Maternal Instincts

Leighton Meester Sues Mom Constance & More Celebrity Mother Problems

Leighton Meester and her mom are suing each other over money. See more stars with maternal troubles.

Chris Pizzello / AP Photos (left); / Getty Images

Chris Pizzello / AP Photos

Leighton Meester’s Motherly Countersuit

Could Leighton Meester’s real life actually be more dramatic than her character’s on Gossip Girl? The 25-year-old star is suing her mother for allegedly spending money that she had been sending to help her brother with medical issues on herself. The suit—originally obtained by TMZ—claims that Meester’s mother Constance had been using the $7,500 Leighton would send each month for her brother, Alexander, for cosmetic procedures and personal expenses. "This whole thing's been really tough on Leighton," an insider told People magazine. "Her only concern has always been taking care of her brother." Leighton’s lawsuit also alleges that her mother threatened to sue her for $3 million if she didn't raise her monthly allowance to $10,000. Constance filed a countersuit, in which she claims Leighton broke financial promises and assaulted her in December “by throwing her to the ground and repeatedly hitting her with a bottle,” the legal papers, obtained by TMZ, say. Constance also alleges that her daughter did not uphold an agreement to support her after she couldn’t convince Alexander to move to New York after brain surgery. "Since Alexander receives 24 hour care from Constance, no alternative source of income is possible," Constance’s counter-suit claims. "As a direct result of Leighton's breach, there are no funds to feed and care for Alexander." This isn’t the first time Meester’s mother has had legal issues—she was convicted of smuggling marijuana in the 1980s and gave birth to Leighton while in a Texas halfway house. In 2008, Leighton defended her mother’s past, telling Us Weekly, “She's always there for me no matter what.”

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Heidi Montag Calls the Cops

Heidi Montag proved that there was, in fact, room for more drama in her life, calling the cops on her own mother, Darlene Egelhof, in May 2010. The relationship between the two had been rocky since Montag visited home after her notorious 10 plastic surgeries, prompting a less-than-friendly reunion during which Montag's mother "decided to rape my wife emotionally," said husband Spencer Pratt. When Egelhof showed up at the couple's Los Angeles home, Montag called the police and later explained to People magazine, "She knows I have no interest in seeing or talking with her. She tore my heart out on national television." The situation didn't escalate, and Egelhof left the property voluntarily when police arrived.


Christian Bale's London Tantrum

Never one for keeping his temper, Christian Bale reportedly flew off the handle shortly before the London premiere of The Dark Knight in July 2008, prompting his mother and sister to file a complaint with local police. The source of the dispute? His mom's unkind words about his wife, Sandra Blazic. "He just got very loud because his mother was saying some very outrageous things about him, and his wife," said a friend. Friends blamed Bale's reaction on grief over the recent death of his friend and Dark Knight co-star, Heath Ledger. After walking the red carpet for the movie's premiere, Bale agreed to questioning and was eventually let go with no charges.

Carmen Valdes / Getty Images

Drew Barrymore Emancipates Herself

Growing up in a notoriously fractured family, Drew Barrymore separated from her family earlier than most, filing for emancipation from her parents at the ripe old age of 15, and later getting a tattoo of an angel bearing a cross with her mother's name, "Jaid," on it. The rift was understandable: At the height of her career as a child star, Jaid brought Barrymore to clubs like Studio 54, where she was introduced to drugs and alcohol, a habit that eventually landed her in rehab before her 13th birthday. In spite of their troubled history, the two reconciled when Barrymore played a flawed mother in her 2001 film Riding in Cars With Boys "Eventually we got to where we could hang out on our own, but there were a lot of real crazy emotions flying all over the place," explained Barrymore. "The one thing my mom said to me to break the ice was that we [had] really needed to separate to become our own people before we could come together again. I respect that."

Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

Oprah's Busy Signal

Oprah Winfrey has been open about many aspects of her troubled past, but not when it comes to her relationship with her mother Vernita, according to Kitty Kelley's tell-all biography on the media queen. "The assistant tells Oprah what her mother wants and then the assistant calls Vernita back and tells her what Oprah said," though the two do reportedly speak in person on occasion. Even if the relationship is frosty, Vernita is financially taken care of by her daughter. "She buys $500 hats, and she has a very good life financially, but she can't reach Oprah," explained Kelley. "Oprah will not give her mother her telephone number."

Getty Images; Paul Harris / Getty Images

A Tell-All From Aniston's Mother

One sure way to make sure that your estranged child stays estranged: Write a tell-all book after the child becomes famous. Aniston's mother Nancy published From Mother and Daughter to Friends: A Memoir in 1999 after a similarly revealing television interview about her daughter, resulting in her name being left off the guest list for Aniston's 2000 wedding to Brad Pitt, a move Aniston called "a necessary break we need to take." During her divorce from Pitt in 2005, however, Aniston reconnected with her mother, telling ABC "It's been really nice. It's crazy what, you know, your life kind of being turned upside down will lead you to. … It's baby steps."

