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Christie Brinkley: Not My American Sweetheart

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I don't watch an awful lot of television, but I am addicted to the gossip websites, and I've read with dismay about the Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook trial, and caught a brief interview with her after a court appearance the other day.

Does anyone else think that what she's doing is appalling?

Trawling round the blogs it seems most people applaud her for going public. She is, after all, America's sweetheart, golden and perfect, always smiling. She looks so fresh and clean, how dare he soil her with cheap mistresses (who actually turned out to be rather expensive), and porn. Porn for heaven's sake! Shock horror! Go get 'im, is their advice, and then one woman wrote Christie Brinkley had a wonderful lawyer, who had represented this woman in her own divorce, and who she refers to as her pet doberman.

It makes me shiver with horror.

There are children involved here. Small children, and whilst Ms Brinkley may say that her children are in camp and are therefore unaware of the tribulations of the trial, ugly messy divorces with each partner trying to paint the other as a monster, suffer fallout for years, and the people who are hurt most are invariably the children, who can well detect the hate and resentment simmering under the surface when they're transitioning from parent to parent.

I am divorced, and one of the things I am tremendously grateful for is that my ex-husband and I made a decision to go through mediation. I knew a trial would drag on for years, would cost me everything, but worse, would be devastating for our four small children. We were not friends, and he hated me for having the temerity to leave him. There were times in mediation when I wanted to scream with frustration, and it ended up costing me everything anyway, but I have always been financially independent, and I looked upon it as the price of my freedom. (my only words of warning for anyone considering mediation is that the stronger, bullying partner will always get more)

But even when the frustration and fury became too much to bear, I didn't have a rottweiler lawyer (I prefer rottweiler, given that I have a pet doberman who's largely 120lb of pure mush) fanning the flames of anger. I didn't have someone pushing me to reveal all the secrets and lies. I didn't have someone turning me into the worst possible person I could be. A person we all have the capacity to be, but a person I consciously chose not to be for the sake of the children.

Two years on my children are happy. They were protected from the pain, and protected from having to see their parents depicted as awful human beings. They are happy with their father, and happy with me. When they ask about their father, I talk about him with respect and kindness, and they have never, ever, heard me talk about him to friends in front of them.

Christie Brinkley may think her kids are protected, but I can assure her, they are not. They will come back to school with all the friends who will have followed every word, because who, after all, is not fascinated by sordid tales of celebrities, and not just celebrities, but celebrities who have kids in their class!

Peter Cook's story isn't a great one, but I've heard worse. So he had an affair and paid her off. So he trawled porn sites. So he had a secret life that Christie Brinkley knew nothing about, wasn't the perfect husband he appeared to be. So what? Is her humiliation really so great that she has to have this kind of revenge?

I'm not buying her golden smile and protestations that she's exhausted. She brought this upon herself. And her children. And I think when it's his turn to take the stand, she may have a glimmer of wishing she hadn't asked for their dirty laundry to be aired for everyone to examine in minute detail.

Such a shame, I think to myself. It would have been so much better for everyone to put the children first, and to agree the terms of her divorce behind the scenes. She would have been seen as graciously moving on with her life.