Sex, Drugs and Violence: Getty Divorce Court Date Today

(photo: alynch)

Today, a seriously good old-fashioned scandalous divorce trial hits the courts so I’m hightailing it downtown to LA County court to watch the unfolding. It’s Getty versus Getty as Jacqui Getty seeks divorce from her husband of 10 years, the filthy, rich and filthy-rich Gordon Peter Getty, known as Peter, whose father Gordon is worth $2.5 billion. Jacqui reveals a scenario ripped from an episode of Cops, except it takes place in several mansions instead of a double-wide or stucco suburban split level:

  • domestic violence including Peter’s breaking of Jacqui’s arm;
  • Peter’s cocaine abuse and use of other drugs;
  • Peter’s online porn addiction;
  • Peter’s extra-marital affairs.
  • Jacqui seeks a restraining order, claiming in addition to inflicting physical injuries, Peter threatened to have her killed. Here’s the back story that takes this sordid tale out of the trailer park and into the glamour zone.

    Jacqui de La Fontiane was a working-class teenager, pregnant with daughter Gia when her boyfriend and baby’s father, Gian-Carlo Coppola–son of Francis Ford Coppola–was killed in a boating accident. The Academy Award-winning director took care of Jacqui and Gia, incorporating them into his family, buying a house for them in the Hollywood Hills. He even walked Jacqui down the aisle when she married Peter Getty.

    Wow! Single mom with cool career– Jacqui worked as a film and video costumer and a fashion stylist for “Harper’s Bazaar”–marries super-rich guy with arty aspirations. How fairy-tale perfect! At one point Getty had his own band and had written an opera when he was still in his twenties; he also occasionally wrote a music blog under a pseudonym. Her celebrity friends Leo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore were in frequent attendance at her stylish parties. Her filmmaking family included Sofia Coppola (Francis’s daughter), Jason Schwartzman (son of Francis’s sister Talia Shire) and Nicolas (Coppola) Cage. Peter loved being included in the tight-knit clan–who wouldn’t relish watching Nic sing “Sister Christian” on Francis’s karaoke machine at Gia’s pre-teen birthday party? On his own, Peter had–well, cousin Balthazar, arty aspirations, and what appears to be in retrospect a rather substantial appetite for partying.

    During the marriage, Peter founded a record label, Emperor Norton, which had some nepotistic success, releasing the soundtracks to Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation before shuttering. But mostly his life was filled with people trying to get their hands on his money in one way or another. He always seemed a prisoner of his dazzling last name.

    Then in June 2009 Peter decided he wanted to make another dream come true: He wanted to be a real blogger, so Peter and his brother Billy began writing a column for the “San Francisco Chronicle”’s SFGate. Within hours of publication, Peter Getty got into an embarrassing online feud with Gawker which rightfully called out the Brothers Getty on their self-entitled, self-indulgent wankery.

    Peter Getty caved to Gawker’s jabs and jibes, trying to make nice after experiencing just a couple days of cyber snarking. Truly, the Getty columns for SFGate were tragic, unfunny, puerile. And they lasted a mere two months. When the brothers started writing the blog, “What the Butler Didn’t See,” Peter claimed he found

    real work. . . wearisome.

    Like when he ran a record label, Getty seemed to come to the conclusion that jobs–even blogging ones–are um. . . work.

    And maybe there’s something else problematic and destroying of potential here, aside from just being rich and not needing to earn a living: Peter Getty’s admitted drug use, which is a key point in the divorce trial, since it may form the foundation for his alleged online porn addiction, the extra-marital affairs and the domestic violence.

    More to come. . . .

    23 Responses to "Sex, Drugs and Violence: Getty Divorce Court Date Today"
    nlubofsky | Friday May 7, 2010 09:25 am 1

    I can’t explain why, but for some reason it really does seem like getting to see Nic Cage sing “Sister Christian” on karaoke would be really awesome!


    laborite57 | Friday May 7, 2010 09:39 am 2

    Congratulations, Lisa, this post must represent a new low in meaningless trivia at FDL.


    cbl2 | Friday May 7, 2010 09:40 am 3

    Firedishlake – I like it

    I don’t know anything about this – kinda surprising Getty Family retainers let it get this far publicly. not the super-rich’s usual m.o. -


    Twain | Friday May 7, 2010 09:41 am 4

    The Gettys sound like pond scum to me and I don’t really care what they do.


    tinman1967 | Friday May 7, 2010 09:48 am 5
    In response to Twain @ 4

    I know a couple of them and they are really nice people.


    Palli | Friday May 7, 2010 09:51 am 6

    Nice or not- I’m all for a better, stronger Death tax! Inheritance should be genes not millions and billions of dollars!


    Loo Hoo. | Friday May 7, 2010 09:53 am 7

    Have fun, Lisa!


    Starbuck | Friday May 7, 2010 09:59 am 8

    Why do I so not want to know this stuff?


