Francois-Henri Pinault: The Richest & Douchiest Deadbeat Dad Ever?

How do I put this politely? Salma Hayek’s husband and baby daddy, Francois-Henri Pinault, sounds like a huge douchebag. Pinault is currently embroiled in a child support battle with ex Linda Evangelista, with whom he has a five-year-old son, Augie, and the French billionaire is not looking so good. Evangelista is demanding $46,000 — a month! — in child support, which is obviously a lot, but the former supermodel says it’s less than what Pinault lavishes on his daughter with Hayek, Valentina, age 4. Pinault claims that Evangelista is really demanding “mom support.” 

Obviously, the money being talked about here is more than many people make in a year, but keep in mind that Pinault is heir to a family estate worth an estimated $11.5 billion, and in his position as chief executive of PPR, the company behind major fashion brands like Gucci, he makes $5 million a year.  So, you know, the guy wipes his butt with $100 bills. Pinault seems resistant to giving Evangelista more child support because he frankly didn’t want her to carry their son to term; he says the two had only been dating four months (and had spent as little as seven days together) when she announced she was pregnant. Evangelista has testified that Pinault wanted her to get an abortion and, when she refused, he broke it off. Pinault started dating Hayek shortly thereafter and she became pregnant with Valentina. (They married in 2009.)

Pinault testified in court that he asked Evangelista not to bring a paternity claim against him until after Valentina was born, because Hayek was having a difficult pregnancy and doctors thought the baby would be born with Down syndrome. Evangelista agreed, which I think was rather generous of her. Thankfully, Valentina was born completely healthy. Unfortunately for Augie, becoming a father for the second time has not made Pinault more enthusiastic about parenting or supporting his first. In court last week, Pinault detailed his lavish spending habits — including $260K on watches in 2010 — yet admitted he couldn’t remember what he bought his son for Christmas or his birthday. For the first year of Augie’s life, Pinault did not offer child support and Evangelista did not ask. So why is she looking for money now? Evangelista says that finding work is not as easy for her now she is in her 40s, but that she needs full-time nannies because, “When I work, it can be a 16-hour day,” she said. “On days when I do not work, I am working on my image. I have to hit the gym. I have beauty appointments. I have to work toward my next job and maintaining my image, just like an athlete.”

Evangelista’s lawyer says she’s seeking $46K a month not “to piggyback on the lifestyle of Mr. Pinault” but “for a continuation of the reasonable lifestyle of Augie.” That “reasonable lifestyle,” it’s implied, should be similar to that of Pinault’s other child, Valentina. For example, Pinault pays $50K a month on just the taxes, upkeep, and loan payments on the $12 million Los Angeles home he’s put in trust for the toddler. Fifty thousand dollars! On a house! That she doesn’t live in! Because she’s four! So yeah, $46,000 per month for a five-year-old sounds insane, but it’s not that crazy when you look at how Pinault actually spends his fortune. (That house, by the way, has not escaped Evangelista’s notice — she’s also asked for a house of comparable value to be put in a trust under Augie’s name.) 

Clearly, this isn’t an issue of Pinault not being able to afford $46K a month in child support. The underlying debate seems to be whether Evangelista, and thus Augie, deserves it because Pinault never wanted to be a father to her child in the first place. His involvement in Augie’s life is minimal — he sends birthday and Christmas gifts and pays a previously agreed upon amount in support, now obviously in contention — but Evangelista has been the primary parent. Evangelista isn’t demanding that Pinault play a more active role in Augie’s life, just that he give more financial support. (In the end, Evangelista probably won’t get as much as she’s asking for, as judges consider how much it costs to raise a kid, not how much money the parents make in child support cases.)

Frankly, it appears that Pinault is pissed that Evangelista didn’t do what he wanted — have an abortion — and wants to punish her for it. Cry me a river, Frenchie. Putting aside how much money is being fought over — 1 percent problemz! — and whether it’s reasonable, Pinault is coming off like a major douchewad (and by extension, I am second guessing my fondness for Salma). I’m of the mind that if you’re a man who knowingly has unprotected sex with a woman, you are 50 percent financially responsible if she ends up getting pregnant, knowing that whether she ends up keeping or terminating the pregnancy is entirely her decision because it’s her body. Don’t think that sounds fair? Put on a condom. They are really effective if you use them correctly. 

[Daily News UK]