Christie Brinkley: Divorcing a Narcissist & Litigation Abuse


I grew up thinking Christie Brinkley lived a fairy tale life.  She was Billy Joel’s uptown girl and news anchor David Brinkley’s step-daughter.

Yet, even cover girls can experience litigation abuse when they divorce a narcissist.  To the outside world, their ten-year marriage appeared to be perfect.  But, behind closed doors, Ms. Brinkley’s ex-husband Peter Cook admittedhe was “an idiot.”  Like David Letterman, he sexually harassed  his 18-year-old personal assistant Diana Bianchi.  To avoid a lawsuit and to keep her quiet, he paid her $300,000.  She testified at their divorce trial.

During the trial, it was revealed that Cook abused the children “about a dozen times” and spent $3,000/month to support his addiction to Internet porn.  Cook appeared on Barbara Walter’s 20/20 last October to clear his name:

My hope is that the world see that I’m not the scumbag pervert that I’ve been painted to be.

Court-appointed psychiatrist, Dr. Stephen Herman, testified that Cook is “an insatiable narcissist.”

Yesterday, Cook said “I’ll accept ‘narcissit’ over [custodial] ‘interference.'”  Sorry, Peter, they are one and the same.  Custodial interference/parental alienation is one of the favorite litigation abuse weapons of narcissistic pit bulls.  Ms. Brinkley has been subjected to litigation abuse for 3 1/2 years.  Most of Cook’s $2.1 million settlement from Ms. Brinkley went to his lawyers for their fees.  Yesterday, she suggested people visit  The therapists who maintain the site also havea blog.

On her Facebook page today, Ms. Brinkley posted an excellent article by Emma:  Narcissism and Divorce.”  If you are currently engaged in litigation abuse with a narcissistic pit bull, I strongly urge you to print out the article and read it every week because “the courts are usually no match for a narcissist”:

When divorcing a narcissist, you are in for the worst battle of your life.  It is important that you have a large support group.

. . .restraining orders. . .document every confrontation. . .protect yourself. . .time-out in order to regroup.  The hardest thing to do is not give up.

. . .they will cause you to doubt all your decisions. . .putting your future at risk.


Cook alleged that Ms. Brinkley had engaged in custodial interference and asked Riverhead, New York State Supreme Court Judge Mark Cohen to hold Ms. Brinkley in contempt of court.  Cook attempted to assert control over Ms. Brinkley by asking the judge to appoint a parenting coordinator, demand Ms. Brinkley enroll in anger management classes, and cover his legal expenses.  The judge didn’t buy it, and both frivolous motions were dropped

In violation of their divorce settlement’s confidentiality agreement, Cook engaged in a media campaign to smear Ms. Brinkley’s reputation.  Emma explained the dynamic:

They cannot tolerate any shows of strength or determination.  They thrive on seeing your fear.  They may even threaten you, without coming out directly and saying what they will do.  It may be physical, financial, or involve the custody of the children.  The promise of harm can be enough to wear you down. . .making you look like a nut case.

Cook, for example, perceived it to be parental interference when Ms. Brinkley objected when he took their children (Jack, age 14; Sailor, age 10) sailing with his new girlfriend.  Sorry, Peter, judges don’t think it is in “the best interest of the children” for them to witness cohabitation.  As the custodial parent, Ms. Brinkley has a duty to her children to protect them.  As Emma wisely observes:

Even if he is in a relationship with someone else, they will continually return to you to continually harass long after the divorce is over, in order to get their “fix.”  The reason for this is because it is easier to go back to the original source of pleasure than it is to train the new victim.  The longer they can do this, the safer their new significant other will be.


