for a single publicity appearance.
When reporters asked her about her wardrobe during a break, Evangelista said, “I’m here today as a mother, not a model.”