UK & World News
Child Benefit: Model's Megabucks Demand
Linda Evangelista is locked in a court battle with the billionaire father of her son - and is reportedly seeking as much as $46,000 (£28,000) every month for child support.
The 46-year-old wants five-year-old Augustin to have a bodyguard, a driver and a 24-hour nanny, according to a list by Francois-Henri Pinault's lawyers.
The Frenchman, 49, is married to Hollywood actress Salma Hayek, with whom he has a four-year-old daughter, Valentina. He also has two other children from a previous marriage.
Evangelista, who gave birth to the child after their short relationship, has said she needs around-the-clock childcare for the boy because she works full-time on her modelling career.
The legal face-off started on Thursday with Evangelista's lawyer William Beslow claiming that when the model told the Gallic tycoon she was pregnant in 2006, he asked her to get an abortion.
Pinault, who heads the PPR luxury goods conglomerate whose brands include Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent and is believed to be worth more than £3bn, refuted the allegation.
He insisted he told Evangelista that "if she were to have a child (they) might not have a relationship".
With that, the four-month relationship, in which he said the couple only actually saw each other seven days, came to an end.
"I asked Linda what were her intentions with the pregnancy, we were dating for four months, we had been together seven days, I didn't know her very well," he said.
"She told me if I didn't want to be involved to raise that kid, she would understand and she would take care of the kid... I was not involved in the decision of having the baby."
He conceded he broke off their relationship, adding: "Then of course, I told her I would recognise the baby, which I did. I would take my responsibility and I did."
The businessman acknowledged that he had not paid any child support for Augustin, but said he was the first one to raise the issue in 2007.
"I received a demand that was not reasonable," he said.
Evangelista's lawyer has disputed the reported amount the model is seeking, while acknowledging the sum is "substantial".
The case is being heard at Manhattan Family Court and is expected to last several days.