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Celebrity child custody disputes

When celebrities end marriages or break off relationships, the media is often there to document what's usually a private matter -- stories that can become especially poignant when a child is involved. Here are some child custody disputes involving celebrities, from Paula Patton and Robin Thicke to Scarlett Johansson and Romain Dauriac.

Oksana Grigorieva and Mel Gibson

When musician Oksana Grigorieva and actor-director Mel Gibson
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Jewel Samad

When musician Oksana Grigorieva and actor-director Mel Gibson ended their year-long relationship in April 2010, their separation received wide media attention, in part due to leaked audio tapes of Gibson ranting, cursing and using pejorative language. Grigorieva also accused Gibson of assault, a charge to which Gibson pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 3 years of probation in 2011.

The former couple engaged in a custody battle over their daughter, Lucia, an infant at the time. According to court documents, Gibson said the incident of which he was accused was based on his attempt to rescue their daughter from violent behavior at the hands of Grigorieva. People magazine reported in September 2016 that the custody would be shared "50-50."

Kate Gosselin and Jon Gosselin

Kate Gosselin and Jon Gosselin of
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Kate Gosselin and Jon Gosselin of "Jon & Kate Plus 8," divorced in December 2009 after 10 years of marriage, with Kate receiving primary legal custody of their eight children.

However, Jon told Yahoo in June 2016 that despite a weekly dinner night with the children and stay-overs every other weekend (per the custody arrangement), he's only permitted to have four of the eight children at one time, and he has no control over which of his children he can see. He says he went a year-and-a-half without seeing their son Collin, who has special needs. According to a November 2016 People magazine article, the exes currently share joint physical custody of their eight children -- twins Mady and Cara, 16, and 12-year-old sextuplets, Collin, Aaden, Alexis, Hannah, Leah and Joel.

Madonna and Guy Ritchie

Madonna and Guy Ritchie divorced in 2008 after
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Gareth Cattermole

Madonna and Guy Ritchie divorced in 2008 after an eight-year marriage, and it was then that the former couple decided their son, Rocco -- who was 8 at the time -- would live with Madonna, although custody would be shared. However, a legal battle for Rocco's custody arose in December 2015 when the 15-year-old ignored a court order to return from Ritchie's home in London to Madonna's residence in Manhattan. Details of the final legal custodial settlement haven't been revealed, but Ritchie's attorney announced in September 2016 that Rocco (now 16) would be staying in London with his father.

Paula Patton and Robin Thicke

Actress Paula Patton and singer Robin Thicke divorced
Photo Credit: Invision / Jordan Strauss

Actress Paula Patton and singer Robin Thicke divorced in March 2015 after 10 years of marriage, and the custody dispute over their 6-year-old son, Julian, has been bumpy, if not ugly. People magazine reported it obtained court documents stating in January 2017 that a temporary restraining order requested by Patton against Thicke asking for temporary sole custody of their child. It ordered Thicke to stay away from both his ex-wife and son except for supervised visitation. (Thicke had previously been granted overnight stays with his son Thursdays through Saturdays.)

Patton's attorneys then filed legal papers in February 2017 accusing Thicke of tampering with a court order. Accusations included Thicke allegedly attempting to get Patton arrested in front of their child, and altering a custody court order.

The case is still under deliberation in the Los Angeles Superior Court system.

M.I.A. and Benjamin Bronfman

The British rapper and singer M.I.A. parted ways
Photo Credit: AP

The British rapper and singer M.I.A. parted ways in February 2012 with her fiance Benjamin Bronfman -- a native New Yorker, entrepreneur and fellow musician -- after four years of dating. A month later, Bronfman filed a restraining order against his ex to prevent her from taking their then-4-year-old son Ikhyd to England, which resulted in a couple of since-deleted angry and accusatory tweets from M.I.A. An August 2016 Rolling Stone article reported that the parents "appear to share custody" now.

Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels

The seven-year commitment between rock star Melissa Etheridge,
Photo Credit: AP

The seven-year commitment between rock star Melissa Etheridge, left, and actress Tammy Lynn Michaels ended in July 2010, as the two separately filed to dissolve their domestic partnership. Etheridge sought joint custody of the couple's twins (daughter Johnnie and son Miller) while Michaels asked for sole custody. At one point, Michaels requested a higher rate of child support and accused Etheridge of not showing a proper amount of interest in the children. Etheridge's representatives filed papers stating Michaels once accidentally burned one of the children with a cigarette, and that the twins must have a smoke-free environment in which to live.

An agreement to share joint custody was reached in 2012.