Gather Your Strengths

This morning, Ms. Brinkley posted a quote by Prem Rawat which hangs on her wall on her Facebook page:

Gather your strengths, not your weaknesses. What are your strengths? Your strengths are consciousness, kindness, understanding, acknowledging, rejoicing, loving. When you walk in these, the outcome is beautiful.
This echoes Emma’s sage wisdom:
Try to keep yourself as physically fit as possible.  Get enough rest and eat as best you can.  .  .
Try not to allow them to cause fear in you, even though you have already been primed though your marriage to be afraid.  .  .
Put as much distance between you and your ex-spouse as you can. . .it will not happen overnight.
After their custody dispute was settled yesterday, Ms. Brinkley thanked her fans for their support:
Enough trials and tribulation. Onward and upwards! Looking forward to many great positive days ahead. Thank you to everyone for all the support!
Ms. Brinkley was represented by Peter Caronia of Hauppauge, New York.
Emma turns to Dr. Sam Vaknin for advice and information.  He has written Malignant Self Love:  Narcissism Revisited and Relationships with Abusive Narcissists.
Today I’m ordering Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life by Linda Martinez-Lewi which has gotten rave reviews on Amazon.  I will review the book if it is something I can recommend.  Ms. Martinez-Lewi is one of the therapists at
Related posts and pages:

12 responses to “Christie Brinkley: Divorcing a Narcissist & Litigation Abuse

  1. Thanks for reading my post at jwiblog and my blog. A problem that I see with divorcing a narcissist is that too many lawyers and judges are narcissists themselves, which makes them natural allies to the bullies in the house.

  2. Thanks for visiting, Laura. Your post on jwiblog is certainly sparking interest and comment. Bravo!

    Because this web site is largely my response to a certain high-ranking narcissistic pit bull judge, your comment had me howling with belly laughter. It was so good to hear somebody else say what’s on my mind. My own point of view is that a narcissistic abusive judge is incapable of recognizing abusive behavior. When he/she looks at the perpetrator, they see themselves and can’t comprehend what all the fuss is about.

    The same is true if an alcoholic judge hears drunk driving cases. What most folks would recognize as alcoholism the judge will see a party-hearty social drinker.

    When you toss in power and control issues and the fact that too many divorce attorneys are also narcissistic, it doesn’t make for a good situation.

  3. And all of that leads to the least wonderful of phrases: “why don’t you just leave?” or “you just don’t know how to handle him.” I haven’t made it to court, we managed out of court and he kept delaying everything court related and to top it off the court kept messing everything up. But my first divorce lawyer made certain that I understood that it’s a crapshoot when you go to court. What a sad, sad system we have.

  4. Your attorney gave you good advice, Laura. I’ve practiced law from both sides of the bench, lived with a judge, and had a judge for a brother-in-law. While there are many good judges, too many choose this career route because substance abuse problems make it difficult for them to make money practicing law. If a litigant gets a judge who is 1) paying attention, 2) isn’t on the take, 3) comes to court prepared, and 4) makes an unbiased judgement, the person is VERY lucky.

    Twice someone from the judge’s state has asked me what to do about judicial corruption in his state. Quite frankly, there isn’t much recourse when a member of the state’s highest court abuses the women (not just me) in his life in front of his peers. And, his peers don’t blink an eye.

    My most popular post is about why women don’t just leave. IMHO, it is very telling when someone suggests to us that manipulation is a great relationship strategy. How can anybody have a healthy, loving relationship without trust and respect?

    BTW, if/when your book is published, please let me know. I’ll write a review.

  5. This is probably an epidemic. Sick creeps suck the life out of you and everyone they touch. People elect these judges then have no idea how they behave in the court room unless they unlucky and end up there! My experience has been that you have to become radical just to get anyone’s attention! These judges need continuing education! If it doesn’t touch their life they have no idea.

  6. WANTED: New Ex-Husband

    Qualifications include but are not limited to:

    Must like children, but does not have to like me. Should however realize that attempting to vilify or be revengeful directly to me, indirectly harms the children. Should be able to put the children’s best interest ahead of their own and choose the children vs. themselves. Must understand that expenses for the children are more important than travel, race fees, ski or pool passes for themselves. Should have enough respect for me that when giving up parenting time to communicate this in a timely manner to avoid senseless commutes with the children, long waits and big disappointment. Must be willing to compromise, instead of the overpowering need to win or be right. Should be able to limit all communication to that which pertains to the children and only when necessary, including, but not limited to; fax, e-mail, text, or phone calls. Should be able to understand that the children want to spend time with you and not your new or next relationship. Should have the ability to love unconditionally, be compassionate and possess empathy, but most importantly be able to tell the truth. This job requires a life time commitment to the children and will be hard at times, but with the right attitude have big rewards.

