By Michael Hiltzik
Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A consistent theme that emerges from between the lines of legal declarations filed by the couple’s friends, family and acquaintances in Los Angeles and Orange County state courts is: “Can’t we get them both to knock it off?”
The usual question asked when an ordinary couple’s marriage comes apart is: “Can there be life after divorce?”
That’s not the case with the billionaire couple Bill and Sue Gross, who were divorced in 2017 after 32 years of marriage. With them, the question is: “When will the nightmare end?”
The pair’s divorce was enormously contentious, although their three children are grown, there were conflicts over their multiple homes, cars, cats and artwork. But since the decree was issued in October, relations between Bill, 74, and Sue, 68, seem only to have gotten worse.
Temporary restraining orders have been issued at one point or another against both parties. Accusations of spying and surveillance have flowed in both directions, as have allegations of deliberately destroyed property, malicious damage at their homes, one of which is valued at $40 million, and sexual affairs.
Caught in the middle, according to voluminous court filings, are Sue’s sisters and brother-in-law, Bill’s household employees and even people making deliveries or doing construction at their properties.
An inflection point may loom in the form of a court hearing scheduled in Los Angeles on July 3. That’s when a judge will weigh whether to extend a temporary restraining order Sue obtained against Bill on June 14, and to widen it to protect her sisters and other relatives.
The legal maneuvering in the runup to the hearing caught the eye of the New York Post, which happily repeated Sue’s allegation that Bill had left a Laguna Beach home they had once shared but that had to be turned over to her in the divorce in “a state of utter chaos and disrepair,” including infusing it with the smells of “puke” and flatulence dispensed from bottles, as well as other vandalism that left her “disgusted.” But that was only one side of the story. Among other things, Bill has accused Sue of secretly ordering utility services turned off at homes he’s occupying; she denies it.