Woody Allen and Mia Farrow

Director and actor Woody Allen, who first got
Photo Credit: AP

Director and actor Woody Allen, who first got romantically involved with actress Mia Farrow in 1979, filed a legal petition against Farrow in August 1992, seeking custody of their three youngest children (Ronan, Dylan and Moses). Earlier in 1992, their relationship ended when Allen's romantic relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, Farrow's oldest (and adopted, but not by Allen) child, was revealed. According to court documents, Allen filed the petition following an accusation by one of his adopted children with Farrow (the two only had one biological child together) that he molested her.

The ruling, dated June 7, 1993, stated that "the best interests of the children will be served by their continued custody with Ms. Farrow." Allen has denied the accusation and was never charged.

Gabriel Aubry and Halle Berry

Model Gabriel Aubry and actress Halle Berry ended
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Model Gabriel Aubry and actress Halle Berry ended their five-year relationship in 2010, but fought a custody and child support battle that culminated in May 2014 with Berry required to pay approximately $16,000 in monthly child support to Aubry until their daughter, Nahla, turns 19 or graduates high school, whichever occurs first (the child was born in 2008). The two share custody.

Scarlett Johansson and Romain Dauriac

Actress Scarlett Johansson filed for divorce from her
Photo Credit: AP / Lionel Cironneau

Actress Scarlett Johansson filed for divorce from her husband, French-born former journalist and art curator Romain Dauriac, in a New York City court on March 7, 2017, following two years of marriage. Johansson has requested joint custody of Rose, their 2-year-old daughter, but wants the child to reside with her. Any custodial decisions remain ongoing.

Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee

Actress Pamela Anderson and rock drummer Tommy Lee
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Actress Pamela Anderson and rock drummer Tommy Lee divorced in 1998 after three years of marriage, but battled for custody of their two children (Brandon Thomas Lee, born in 1996; Dylan Jagger Lee, born in 1997) for four years. During that time, Anderson accused her ex of exhibiting dangerous behavior while under the influence of alcohol. Lee stated in court papers that Anderson was responsible for influencing their older son in an incident where he cursed in school. The two agreed to joint custody in 2002.

Padma Lakshmi and Adam Dell

Author and TV personality Padma Lakshmi had a
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Author and TV personality Padma Lakshmi had a child, Krishna, in February 2010 with venture capitalist Adam Dell -- whom she dated between 2007-2009. But, as she has publicly admitted, she was also involved with the late IMG CEO Ted Forstmann. There was uncertainty concerning who was the biological father. A paternity test ultimately revealed that Dell is the father, and he filed a legal suit seeking full custody. The two settled out of court, with a finalized (but publicly unspecified) compromise on custody and visitation rights.

Kelly Rutherford and Daniel Giersch

A 2012 custody decision by a California Superior
Photo Credit: Michael Loccisano

A 2012 custody decision by a California Superior Court judge ruled that actress Kelly Rutherford's young children with ex-husband Daniel Giersch, Hermes and Helena, would reside with him in either Monaco or France. The reason given was that Giersch was deported and no longer permitted in the United States, so he would be unable to visit the children in the United States -- unlike Rutherford, who could legally travel to Europe for child visitation.

As part of the custody agreement, Rutherford would have the custodial right to transport the children to the United States during school breaks. The actress made headlines when, during a 2015 permitted visit, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge gave her full custody over the children, a decision that was rescinded by a New York State Supreme Court justice who ordered the surrender of the children's American passports in August 2015 and an immediate return to Monaco. Rutherford may now not bring the children to the United States, and can only visit them abroad.

Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger

Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger divorced in 2001
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Vince Bucci

Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger divorced in 2001 after eight years of marriage and fought a four-year legal battle for custody of their daughter, Ireland (born 1995). The case received scrutiny when an angry voicemail that Baldwin left Ireland surfaced. Joint legal and physical custody was awarded to the former couple in 2004.

Kevin Federline and Britney Spears

Kevin Federline and pop star Britney Spears divorced
Photo Credit: AP / Danny Moloshok

Kevin Federline and pop star Britney Spears divorced in 2006 after three years of marriage, during which time they had two boys, Jayden and Sean. Following a lengthy legal fight, Federline received sole custody of their sons in July 2008. This followed a September 2007 order by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge for Spears to relinquish physical custody, in part due to what the judge described as her "habitual, frequent and continuous use of controlled substances and alcohol." (Spears does hold some visitation rights, but her current level of legal custody is unclear. She remains in a conservatorship controlled by her father, James Spears, and lawyer Andrew Wallet. Fox News quoted Los Angeles-based lawyer Julian Chan in May 2016 saying, "Spears cares for her children under the conservatorship."

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