Tim Burton's helmed some pretty strange productions in his day, but, if his ex's allegations bear out, this one could take the cake.
The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory director has been sued by his surname-deficient former muse Lisa Marie, who claims Burton masterminded a huge conspiracy, involving her friends and lawyer, to prevent her from receiving palimony following the demise of their nearly 10-year relationship.
In a complaint filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Lisa Marie accuses her ex-beau of fraud and breach of fiduciary contract, alleging he conned her out of an equitable division of their assets when they split in 2001 and that she accepted a smaller payout under coercion and false pretenses.
According to the lawsuit, Burton and Lisa Marie, whose résumé mostly consists of Burton-helmed flicks, began their relationship in December of 1991. A year later, the couple moved in together, with Burton allegedly agreeing to "share equally any and all property accumulated" and that he would rather generously "provide for [Lisa Marie's] financial support and needs for the rest of her life."
In exchange for the lifetime bankroll, per the court documents, Burton's former leading lady would serve as his personal manager and offer her acting services to the director's big-screen efforts.
While together, Lisa Marie appeared in such Burton films as Ed Wood, Mars Attacks!, Sleepy Hollow and Planet of the Apes. It was during the filming of the Apes remake that the couple broke up and Burton took up with the film's female star, Helena Bonham Carter.
According to her suit, Burton informed Lisa Marie during the film's shoot that he was ending their relationship, news that she claims was "totally unexpected" and that left her "extremely depressed and emotionally unstable for months thereafter."
She says she turned to the support of her personal financial advisers, whom she now claims had lied about breaking off their association with Burton. Lisa Marie alleges that they were working behind her back with the eccentric director to bilk her out of her promised share of her and Burton's joint assets.
Adding insult to injury, she further claims that a friend of hers, the punk rocker/hanger-on Cherry Vanilla, was also having clandestine meetings with Burton and was part of a conspiracy to convince Lisa Marie not to seek financial support.
Lisa Marie claims that she was told multiple times by various friends and counselors that she had "no rights" to claim a portion of Burton's money and that she was better off accepting whatever the director had on offer.
As a result, Lisa Marie walked away from the relationship with $2.7 million (based on the value of their Manhattan apartment) and a Jaguar.
However, it didn't take long for Lisa Marie to rethink the settlement.
In 2004, she began publicly complaining that she was conned out of her rightful payoff, which at the time she estimated to be roughly $5.4 million.
The following year, she attempted to recoup some of that sum, holding a warehouse sale in which she hawked some of Burton's movie and personal memorabilia, which resulted in a public war of words between the scorned lovers.
Lisa Marie, who hasn't had an acting gig since Planet of the Apes, is now suing to rescind the settlement and seeks unspecified damages in excess of $25,000.