The divorce was a cautionary tale, a textbook case of what not to do. Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook may have settled their contentious case today, but the damage is already done.
The emotional costs far exceed the $2.1 million dollars that Brinkley will pay to Cook for the right to have sole custody of her children, Sailor, 10, and Jack, 13. When you have a $30 million house, it's not as though you can't afford to cough up some cash to prevent a collision crash.
In leaving the courtroom, Cook said, “I got everything I’ve been wanting for two years.”
Christie let her anger hijack her reason. She always had the trump card: she exposed her cad of a husband in the courtroom in a bid to get full custody.
But she could have done it in private, by keeping the courtroom closed to the tabloid Klieg lights and the prying eyes of reporters willing to snatch every unsavory morsel.
Even the public got disgusted by this self-absorbed display of parental looniness.
Christie forgot the golden rule of FirstWivesWorld.com. “You have to love your children more than you hate your spouse.”
For whatever reason, she made a choice to marry this man, and have a daughter with this man, and have him adopt her son from another marriage. Once you have kids with someone, you are connected to that person for life.
She should have made peace with the fact that she couldn't remove Cook permanently from her life – as she did with her previous husband, which her lawyers must have told her was very unusual.
This spectacle could have been avoided.
In the settlement announced today, Cook gets the extra cash but Brinkley gets full custody of the kids and keeps her Hampton properties. Cook will also be able to see his children.
It is no secret that contentious divorces have a negative impact on children ranging from low self-esteem, sleep problems, weight gain and depression to impaired performance at school.
But it is also no secret that the primal desire to see a parent will trump any bad-mouthing from the other parent. Kids want to forgive their parents and find ways to have a relationship with them. After all, that parent is 50 percent of their being.
And over time, the parent who badmouths the other parent loses the child’s respect as well.
It seems as though the reality of her folly finally jolted Christie to reason. When she arrived at the courtroom today, she made sure to enhance her image, however feebly, by wearing earrings with a peace sign. Then she made this announcement to cement the message:
“I'm really glad today that we found some peace,” she said. “It's a very bittersweet moment. It really is the death of the marriage.”
No, the death of the marriage came when her husband had affairs. It came when she discovered his fondness for Internet porn.
But before this trial, there was always a possibility for rebirth. Their displayed bitterness in court will never be sweet for their children. The scars will remain always.
Because although you can't always control what happens to you, you can control how you conduct yourself.
Neither were good role models for their children. However, life goes on, and there is still time for them to learn from their mistakes.