Christopher Polk / Getty Images; Paul Sancya / AP Photo

Eminem's Long-Term Feud

If you ever want to know about Eminem's mom, Debbie Mathers, just listen to his songs. Or read his book. On his album Relapse, M blames his drug use on his mother in " My Mom" saying it runs in the family. "My mom does Valium and lots of drugs/That's why I am like her ‘cause I'm like her." After the 2008 release of the book My Son Marshall, My Son Eminem, Debbie sued in order to correct some of the information, most notably her drug use. A year later, after undergoing heart surgery and falling seriously ill, his mother begged him to reconcile their differences. No word yet from Eminem.


Tori Spelling's Out of the Loop

Tori Spelling was at such odds with her mother, Candy, that when her father died, Tori found out through a friend who had seen the news on TV. "I was just in total shock," Tori told US Weekly. "My first thought was, I can't believe my mom didn't call me!" Tori had showed concern that Candy began spending too much time with an outside friend while her father, Aaron Spelling, ailed, although Candy denies the relationship was romantic. The two women have since made up, as Candy told "We both decided to [communicate] privately, so I know that everyone will respect that because it kind of got out of hand when it wasn't the other way."

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Christina Crawford's Mommie Dearest

A year and a half after her mother Joan Crawford died, Christina Crawford published Mommie Dearest. The book-turned-film was a "tell-all" memoir in which she called her film-star mother physically and emotionally abusive. At the age of 13, her mother grabbed her by the throat, punched her in the face, and slammed her head against the ground. "You never forget that," Christina told The Guardian. "It was up close and personal. She came this far from my face, and you could see it in her eyes, you can see if someone is trying to kill you." The autobiography sent waves rippling through the Hollywood community and was even denounced by two of Joan's other adopted children. / Getty Images

Courtney Love Estranged on Both Sides

Courtney Love has feuds on two fronts. She hasn't spoken with her mother in years and, even when they did, "it was horrible—a lot of screaming, yelling, accusations. I would react to her volatility by distancing myself because it scared me so much, and I didn't know what to do," her mother, Linda Carroll, told Appealing to the younger crowd, Love used Facebook to distance herself from her daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, after losing custody. "[Frances] thinks she has all this money, [but] the point is I have all the money she has… I don't care really, I hate to sound cold, but any kid of mine who pulls this shit—has lost her position," Love reportedly wrote.

AP Photo

Carrie Fisher's Vibrators and Drugs

Now, Carrie Fisher might joke about the time her mother, Debbie Reynolds, bought vibrators for her and her grandmother, but in her semi-autobiographical novel Postcards From the Edge, Fisher was a little more touchy. The novel focuses on a young actress named Suzanne who is trying to rebuild her life after a drug overdose. Her mother is largely absent from the book, although in one scene she visits Suzanne in rehab: "My mother is probably sort of disappointed at how I turned out, but she doesn't show it. She came by today and brought me a satin and velvet quilt. I'm surprised I was able to detox without it. I was nervous about seeing her, but it went OK. She thinks I blame her for my being here. I mainly blame my dealer, my doctor, and myself, and not necessarily in that order. [...] She washed my underwear and left."

Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

Usher Can't Make up his Mind

Usher and his mother Jonetta Patton are in an on-again-off-again relationship. On Mother's Day in 2007, Usher fired her from her post as manager over her alleged opposition to Usher's then-fiancée Tameka Foster. "At this time in my life, I am simply more interested in building the strength of my family. And in order to do that, I feel it's best to separate my business life from my personal life," Usher said. In 2008, the mother-son duo reunited when he rehired her, but, just a year later in 2009, she got the boot again. Her departure, however, put a hold on Usher's latest album release as Jive Records refused to launch the album without a manager signed.

Alfredo Miccoli, AFP / Getty Images

Maria Callas Oppressed

When Evangelina Kalogeropoulos gave birth to her third baby, she was so disappointed Maria was not a boy she did not look at her child for four days. Thus began the relationship of this mother-daughter pair. At the age of 3, Maria's vocal talents began to show, so Evangelina began pressuring her to sing. Callas attributes much of her unhappy childhood to her mother. "My sister was slim and beautiful and friendly, and my mother always preferred her. I was the ugly duckling, fat and clumsy and unpopular. It is a cruel thing to make a child feel ugly and unwanted... I'll never forgive her for taking my childhood away," she said. The two remained at odds until Evangelina wrote a series of angry and accusatory letters against both Maria's father and husband, at which point Maria severed ties completely.

AP Photo

Brooke Shields Disappoints

Brooke Shields' mom, Teri, pulled the big "D" card on her daughter in an interview with the National Enquirer. "I'm often disappointed in [Brooke], like the times she snaps: ‘What do you ever do for me?'" The mother-stage actress also felt neglected in Brooke's life. "I don't see Brooke or my granddaughters much, and if they do come over, it's only for a little while and then they're gone," Teri said. "I wish I could see Brooke, but all she does is work. …But [she] always makes time to visit her friends no matter how busy she is." In 2009, however, when the actress's mom was found to be checked out of her nursing home by a journalist seeking a "tabloid story," Brooke was on the spot looking for answers. "I intend to take every lawful action against all who were involved or who authorized this despicable act," Brooke told People magazine.