Hilary Duff's father will be a stranger now. Although Hilary wrote the song "The Stranger," musing about how her mother, Susan, must feel after her dad had an affair with a stewardess, the song title is particularly accurate, since Robert Duff has been sentenced to jail for violating a divorce agreement.
Robert Duff got in trouble by selling $367,537 of stocks — marital assets — without court approval, since the divorce is not yet finalized.
Judges don't like that. Neither do ex-wives.
He will now spend 10 days in a Texas county jail.
At the time of the sentencing, Robert Duff was ordered to put the profits from the stock sale, some $368,000, into a court fund, and to pay his wife $12,500, half the cost of Hilary's upcoming 21st birthday party, on Sept. 28.
Although Hilary is technically celebrating adulthood, nothing robs a kid of her childhood more than battling parents who regress into immature behavior and put their kids in the middle of a psychodrama.
The pain of her parent's ultimate split is still raw.
Susan and Robert had been married for 22 years. In a rare interview, Hilary Duff said, "I was embarrassed that my family wasn't perfect and that some woman had broken it up … This is so hard to talk about."
Even moreso now.
Hilary's parents have been spending most of their time apart since the late 90's when Susan moved to L.A. to help Hilary and her sister, Haylie, launch their careers. Hilary hit gold playing "Lizzie Maguire" on the Disney Channel.
Robert remained home in Houston, where he operated a chain of convenience stores.
Absence, however, has a way of straining marriages. (This doesn't apply only to Hollywood actors away on location.)
Robert met his stewardess lover while Susan was nurturing their daughters’ careers.
When Hilary wrote "The Stranger," she made it seem "like it was about a relationship I was in because I didn't want people to know about my parents."
But now everyone will.
Hilary does not have to be embarrassed, however. She can learn from her parents’ mistakes and not repeat them.
And of course she can write about them. Many kids of divorce will be able to relate to these challenges, and share how she and her sister overcame them.