Updated December 18, 2020: New information about the circumstances of Erika Jayne and Tom Girardi's divorce has surfaced, pointing to a reason that is more common in marriages (and far less illegal than embezzlement): infidelity.
Sources close to the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star revealed that Erika filed divorce because she had reason to believe that her husband had been cheating on her for years.
"The reason [Erika] divorced Tom is because he was cheating on her with multiple women," the source told People. "When she was performing her last week on Broadway, he left her high and dry and was frolicking around town instead of supporting her and attending her shows. She realized she would never be a priority to him, and that was her breaking point."
But this admission isn't stopping the lawsuit filed by Edelson PC on behalf of the families of the Lion Air Flight 610 victims; the embezzlement and theft charges against Tom's law firm Girardi Keese and the former spouses are still going strong. Both the prosecution and the defense met in court this week, with Edelson lawyers pressing Tom for answers about where the millions promised to the families ended up. Erika was also supposed to appear and provide a testimony, but she will reportedly take the stand sometime next month.
Tom is also being sued by his law partner Robert Keese and fellow business partners Robert Finnerty and Jill O’Callahan, who he partnered with to star a business venture called 1126 Wilshire Partnership. They allege that the attorney owes them more than $300,000 in lost income, and their lawsuit requests that dissolve the partnership and liquidate the assets to be dispersed among themselves. His former partners are also asking to be compensated for damages.
How Tom will pay his partners and the Lion Air Flight 610 families back is yet to be seen. In court, Tom revealed that Girardi Keese had less than $15,000 in its operating accounts, and his assets were frozen by the presiding judge's court order.
This story was original published on December 3, 20202.
Right when filming for the eleventh season of the fan favorite Bravo series was set to begin, the Housewife has been hit with a wave of intense legal drama. Serious charges have been mounted against Erika and her ex-husband Tom Girardi, naming them in a complicated and messy legal case that could very well affect their status among the 90210 elite. Here's the rundown.
Who are Erika Jayne and Tom Girardi?
You likely know Erika from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She joined the popular Bravo reality series in 2015 and built a reputation for being the most glamorous Housewife of the group. But if you’re a true fan, you know her as Erika Jayne, the pop star. Under the moniker, she’s been making dance music since 2007; some of her hits include the Billboard Hot Dance Club chart topper “Roller Coaster,” “How Many Fucks,” and “XXpen$ive.”
As Erika climbed the dance music charts, her husband Tom quietly supported her emotionally and financially. It would be an understatement to say that Tom is wealthy — his net worth sits at a comfortable $30 million right now, a result of his decades of work as a successful attorney. Fun fact: Tom worked on the major class action lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric that inspired the 2000 film Erin Brockovich.
Why did Erika and Tom get divorced?
After more than 20 years of marriage, Erika filed to dissolve her marriage to Tom on November 3, 2020. She didn’t give a specific reason for why the relationship had come to an end, but in an official statement, the RHOBH star said that she had nothing but love for her ex-husband.
"This is not a step taken lightly or easily,” she told E! News of the decision to divorce the millionaire. “I have great love and respect for Tom and for our years and the lives we built together."
“It is my absolute wish to proceed through this process with respect and with the privacy that both Tom and I deserved," she continued. "I request others give us that privacy as well."
Why are Erika and Tom being sued?
In October 2018, domestic flight Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea just minutes after leaving the ground. The tragedy, which killed every single person onboard the plane, resulted in a massive lawsuit against Boeing launched by the families of the fallen passengers and crew members. Tom’s law firm Girardi Keese was hired to file the suit and help the relatives get settlements for the massive personal loss.
However, several families have since hired law firm Edelson PC to file a formal complaint against Girardi Keese and Erika because they allege that they never received the full settlement money from Boeing. They’re claiming that the law firm embezzled the proceeds of settlements for personal use, specifically for funding the Girardi’s splashy lifestyle. The suit wants all of that money to be either disbursed to Lion Air clients and Edelson or placed in a trust. The complaint also asserts unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and tortious interference with contract and conversion.
What does this have to do with their divorce?
Erika is mentioned in the lawsuit because the claim alleges that her decision to divorce Tom is simply a farce to protect their joint assets. The former couple doesn’t have a prenup, so what’s Tom’s is Erika’s — including the millions of dollars that the lawsuit is claiming that Girardi Keese embezzled. If the couple is no longer together, Erika could technically take that money and protect it from being recalled by Edelson and the Lion Air victims.
Will we see this on RHOBH?
Honestly...probably not. Though a lot of legal mess has taken place behind the scenes — remember Dorit and PK Kemsley’s multiple lawsuits? — much of it has not played out on camera. Erika has also been known to be fiercely protective of her personal business, so it’s unlikely that she would be cool with spilling this amount of tea on the show.
Even if Erika gave Bravo the green light to be all in her business, production might miss this chapter in her life because season 11 of RHOBH has also been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Kyle Richards, Kathy Hilton and Dorit Kemsley have all tested positive for COVID-19, forcing Bravo to suspend filming for the upcoming season indefinitely.