LOS ANGELES, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Charging there is a "vast disparity between (his) 'Golden Boy' image and his true nature," former Miss U.S.A. Shanna Moakler filed a massive palimony suit against boxer Oscar De La Hoya in Los Angeles Superior Court today, asking for half of the more than $125 million the fighter is estimated to have earned during the 31 months the two lived together. "For nearly three years, Oscar De La Hoya counted on the love and support of Shanna Moakler to prop up the wholesome 'Golden Boy' image that has enabled him to become one of the wealthiest athletes of all time," said Ms. Moakler's attorney, Ronald D. Reynolds of the Los Angeles firm of Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler, LLP. "In fact, the real Oscar De La Hoya is so far from 'Golden' that without Shanna at his side, he never would have been able to attract and maintain those lucrative endorsement contracts that have helped make him so rich." A successful actress and model who was persuaded by De La Hoya to give up a burgeoning film and TV career in order to devote herself full-time to him and their daughter Atiana, Ms. Moakler notes in her suit that she and the fighter had an agreement under which he promised to give her "half of the income and property acquired during their relationship as well as financial support sufficient to maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during their relationship." However, the suit charges, not only has De La Hoya failed to live up to this agreement but ever since he "callously and abruptly ended their relationship" in September by escorting another woman to a nationally-televised awards program, the boxer has been pursuing "a campaign of intimidation, harassment and obstruction in an attempt to force [Ms. Moakler] to abandon her contractual rights." The suit notes that De La Hoya has repeatedly violated a Domestic Violence Restraining Order that Ms. Moakler obtained against the boxer and his representatives, threatening her on one occasion that if she sued him, she would "regret it." Allegedly, De La Hoya told her he can be "very cruel" to people who do not obey him, adding: "I do what I have to do to get what I want." Ms. Moakler first met De La Hoya in October 1997. They moved in together the following February, pledging to maintain what the suit describes as "a monogamous, long term relationship, the same as a married couple." In June 1998, Ms. Moakler became pregnant by De La Hoya, who responded to the news by promising in writing to take care of Ms. Moakler and their child "forever." ("I am here for you baby, I will take of you and be there through thick & thin," he told her in a handwritten note. "I want to spend the rest of my life with you...I will do anything for you sweetheart, I will protect you and be your guardian angel.") In October 1998, De La Hoya announced his engagement to Ms. Moakler and henceforth began referring to her as his "wife." Among other things, the suit notes that De La Hoya was accused last December of raping several women in his and Moakler's Bel Air home, while his family waited Christmas dinner for him at the home of Ms. Moakler's parents in Palm Springs. He has also been accused of raping a 15-year-old girl in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. (The girl has sued De La Hoya and her case is set for trial in Los Angeles Superior Court in June 2001.) The suit also describes De La Hoya as "a chronic abuser of alcohol" and says that in addition to his daughter with Moakler, he has fathered a number of other children by a number of other women. It also reports that despite De La Hoya's "public statements regarding his 'love' for his children," he has not seen his other recognized child, Jacob, in over a year and "recently told [Moakler] that he will 'never see Atiana' ... until she is at least 15 years old." According to the lawsuit, in order to maintain "his phony 'Golden Boy' image and, thus, his continued prosperity," De La Hoya used Ms. Moakler and their daughter "as props to promote his public image as a good husband and father." Ms. Moakler was as much a victim of the deception as anyone, the suit says. "Because she was in love with and trusted Defendant...she did not reasonably doubt his wholesome persona. Indeed, until September 12, 2000, when [De La Hoya] publicly humiliated [Ms. Moakler] by appearing on national television escorting another woman to the Latin Grammy awards, [she] herself was completely taken in by the 'Golden Boy' image." According to the lawsuit, De La Hoya constantly told Ms. Moakler "that he did not want her working during their relationship. He would become angry with [her] if she was unable to travel with him or attend a function related to [his] career because of her work schedule." It adds that whenever Ms. Moakler "expressed any concerns over her dependency on [De La Hoya] for financial support, [he] always told [her] that he was boxing and earning income for their family and that what was his was hers." This past July, for example, De La Hoya wrote Ms. Moakler a letter in which he thanked her for all her sacrifices on his behalf, adding: "God wants us to share our lives together and take care of one another trust each other, take care of our daughter work together so we are strong and powerful . . . what I want to do is build an empire with you and it takes hard work and time and alot of love from each other." Based on his promises, the suit notes, Ms. Moakler "gave up her successful career as an actress in order to fully devote herself to the care and support of [De La Hoya] and [his] career, their home and their child." When she first met De La Hoya, Ms. Moakler was starring as Officer Monica Harper on the USA Network series "Pacific Blue." She had also appeared in such feature films as "The Wedding Singer," "Sugar," "Telling You," "Poison Ivy III," and "Love Stinks," and had guest-starred on such TV shows as ABC's "Timecop" and CBS's "Due South." In 1995, she won the Miss U.S.A. pageant, after which she spent a year traveling the country working with a variety of charities.
SOURCE Sitrick and Company