    Narcissists, drama kings or those with “Peter Pan” characteristics need not apply.

    Ps. If you see my current ex-husband skiing, riding his bike, training for the grand traverse or just hanging with friends, he is probably blowing off his parenting time and tell him he is fired (again)!

  7. Ms. Brinkley has brought this issue into the spotlight and has made so many of us feel less alone. Providing public education will lead to education in the Family Court System and together, we can all make that happen. The courts currently have it backwards– this shouldn’t be about Mother’s Rights or Father’s Rights— it should be about Children’s Rights.

    — Married a Narcissist, Divorced a Narcissist and Thriving after the said Narcissist

  8. Ms. Swithin,

    Yes, it absolutely should be about Children’s Rights. Still, it seems too few men are genuinely fighting for them. I applaud all the protective mothers out there who are doing their best for their children.

    Are you responsible for yesterday’s spike in my stats? If so, thank you.

    I’m adding your excellent blog to my survivor blogroll. I would like to encourage you to add the sad case of Susan Cox Powell to your advocacy. If you missed the E! News special this week, a psychiatrist diagnosed Josh Powell with having a narcissistic personality disorder ~ the custody case involving the Powell children is textbook on what happens when the courts are clueless. . .same court BTW that allowed the D.C. Sniper to slip through the cracks and kidnap his kids. . .Mildred Muhammad is doing a fabulous job telling this PAS story.

    Best wishes,
    Anne Caroline

  9. Anne Caroline- I am currently doing a blog regarding the Powell case and my frustrations with the system. My goal (before 2012 ends) is to begin a non-profit and bring awareness to our courts and the public. Sadly, these cases don’t receive the necessary attention until there is a tragedy. We have it all backwards.

    Thank you for your offer to add my blog to your survivor blogroll. I am honored– Tina (

  10. How come if a man does this, he is villified, but a woman gets away with it all the time in divorce court — all the time. I know so many women who commit adultery and have their kids around them with the man they were with or are now cohabiting with. Not a word. What a double standard. The courts are so pro female, especially in leftist feminist states like California. A woman can say ‘domestic violence’ and boom the police are at the guys door. Spousal support is rarely awarded to men unless the disparities are huge; the judges say, ‘go get a job ‘(to the man). There is a guy I know who pays his wife $8000 a month, and she sits on her rear all day and refuses to work. I see it over and over. I know a bunch of feminists will jump all over me. I do not care. I know what is the truth, and so do millions of others — especially men. Of course there are bad men. However, in divorce court, as a general rule, women rule and get their way–they get the nod, they get the benefit of the doubt. Most divorces are instituted by women, not men. On a financial basis Ms. Brinkley should have had to pay her ex more money, she earns way more. But, that is just not the way it works. Men pay, women receive. Arnold commits adultery, it is all over and his wife’s lawyer states that he will pay because of it. That is supposed to be irrelevant (no fault), but not when a man does it. Cherly Tiegs committed adultery, and she got a glowing story in People magazine — no bad press; the husband got bad press for being depressed about the adultery. There is a huge double standard. If women want to be like men (they are the same according to the feminists), then they should tough it out like men. But they don’t. When it gets to divorce court, women are helpless damsels who need money.

  11. Not to kick the beehive, but I haven’t seen anything on the Internet where Mr. Cook gets his chance to make a statement about Ms. Brinkley. Frankly? They both look like they vie for attention, and Ms. Brinkley’s modeling career is an attestation to that fact. To me (only my opinion, so don’t attack!), she looks like she’s always trolling.

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