Divorces are ugly; not only do they tear families apart, but they can sometimes lead to nasty custody battles as well. While some parents decide to go for a joint custody, enabling both of them to spend quality time with their children, on the other hand, there are couples who like to take their discord over parenting issues to the court.
The same thing has been happening in B-town as well. There are many Bollywood couples who are going (or have gone) through marital discord. And, there are a number of children who have, unfortunately, been caught in the crossfire of their celebrity parents fighting for their custody. Let us have a look at some of the celebrity couples who are (or have been) in midst of such custody battles. Take a look:
#1. Leander Paes and Rhea Pillai
On May 3, 2014, Leander Paes filed a petition in the court seeking the custody of his child Aiyana. What came out more shockingly was the fact that Rhea and Leander were never married, and have been in a live-in relationship for the past 8 years.
In his custody petition, Leander alleged that Rhea is not a good mother, and that he is concerned about Aiyana’s well-being and safety. In his petition for custody, Paes also mentioned, “escapades, indiscreet and irresponsible behaviour, lack of personal maternal supervision, volatile temper and self-indulgence created insecurity in the child and was detrimental to a healthy upbringing,” as reasons to seek sole custody. He also sought court’s order to restrain Rhea from taking Aiyana, out of Mumbai.
When Rhea was contacted, she refused to comment on the matter, but her lawyer Mrunalini Deshmukh told the media:
“Rhea will fight for Aiyana’s custody. As per the law, in a live-in relationship, the custody of the child usually goes to the mother.”
#2. Sunjay Kapur and Karisma Kapoor
Soon after Leander went public with his petition, Sunjay Kapur too filed a petition seeking the custody his daughter Samaira, and son Kiaan Raj Kapoor. Initially, Sunjay had filed for the custody of Samaira, but later he filed one for Kiaan as well. Sunjay told the media that he was forced to take this step because Karisma did not allow him to meet their children. Lawyer Jalaja Nambiar, who represented Sunjay, was quoted as saying:
“It is a battle for both the parties, unless they opt for a settlement. It is not a cakewalk. It is a sensitive issue and should be dealt with in a sensitive manner.”
Later, as per the court’s suggestion the two decided to end their divorce battle amicably. They came to an agreement as per which, Karisma was given the custody of their kids while Sunjay was provided with the visitation rights.
#3. Kamal Hassan and Sarika
Sarika and Kamal have two daughters, Shruti and Akshara. Though the couple had a troubled marriage, they stayed together till 2004. Post that, Sarika could not stay with Kamal because of his alleged relationship with another woman, and she moved out, along with her two daughters.
She later decided to file a petition for the custody of her daughters. She won the case, and moved to Mumbai with them. When Shruti Hassan grew up, she later went to stay with her father, and his live-in partner, Gouthami.
#4. Reena Roy and Mohsin Khan
Reena Roy married Pakistani cricketer Mohsin Khan, and settled in Pakistan. Soon after this the couple was blessed with a beautiful baby daughter, and they named her Jannat. However, their marriage did not last long and Mohsin, was granted the custody of their daughter.
After a long legal battle and Mohsin Khan’s remarriage, Reena was able to win the custody of her daughter. She brought her to India and re-named her Sanam.
#5. Sanjay Dutt and Richa Sharma’s parents
In 1987, Sanjay Dutt married Richa Sharma, and soon they welcomed their daughter, Trishala, into the world. However, the marriage hit the rocks when Sanjay was accused of being in possession of illegal weapons, after the 1993 Mumbai blasts. Richa, who was suffering from brain tumour, passed away in 1996, which left Trishala all alone. Richa’s parents and her sister Ena, decided to fight for Trishala’s custody, as they were concerned about her upbringing.
Sanjay too fought the custody battle, but unfortunately, lost the case, and Trishala went on to live with her grandparents in the USA.
#6. Raj and Kavita Kundra
Shilpa Shetty’s husband, Raj Kundra, and his first wife, Kavita Kundra, too were embroiled in a bitter custody battle of their child, Deleena. Initially, Raj was allowed to visit his daughter during the weekends and on weekdays in Kavita’s presence.
However, given Raj’s alleged infidelity, Kavita did not want him to have any contact with the child, and she approached the court to revoke his visitation rights. Raj Kundra eventually lost the case.
A Twist In The Story
Yes, we have been talking about ugly custody battles between couples and their families, but here is a twist in the tale where we talk about a celebrity custody battle between a father and a son.
In a strange turn of events, Aamir had to file for the custody of his brother Faisal, who suffered from schizophrenia-induced-psychosis. Aamir fought this case against his father, Tahir Hussain.
Aamir eventually lost the custody, as court realised that Faisal was just suffering from depression, and he had the right to live wherever he wants.
The Other Side
However, there are some exceptions in Bollywood too. There are couples who have decided to sensitively deal with their divorces, especially for the sake of their children.
Hrithik Roshan and Sussanne Khan who are officially a divorced couple now, never fought for the sole custody of their sons, Hridhaan and Hrehaan. Lawyer Mrunalini Deshmukh, who has been fighting quite a few celebrity family battles, has been quoted saying:
“Hrithik and Sussanne sorted out parenting issues in a mature and healthy manner. They were graceful and did not drag the kids into their differences.”