For celebrity marriages, falling apart isn’t a rarity. It’s when their divorces become sprawling legal affairs plagued by a conservatorship, conspiracy theories and a bankruptcy investigation that things get much more noteworthy.
When singer and “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Erika Jayne and her husband, high-powered attorney Tom Girardi, split up, few fans could have expected the unending chain of lawsuits and accusations that would be lobbed at the pair as they worked to divide their assets.
Throughout the process, Jayne, 50, has remained relatively tight-lipped about the divorce proceedings, electing instead to more openly talk about the issue on “Housewives” rather than on social media or in public statements.
Here’s a look at what she’s said about splitting from her 82-year-old husband:
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On her husband’s legal tenacity
Girardi has had an illustrious and historic career as an attorney in Los Angeles, meaning going head to head with him and his team could prove difficult for Jayne.
In a confessional for “Housewives,” the singer said she was preparing for a fight after her husband’s first two divorces.
“Based on Tom’s two previous divorces, he’s a fighting motherf–ker until the end,” she said, per People magazine. “If I got a Bentley out of this divorce, I’d be thrilled.”
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The star even felt she had to keep her decision to file for divorce from her friends until after the deed was done.
“I didn’t want to do that and that’s the truth,” she said when asked why she kept it to herself. “It also doesn’t serve me to talk a lot about what is happening legally or will happen legally because I am married to somebody who’s very good in that area.”
On where she and Girardi stand
After 20 years of marriage, divorce was sure to make things tense and emotional, and Jayne noted as much during an episode of “Housewives.”
“What is there to say?” she responded when pressed about whether she and Girardi had spoken since filing for divorce. “I’m sure he’s very mad at me.”
Things ended quickly for the two – Jayne said that once she “found a place to stay,” she dropped Girardi off at work, “went home and moved out.”
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“I was out within the day,” she added. “It’s frightening, you know, when you think about it.”
She later told co-star Lisa Rinna that when she dropped him off at work, she told him she loved him. “And he said, ‘Thanks, hun,’ like I was an employee.”
“I went home and started putting everything in the moving van,” she detailed. “I drove off, went to my new place, spent the night there and he was served the next morning.”
However, things might not be as cut and dried as they appear to the public.
“People think that Erika Jayne brought down Tom Girardi. Tom Girardi brought down Tom Girardi,” the star explained. “I don’t want his actions to absolutely kill what I have created. I fear starting over. The only thing I have is my name and the hope that this is not where this ends for me.”
She also said she hoped someone was checking in on Girardi since they hadn’t been in contact: “Tom is in the place that he’s in, which is his own personal hell, and I cannot help him. I cannot help him. This is the end. It’s not the end that anyone wants because it’s torture to see someone just melt.”
On some of their marital issues
Stars generally keep their cards close to their chest during high-profile splits like this one, but Jayne has let a few hints about why their marriage failed slip, such as Girardi’s absence from her opening night starring in Broadway’s “Chicago.”
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“Your wife that you have supported and funded becomes a lead on Broadway, and you don’t come to the show?” the singer said during a confessional. “And then I had to go out there and defend it. Now you tell me if I feel loved.”
She also said that she was being pushed “further and further out” of her hubby’s life.
“The conversations that I used to have were now reduced down to a sentence or two. I just kept walking around that house and knowing that this marriage was headed down a really s–tty path,” she recalled. “I had to make a choice to do what was right for me. I couldn’t live that way anymore.”
The pressures of feeling unhappy also took a toll on the “Xxpen$ive” singer.
“There’s always that underlying pressure of wanting to please someone that’s provided for you,” she explained. “And I felt always that I should shut up and be grateful to an extent.”
She’s also explained that her husband’s pride got in the way of their happiness.
“Tom is a proud man. One of the reasons that I filed for divorce is the resistance to anything,” she said during an episode of the reality show. “The resistance to a conversation, the resistance to, ‘Hey, you know, I’ve noticed that you can’t see well.’ ‘What are you talking about? I’m fine.’ ‘No, you can’t see well, you can’t hear. You’re f–king degrading in front of me, and you’re ignoring it.'”
On her new life without Girardi
Life began to look very different very quickly for Jayne, as she noted on the show.
“My life drastically changed this week. I let go of my Lamborghini, I let go of my 16,000-square-foot home, I let go of my marriage — I let go of everything,” she said after filing for divorce. “I literally made a decision that I had to.”
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As many divorces are, this one was emotional for the actress.
“I cried every day,” she confessed during an episode of “Housewives.” “This was the end of a massive part of my life, stepping into basically a void.”
On Girardi’s failing health
News of the divorce was quickly followed by news of Girardi’s failing health. He was recently placed under conservatorship due to his inability to understand his situation.
“This was a long battle with someone whose personality has completely changed. Three years ago, he had a terrible, terrible head injury. And there was a significant shift in his personality, his decision-making and who he is,” Jayne detailed on the show. “There was [a] severe decline and it comes down to simple things like, there was no conversation. The conversations that I used to have with him, the back and forth, was no longer. The repetitive phrases, the forgetting what we were talking about.”
She added: “I would hear the same story 10 times in one day and if you said, ‘Oh, I remember that,’ [there would be] rage [from him]. Like, I was a whipping boy. … He would lay out on me, anything. It was the anger, the frustration. I took it all.”
She even thinks that Girardi’s failing health could be a contributor to some of the legal trouble he’s gotten into recently.
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“I think what has happened to Tom here is that he’s not mentally capable, and he’s in sole control of his firm. And I think that it got away from him,” she mentioned on the show. “I think that we’re dealing with a man who is [at a] diminished capacity in control, and not doing the right thing. Because if he stole the money, I’d like to know where it is. You know, that’s the truth.”
On the increased attention on the divorce
Since filing for divorce and the financial fallout that’s followed, Jayne and Girardi have been plagued by rumors that they’re divorce is fraudulent, made to help cover up some of their assets.
“Divorce is very painful and then having it called a sham is even more painful,” the star said during a confessional on “Housewives.” “It took a lot of courage to leave and it took two seconds for some a–hole to say it was a sham and [for] everybody to believe it.”
She also insisted to several of her co-stars that she “didn’t” use the divorce to hide assets as speculated.
Such speculation has led to a great deal of criticism against the star from many different angles.
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“It is really unenviable. Being the possible target of the Federal Criminal Investigation is, like, not cool. To have all those things said about you, which are not true,” she said to co-star Kyle Richards. “And then to have everyone, basically, question everything is lonely and it’s quiet. And you would be shocked at how quickly people turn on you, how quickly people distance themselves from you. Automatically, they turn because they don’t want to be involved. They were there when it was good though.”
She’s also taken to Twitter a few times to air her frustrations
“No merit No investigation No proof Just more harassment …” she wrote in July.
On another occasion, she said: “Ever wanna tweet your real feelings but you can’t? That’s me.”
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Despite the hardships she’s facing, Jayne is looking forward to the debacle coming to an end.
“There’s going to be a day when all of this is behind me, and it’s going to be a very sweet day,” she told some of her co-stars. “I’m going to remember those who were with me, and I’m going to remember those who were against me. Trust me.”