15 Celebrity Custody Battles That Got Ugly Fast

Tanvier Peart | Jun 11, 2018 Celebrity Moms
15 Celebrity Custody Battles That Got Ugly Fast
Image: Mario Anzuoni/REUTERS

Britney Spears and Kevin Federline
Mario Anzuoni/REUTERS

When a couple decides to call it quits, one can only pray to the heavens that the unraveling of the relationship goes as smoothly as possible. Sadly, not all people can consciously uncouple without some drama arising. (We've seen one too many ugly celebrity divorces to prove otherwise.) Through all the mudslinging and finger-pointing, one thing that's so hard to watch is the children involved getting caught in the crossfire.

While there are some celebrity exes who can co-parent without tons of craziness popping off, others can't -- due to underlying causes, or an ex who's reigning hell on Earth -- that makes the need for celebs to fight for custody of their kids a very real reality.

These celebrities have been through the ringer, often duking it out with a former lover in years-long wars to be able to care for their child the way they see fit. Many of these battles often center around child support, while others deal with visitation rights and lack thereof when the other parent lives in a different state -- or different country. Hopefully, these stars can work things out with their exes for the sake of creating stability and a healthy environment for their kids. But for some, the drama doesn't look to be letting up anytime soon.

Here's a look at 15 celebrities whose custody battles took a major turn for the ugly.




  • Jon & Kate Gosselin

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    Kate and Jon Gosselin
    Splash News; SPW / Splash News

    These two might not have a reality show together anymore, but there's more than enough drama to give all the housewives a run for their money. And with the amount of back-and-forth craziness surrounding Jon and Kate Gosselin's custody battle, it's probably not a bad idea for them to stay off TV. Jon and Kate made waves in August 2016 after a police-involved incident during their daughter's trip to the dentist. Sadly, the drama hasn't stopped there as Jon accused Kate of "brainwashing" the kids against him. And with the once reality star dad seeking GoFundMe donations to help with his legal fees, heaven only knows how this story will end. Kate is now suing the father of her eight kids for $137,000 that puts a huge "to be continued" on this drama.


  • Britney Spears & Kevin Federline

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    Britney Spears and Kevin Federline
    Splash News

    It's hard to believe Britney Spears once lost custody of her children, but it is a part of her past. The pop star filed for divorce from Kevin Federline in 2006 (it was finalized a year later) that led to a controversial custody dispute -- including a four-hour standoff with police after Spears refused to give her two sons to her ex.

    Thankfully, things smoothed over between Britney and Kevin who have found a way to co-parent sons Sean, 11, and Jayden, 10 ... or so we thought.

    Kevin Federline wants more child support from Britney Spears amid her Vegas residency success that could have these two heading to court sooner than later.

  • Nicole Curtis & Shane Maguire

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    Rehab Addict star Nicole Curtis's custody battle with ex Shane Maguire has seemingly been very ... interesting, to say the least. The DIY Network star was accused of purposely breastfeeding the couple's 3-year-old son Harper to prevent Shane from seeing him. Add in a judge declaring Nicole has to allow Shane to have "make-up visitation time," the celeb mom attempting to deny her former flame additional parenting time, and Shane moving cross-country to be closer to Harper -- only to have Nicole and Harper moved to a different state -- and you have a bit of chaos.

  • Janet Jackson & Wissam Al Mana

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    Janet Jackson and Wissam Al Mana
    Splash News

    Things are getting pretty heated between Janet Jackson and her soon-to-be ex, billionaire Wissam Al Mana. Janet called the cops on Wissam recently, in fear of the well-being of their 1-year-old son Eissa. The singer apparently received a troubling phone call from her nanny who was "terrified" with Wissam's behavior -- prompting Janet to call the police. But as it turns out, the incident centered around access to WiFi (yes, really) that likely will have Wissam retaliating against his famous ex, especially since there were accusations of drug use. (Yikes.)

    Yeah, something tells us this is going to go downhill and fast.

  • Blac Chyna & Rob Kardashian

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    Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian
    Splash News

    Where do we start with these two? Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna have been involved in a pretty contentious custody battle for their 1-year-old daughter Dream. Rob reportedly has to pay $20,000 a month in child support -- money he allegedly doesn't have and looks to his sister to help him pay -- that could end if this Kardashian has his way. Word is Rob might be taking Blac Chyna to court after her Easter Day brawl at Six Flags. Blac and Rob's custody battle seems to get uglier by the minute. Here's hoping these two can learn to co-parent Dream in a healthier manner.

  • Mel B & Stephen Belafonte

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    Mel B and Stephen Belafonte
    Splash News

    Messy doesn't even begin to describe Mel B and Stephen Belafonte's custody situation. The former Spice Girl fought for sole custody of their 6-year-old daughter Madison -- winning a temporary restraining order amid claims Stephen physically abused her -- after discovering domestic violence allegations against Belafonte regarding his other child's mother. Stephen, who was married to Mel B for 10 years, fired back, accusing Mel of drug and alcohol abuse. And if that's not crazy enough, the America's Got Talent judge's custody battle made headlines again after Mel B accused Stephen of making her three kids watch "ISIS beheading" videos.

    What in the world is going on??


  • Mama June & Sugar Bear  

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    Mama June and Sugar Bear
    Splash News

    Ah, Mama June and Sugar Bear. These two have been at each other's throats since they ended their 10-year romance back in 2014. And judging by June's willingness to sue Sugar Bear for child support, and Sugar Bear ready to take her to court if need be over their 14-year-old daughter, Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, heaven only knows when someone will wave a peace flag. Given Honey Boo Boo ran away from Mama June's house to secretly spend time with her dad, we truly hope this situation gets better ... for everyone.

  • Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie

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    Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
    Splash News; Fern / Photoman / Splash News

    While Brad Pitt did tell GQ he and Angie were able to work together to sort out some custody-related issues, things (allegedly) haven't been super smooth. Aside from allegations Angelina had to "hand over" the kids to Brad at one point, it seems there could be issues honoring arrangements as Angelina reportedly changes visitations plans "abruptly." Given outlets like Us Weekly report Brad wants a "fully resolved" custody agreement, there likely is still work to be done.

  • Bethenny Frankel & Jason Hoppy

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    Jason Hoppy and Bethenny Frankel
    Splash News

    Anyone who watches the Real Housewives of New York City or the once reality show Bethenny Ever After knows Bethenny and her ex Jason Hoppy have had one of the saltiest, most contentious custody battles. Aside from their divorce taking four years to finalizing, Jason and Bethenny are at odds over their 8-year-old daughter, Brynn. Cops arrested Jason last year for "aggravated harassment in the first degree," because of an incident with Bethenny outside their daughter's school. (Yikes.) Bethenny reopened her divorce case not too long ago in an effort to fight for full custody of Brynn.

  • Jesse Williams & Aryn Drake-Lee

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    Jesse Williams and Aryn Drake-Lee
    Tom Meinelt / Splash News

    Paging Dr. Avery. All jokes aside, Jesse Williams's custody battle with his ex wife is no joking matter. The once couple made waves last year after Aryn Drake-Lee filed court documents against Jesse, alleging she needs an increase in her $50,000 a month child support for their two kids, daughter Sadie, 4, and son Maceo, 2 -- because she pays "100 [percent] of the kids' bills right now." Aryn also made some serious accusations against Williams in the past, claiming he threatened a neighbor, flaunts random women around their kids, and has deep anger issues. A judge, however, decided to grant Jesse joint physical custody of his children some might consider vindication.

    Jesse Williams is currently fighting against his ex-wife's request for more money, alleging she "exaggerates many of our expenses and the children's needs, while also lumping her personal expenses as expenses for the children" in court documents.

  • Halle Berry & Gabriel Aubry

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    Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry
    London Entertainment/ Splash News

    This Academy Award winner and her ex-boyfriend haven't had the best relationship when it comes to co-parenting their now 10-year-old daughter, Nahla. In addition to Halle Berry paying $16,000 a month in child support to Gabriel Aubry -- and her alleged attempt to slash the child support payment by 75 percent -- these two have had years of back-and-forth drama, including a 2012 incident between Gabriel and Olivier Martinez, Halle's ex-fiancé, that resulted with Nahla's dad suffering from a broken rib and head injuries. (Yikes.) There's also been reports of Gabriel calling Halle the N-word that's beyond disgusting.

  • Tyrese Gibson & Norma Gibson

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    A post shared by TYRESE (@tyrese) on

    A judge awarded Tyrese joint custody of his 10-year-old daughter Shayla after and arduous battle with his ex-wife, Norman Gibson, who alleged child abuse. (The same judge also denied Norma her request for a permanent restraining order.) "Today is not a win for me, it is a win for our daughter, Shayla," the Fast and Furious actor wrote in a heartfelt Instagram post. "Who unfortunately has been exposed to tension, private and public embarrassment and growing up and feeling torn between 2 parents who are no longer married."

    Tyrese temporarily lost custody back in September after his ex-wife accused the singer-turned-actor of abusing their daughter during an August 19 incident -- resulting in an investigation from the LA Children and Family services that was later closed with no criminal charges. He's currently seeking primary custody of his daughter Shayla.

  • Jennifer Hudson & David Otunga

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    David Otunga and Jennifer Hudson
    Splash News

    Jennifer Hudson's split from David Otunga might've come as a shock, but what was even more surprising is that the Grammy award winner received a temporary restraining order against her fiancé of nearly a decade. Many became concerned about the well-being of both Jennifer and her 8-year-old son, David Otunga, Jr. Last November, a judge granted David temporary custody of the couple's son that will likely make future custody talks a very uphill battle.

  • Ciara & Future

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    Ciara and Future
    Splash News

    As adorable as Ciara and hubby Russell Wilson's family is, life isn't always smiles and laughs for this R&B songstress. Ciara and her ex-fiancé Future -- who reportedly cheated on her while she was pregnant with their now 4-year-old son, Future, Jr. -- have somewhat of a dramatic relationship when it comes to custody-related issues. Ciara recently called out Future for skipping his visitation days with his son -- resulting in the 4-year-old having "breakdowns at school" due to frequent traveling in attempts to see his dad. (So sad.) If true, he's obviously missing out considering on all the fun Future, Jr. has with his stepdad Russell.

  • Kelly Rutherford & Daniel Giersch

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    Kelly Rutherford
    Gregory P. Mango/Splash News

    While many of us remember Kelly as Lily van der Woodsen on Gossip Girl, it's hard not to forget her custody battle with her ex, Daniel Giersch. The two were married for six years and had two children who found themselves at the center of an international fight. Whispers of tension surfaced -- including Kelly allegedly not telling Daniel about the birth of his second child -- before this pair called it quits. But when they did, all bets were off.

    Both Kelly and Daniel fought for sole custody, with a California judge ruling the children had to live with their dad overseas as "Daniel (who lives in France) has facilitated the relationship of the children with Kelly ... and Kelly simply has not done so," TMZ reported. Kelly reportedly defied court orders for her kids to go into her ex's custody -- fighting to keep them in the US -- that only resulted in Daniel getting full custody of Hermés and Helena, now 11 and 9, and Kelly "only permitted to 'exercise her visiting and accommodation rights exclusively in France and Monaco.'"

    (Yikes.)

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