Maybe this whole affair wasn't quite so sordid after all.
Sara Evans' estranged husband filed court papers Monday stating that the country star has admitted to him that she was "mistaken" about the more than 100 racy photos depicting him either nude or having sex with numerous women that she alleged existed in her petition for divorce.
When Evans filed for the split in October, she also accused her hubby of 13 years, Craig Schelske, of carrying on with the couple's friend and nanny, Alison Clinton, whose name was eventually removed from court documents after both she and Schelske denied the allegation.
Craig Schelske's latest move comes in response to a motion filed by Evans last week to set a trial date and have a mediator appointed to their case. The "Suds in the Bucket" singer accused Schelske of engaging "in a pattern of intimidating behavior," according to court documents obtained by the Nashville Tennessean.
According to Evans, Schelske refused to set a mediation date until she had fired her attorney, John Hollins Sr., appeared on television to refute all of the allegations made in her divorce filing and agreed to a joint custody arrangement.
The couple have three young children—Avery Jack Lyons, 7, Olivia Margaret, 4, and Audrey Elizabeth, 2. Evans currently has primary custody but she and Schelske worked out a visitation schedule last fall.
"Craig further stated that he had been 'holding his attorneys back' but he would turn them loose on me if I did not give him an answer immediately," Evans' affidavit stated. "He practically cried and stated that he did not want to do that to the mother of his children but would if he was forced to do so. He stated that this would start World War III."
In his filing this week, Schelske maintains that Evans had failed to produce any evidence to support her initial grievances against him, including charges that he had viewed pornography while their children were at home and had been repeatedly unfaithful.
"I have insisted that either the proof be produced or that the false allegations be withdrawn or retracted and an apology be issued to begin the process of restoration of my reputation," Schelske, a former congressional candidate, stated in an affidavit.
"Sara told me she could not figure out a way to retract the allegations and she was ‘aghast’ at what had been filed. My wife has affirmed privately to me that she was ‘mistaken’ about the photographs, did not believe them to be photographs of me, and she has stated that she was working on a statement to that extent. As of this date, however, no retraction has been proposed or issued."
A gag order is currently in force that prevents either party's attorneys from commenting on the case to the press.
Schelske, who also filed a motion Monday requesting a court order that would order Evans to comply with the gag order, saying she broke it by speaking to Access Hollywood earlier this month, then stated that he and his missus have been talking almost daily and have been operating "like a family" in recent weeks.
"I did not ‘demand’ that she ‘fire’ her attorneys as a condition for anything," he said. "I did state, as was affirmed in writing by my attorneys, that my reputation and good name must be restored because of the extensive damage that has been caused by the specificity of the unproven allegations and the widespread publicity.
"Sara told me she was working on a public statement to do just that. We were contemporaneously discussing attending a marriage retreat, selection of a counselor, and the possibility of a reconciliation."
Shortly after Evans filed for the split, dropping out of Dancing with the Stars and kicking off what would become an increasingly nasty bout of he-said, she-said, Schelske fired back with his own allegations that Evans wanted out because she had been having an affair.
He has also denied that he tried to pressure Evans into firing her lawyer or making a public appearance to clear his name.
"Our client has nothing to do with his wife's choice of agents or employees, nor has he demanded such actions as alleged," Schelske's attorney, Anne Russell, wrote in response to Evans' filing last week.
"These allegations have as much credibility as the ones in Ms. Evans' Complaint for Divorce. Upon checking with our client, what actually was said was that making false allegations could pull her career down and she cannot prove what is false. That is a far cry from the alleged reported 'threat.'"