    Ann in AZ | Friday May 7, 2010 10:07 am 9

    Emptywheel has a fresh cross-post already in progress: Cancer, Chemicals, and Corporations


    aoyama | Friday May 7, 2010 10:28 am 10

    I don’t care about these people, but the soundtracks to Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation were awesome. I give credit to Sofia Coppola.


    razorbrain | Friday May 7, 2010 10:49 am 11

    Leave the rich ALOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE!!


    JTJT | Friday May 7, 2010 10:54 am 12

    Tax the fuckers back to a townhouse in east LA and a job at McDonald’s…thye are committing slow motion suicide anyway. It’s good to tell these stories as long as the teaching point that no healthy society should tolerate such losers rather than you can hope to win the lottery too. The lottery is why most people tolerate it. Many Americans are deluded that these are my celebrity friends and that I can be rich like them someday too.
    Just like the people who thought George Bush would be a cool guy to have a beer with them in their backyard. Hahahah. Deluded.


    mreddieb | Friday May 7, 2010 11:08 am 13

    Did the get any pictures of him getting out of a limo with his fly open and his exposed penis hanging out? If not, who cares!


    RevBev | Friday May 7, 2010 11:23 am 14
    In response to laborite57 @ 2

    There can be lessons, and certainly relief, in trivia. Lessons to be learned. I think “The View” story is interesting also; considering the players, Elizabeth’s snark seemed even worse.


    Teddy Partridge | Friday May 7, 2010 12:15 pm 15

    Can’t wait for your next reeport, Lisa – - you are my new go-to gal for guilty pleasures. If only Getty hanger-on Gavin Newsom got wrapped up in this sordid tale somehow!


    davidasposted | Friday May 7, 2010 12:32 pm 16
    In response to RevBev @ 14

    I know you’re quoting from someone else, but this post isn’t trivia — it’s trivial. I guess this is a part of the FDL web site I have never seen before and am unlikely to return, but the sentiment expressed by laborite57 bears repeating: this material seems better suited to TMZ.


    RevBev | Friday May 7, 2010 01:36 pm 17
    In response to davidasposted @ 16

    I actually think “trivia” works, but never mind. My point was there are moments for the absurd/no need to think contributions. I am certainly not taking lightly reports of family violence. But reflections on the human family, tragedy or comedy, are often quite useful.


    Hmmm | Friday May 7, 2010 01:49 pm 18
    In response to aoyama @ 10

    Fits with your handle, that. (I like it there too, and that movie, and its music.)


    davidasposted | Friday May 7, 2010 04:25 pm 19
    In response to RevBev @ 17

    Perhaps, but as of 7:00pm today (Friday, 7 May 2010) I can count three separate posts by Lisa Derrick about this topic. FDL benefits from not taking itself too seriously while nevertheless being a locus for quite serious information; when I want to know what’s happening in politics, I now come here first. However, Lisa Derrick’s coverage of this trial is not a momentary diversion, it’s a TMZ-style blow-by-blow account that is reminiscent of obsessive MSM coverage of the OJ Simpson trial (or the ‘magazines’ you can buy at the check-out counter of the local grocery store).

    More to the point, these sort of posts are simply unnecessary at FDL. This site does not have a sports section because that is not part of it’s focus or purpose. Neither is celebrity gossip, which is what we see here. These posts are not “reflections on the human family, tragedy or comedy” as you put it. They’re gossip. They’re the reason why HuffPo is such a disappointment every time I make the mistake of clicking through to one of their articles. They’re TMZ material, and they have little place here.


    davidasposted | Friday May 7, 2010 04:26 pm 20
    In response to davidasposted @ 19

    Sorry, that should read that as of today, I can read three posts on this topic on the FRONT PAGE of the FDL web site. That bears noting.


    Lisa Derrick | Friday May 7, 2010 06:05 pm 21
    In response to davidasposted @ 20

    Domestic violence cuts across all social strata. Just saying.


    davidasposted | Saturday May 8, 2010 12:42 am 22
    In response to Lisa Derrick @ 21

    Certainly it does, but the tenor and tone of your posts indicate that you’re not really interested inn domestic violence as such. You’ve made no substantive argument about the nature or seriousness of domestic violence or how the public and authorities across the U.S. often treat cases of domestic violence among the ‘unwashed masses’ as of non-concern. Frankly, it seems you’re using the issue (here, in the comments), as a facile justification of sensational ‘reporting’ on what is really TMZ fare as I have argued above. In the absence of any real critical engagement of the subject of domestic violence, do you have any real reason for your ‘reporting’ on this case?


    RevBev | Saturday May 8, 2010 08:51 am 23
    In response to davidasposted @ 22

    We get it; you don’t like the post. Just let it rest. Some think there is redeeming social value or just a change of pace. Violence? You are beating a dead horse.


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