Tensions were high on Friday as Linda Evangelista and François-Henri Pinault faced each other for the second day in Manhattan Family Court. The supermodel is seeking what she believes to be a fair child support settlement from the father of her 5-year-old son Augustin ("Augie").
Pinault and current wife Salma Hayek's 4-year-old daughter, Valentina, was a frequent topic of discussion in the court. Evangelista's attorney, William Beslow, said that while Valentina isn't "a benchmark" for how Augie should be treated, the amount of money—particularly a $12 million L.A. home in a trust for her—should be taken into consideration.
And while Evangelista, 46, and Pinault, 49, barely made eye contact, the billionaire business mogul did agree that the supermodel is "an excellent mother" to their son. He also expressed gratitude to her for her empathy during Hayek's extremely difficult pregnancy with Valentina.
In January 2007, a DNA test proved that Augie was Pinault's son. At that time, however, Pinault said he and Hayek "almost lost" their unborn child and "for five months, we were told the baby had Down syndrome."
Because of this "very complicated situation," he asked Evangelista "to delay the legal recognition of Augie until after the birth of Valentina."
"She understood, of course," he said, adding that he was indeed thankful for her compassion.
Then in November 2007, Pinault made a child support offer to Evangelista but got no response. He assumed, based on her silence, no money was needed to support Augie. "I'm not going to pay money I'm not asked for," he reasoned to the court.
Evangelista's lawyer also went through some of Pinault's expenses, noting that he spent around 260,000 euros on gifts alone in 2010. And yes, some of those were for Augie. "I bought him a present for his birthday and for Christmas," he said. He couldn't recall what he bought for his birthday, but he got Augie "piano things" for Christmas. But Pinault only got gifts for the boy after Evangelista complained, according to the model's lawyer.
Evangelista then took the stand for the first time. In what was presumably an effort to show she's willing to work to support herself, her lawyer asked her to recount the jobs she'd had from the age of 12 until the present. These included "picking cherries" for "50 cents a basket," working in the same jewelry store as her mother, working in a convenience store and being a "teller in the Hollywood wax museum" in Niagara during high school summers. She then went through her modeling career—from its beginning at age 18 to the end of her L'Oréal contract in 2010.
Testimony is expected to continue through Tuesday, with Evangelista scheduled to take the stand again Monday for cross-examination from Pinault's attorney.