Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard/SOLO Syndication
Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard/SOLO Syndication
Heather Mills is back in court—quick, somebody hide the water pitcher!
Paul McCartney's former missus testified at a British employment tribunal today, where she tearfully did her best to defend herself against allegations of unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination made by her former nanny.
Among her many accusations, 26-year-old Sara Trumble—who despite her current batch of qualms was once so close to Mills that she asked the charity campaigner to be her child's godmother—claimed that Mills made her travel frequently during a difficult pregnancy, changed the terms of her employment after Trumble returned from maternity leave and generally made the working life of her staff a complete misery.
"I wasn't the only person who felt that at the time," she said. "It's just that nobody else will stand up. I decided to take action and fight this for myself."
Trumble worked for Mills for four years, beginning in April 2004, and while the working relationship began pleasantly enough, according to Trumble, it rapidly dissolved in the wake of Mills' split from the Beatle.
"Everyone was saying how difficult working conditions had become at work," Trumble said. "It was not a nice place to work.
"Things had to be perfect…everyone was rushing around stressed."
According to Trumble, she was asked to routinely lie to McCartney about Mills' whereabouts when she handed off custody of their daughter Beatrice, something which Trumble claimed made her feel "awkward."
She was also put off by Mills' alleged flaunting of her new boyfriend, ostensibly to make Sir Paul jealous, and things came to a head when Trumble herself became pregnant.
And it's also where the complaints change from relatively run-of-the-mill grievances to something else entirely.
Trumble said that she reduced to tears after Mills demanded she return early from her maternity leave, and, the final straw, was ultimately reassigned to work as a cleaner while a new nanny took her place.
Of course, the timelines do seem curious, as Trumble seemingly asked Mills to serve as godmother to her child at the same time her behavior was at its most heinous. It's also unclear why she waited two years after resigning from the job to seek the legal action.
Nevertheless, it was for these allegations that Mills defended herself today, denying any impropriety and instead highlighting everything she's done for her former employee.
"I treated Sara like my daughter as she often complained that her mother was cold and distant to her," a teary Mills said. "I spent much of my time consoling her, especially when she said she was having problems with her partner."
However, Mills' attorney may want to inform her that belittling her former employee's skills while referring to herself in third person isn't exactly the best way to curry favor for her cause.
Mills called herself "overly helpful Heather," said she wanted Trumble to "better herself, as I thought she had huge potential," and classified her as "more of a babysitter" than a nanny. Ouch.
But she clarified that Trumble was not demoted, instead she was given a position to better suit her new mother lifestyle. Mills said Trumble asked to work part-time after giving birth, and that she informed Trumble the shortened schedule was "not particularly suiting her needs."
"I was surprised and disappointed that I was going to lose somebody that I genuinely cared about and my daughter adored," Mills said.
And about that godmother stint: "She said it was because I had taken such good care of her and she could think of no one better. I was delighted."
She was also, to hear her tell it, quite the generous employer.
Mills said—and Trumble acknowledged—that she paid for her employee to go celebrate her 39th birthday in Slovenia, bought her a convertible car, gave her several monetary gifts and even bought her baby clothes and accessories.
Perhaps being a bit too picky about the gifts, Trumble made sure to clarify that one of the gifts she received, a new top, was purchased as part of a "buy one, get one free" deal. How dare she not pay full retail!
Meanwhile, Trumble also acknowledged, after heavy questioning, that one of the many monetary gifts she received was a check for roughly $15,000 from McCartney, given to her "for my dedication and hard work with Beatrice" after she resigned in September 2008.
"Paul did not want anybody to know that he gave me this money," she said. "I don't want to get Paul involved so it's difficult to talk about this money."
But not that hard to ask for it. Eh, we're not sure how this'll shake out, but we're thinking these two were a better match than Paul and Heather ever were.
Sounds like a feud! Catch up on more ridiculous A-list squabbles right here.