Photo credits: Glenn Francis, Jesse Grant
He was born Alan Willis Jeffrey in Ontario, Canada in 1947, but we remember him by his stage name, Alan Thicke, a popular comedian, actor, comedian and talk show host, and best known for his role as Dr. Jason Seaver on the 80's sitcom Growing Pains.
Thicke was married three times, and was the father of three sons, two by his first marriage and one by his second. It was his third marriage to Tanya Callau, a model he married in 2005, that ultimately led to a legal battle over the late actor's estate when he died in 2016 at the age of 69. Here is a picture of Thicke taken a few years before he died of a heart attack while playing ice hockey with his adult son, Carter.
Unlike most celebrities who re-marry for a second or third time, Thicke took steps to protect his assets for his children by requiring Tanya to sign a pre-nuptial agreement four days before they married. But as often happens in cases of widowed stepmothers, two of Thicke's sons, including singer, songwriter, and producer Robin Thicke, feared that their stepmother would seize control of their father's estate.
Six months after Thicke died, disputes escalated over the $16 Million estate. In May 2018, Callau filed court documents claiming that her stepsons were withholding her rightful inheritance and were charging her for taxes and other expenses. The sons, in turn, filed a lawsuit claiming that Callau wanted to overturn the pre-nuptial agreement she had with Alan Thicke in order to inherit a disproportionate amount of his estate.
That preemptive strike to sue their stepmother over allegations that she was planning to challenge the pre-nup ended up backfiring. The judge in the case said that there was no evidence that Callau planned to sue over Thicke's will, and no evidence that she wanted to challenge the pre-nup.
Once the judge overturned the brothers' petition, a settlement in the case was quickly reached.
In the end, Callau received 40% of the estate, up from an original 25% stipulated in Thicke's will, while each of Thicke's three sons received 20%. Callau also was allowed to remain at her late husband's Carpinteria, California ranch for the remainder of her life, provided she maintains the property.
Callau said she harbors no ill-will towards her stepsons. After the judge's ruling she wrote on Instagram: "Judge threw out my stepsons lawsuit. Reality check ...... I only wish them the best and may we all start healing."
While this case appears to have been settled amicably, it is yet another example of how the best laid plans to avoid an estate battle in a blended family go awry.
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