A bitter family feud is brewing between the late Larry King’s estranged seventh wife Shawn and the TV icon’s children over his multi-million dollar will.
King’s eldest son, Larry Jr., 59, was trying to take control over who gets what in his wealthy dad’s will Tuesday by asking a judge to appoint him ’special administrator’ of the estate.
But hours before a secret ex-parte hearing scheduled for today at Los Angeles Superior Court, Shawn, 61, filed blistering court documents opposing Junior’s move and challenging the hand-written will – changed in 2019, two months after King filed to divorce her – that leaves her out and gives $2 million to his kids.
King’s net worth was estimated to be $144 million. His $2 million estate does not reflect any assets that were held in trusts.
In her new court papers found by DailyMail.com, Shawn – who insists that Larry Sr. wrote a will in 2015 naming her sole executor of his estate – claims her husband didn’t even know of King Jr’s existence until Junior was in his 30s.
Her legal team also questions whether King was ever actually married to Junior’s mother and declare that Shawn could demand that Junior give back $266,000 worth of gifts his father gave him.
Today, King Jr’s attorney, Jeffrey Cohen, hit back, telling DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview, ‘The opposition from Shawn is replete with innuendo and allegations that are unsupported.
‘Larry’s holographic (hand-written) will is a true record of his intent to benefit all his children equally.
‘We want to try this case before a judge and not in the media.’
Shawn King, left, insists that Larry Sr. wrote a will in 2015 naming her sole executor
King’s eldest son, Larry Jr. (right), 59, was trying to take control over who gets what in his wealthy dad’s will Tuesday by asking a judge to appoint him ’special administrator’ of the estate. Also pictured are King’s son’s Cannon (left) and Chance (second from right)
In his legal documents supporting today’s court action, King Jr. included what he claims is his father’s rightful ‘Last Will and Testament’ , dated October 17 2019, which briefly reads, ‘It should replace all previous writings (shown above)
In his legal documents supporting today’s court action, King Jr. included what he claims is his father’s rightful ‘Last Will and Testament’ , dated October 17 2019, which briefly reads, ‘It should replace all previous writings.
‘In the event of my death, any day after the above date I want 100% (placed above illegible cross-out) of my funds to be divided equally among my children Andy, Chaia, Lary Jr., Chance and Cannon’.
Andy and Chaia died within 23 days of each other in 2020, less than a year after that will was written. Chance, 21, and Cannon,20, are King’s children by Shawn.
King Jr. insisted in his written declaration to the court that it’s ‘urgent’ he be appointed special administrator, because, since his father’s death at 87 on January 23, his businesses, LK Productions and Larry King Enterprises ‘are now stalled,’ leaving employees and bills unpaid.
He also claimed that his father’s ‘publicity, personality, likeness and image rights are being wrongfully infringed via online marketing and purported product sponsorship.
‘The importance of appointing a Special Administrator having the authority to issue cease and desist letters cannot be overstated.’
Shawn, 61, filed blistering court documents opposing Junior’s move and challenging the hand-written will – changed in 2019, two months after King filed to divorce her – that leaves her out and gives $2 million to his kids
In her new court papers found by DailyMail.com, Shawn – who insists that Larry Sr. wrote a will in 2015 naming her sole executor of his estate – claims her husband didn’t even know of King Jr’s existence until Junior was in his 30s
Her legal team also questions whether King was ever actually married to Junior’s mother and declare that Shawn could demand that Junior give back $266,000 worth of gifts his father gave him
King Jr’s (left) attorney, Jeffrey Cohen, hit back, telling DailyMail.com, ‘The opposition from Shawn is replete with innuendo and allegations that are unsupported’
In her scathing opposition King Jr.s ex-parte, Shawn said that she and her estranged husband were ‘still speaking,’ despite their pending divorce, which he filed after 22 years of marriage.
‘Larry was not pushing the divorce, and was generally non responsive and refused to participate in the divorce proceedings,’ wrote her attorney, Michael Starler.
‘He gave no indication that he actually wanted to pursue the divorce (other than the initial filing of the petition for dissolution)…..After the filing, the parties had gone to counseling, were still speaking and reconciliation remained possible until Larry’s health conditions made that impractical.
‘During the term of the marriage, Shawn was actively involved in Larry’s career and businesses, was a partner in many of then, and continued that role up to Larry’s death, and currently. Shawn is the one with the most knowledge of Larry’s businesses, assets and wishes.
‘In sharp contract to Shawn’s role in Larry’s life, Petitioner, although named “Larry King Jr.” by his mother, was unknown to Larry until Petitioner was well into his 30s.
‘While it is not clear if Larry was actually married to Petitioner’s mother, Larry and petitioner’s mother parted (divorced?) before Petitioner was born….
‘Petitioner has never been involved in Larry’s career or business and it would be highly inappropriate to place him in a position of representing Larry’s estate.’
Larry is pictured above in an Instagram post with all five of his children. From left to right: Larry King Jr., Cannon King, Chance King, Andy King and Chaia KingAndy, Larry Jr. Chaia, Larry, and Shawn King with. Andy and Chaia both died in 2020
Shawn said that Junior’s claim that it’s urgent to appoint a special to take care of LK Productions and Larry King Enterprises ‘is a totally contrived emergency’, insisting that the two companies are part of the King Family Trust, of which she is the sole trustee.
Her attorney added that the same is true of King’s name and likeness rights – they are ‘assets of the King Family Trust…and gifted to Shawn under the Trust.’
As to King’s handwritten ‘new’ will, lawyer Starler said, ‘Larry executed a formal will on July 7, 2015 nominating his wife Shawn as executor of his estate.
‘The holographic will does not nominate an executor but simply purports to to change the disposition of assets …….
‘The holographic will states that “it should replace all previous writings. That statement is not sufficient to revoke the prior will. Further, the holographic will violates the terms of two separate post-nuptial…agreements entered into between Shawn and Larry and therefore has no legal effect whatsoever.’
Larry and Shawn King are seen in 1997, the year they married, above
Chance King (right) posts a photo on Instagram on Feb. 13, 2020 with brother Cannon (top) and father Larry King with caption: So grateful to have these guys in my life! Everyday is a blessing
Larry King with his wife Shawn and five children at a surprise 80th birthday in 2013
Startler also suggested that in his ailing last few years, King Sr. may have been vulnerable to outside pressure.
‘During the last few years of his life, Larry was ,highly susceptible to outside influences and at the time he purportedly executed the holographic will, was of questionable mental capacity, having recently suffered a stroke and about to undergo a medical procedure (and possibly already under the influence of pre-operative medication).’
Shawn’s legal team content in the new documents that King Jr. is ‘not qualified’ to be special administrator to the estate because he had been the recipient of ‘improper gifts – totaling $266,261 between 2013 and 2018 – paid for from a ‘secret account’ King Sr. kept ‘to make gifts to various individuals from community property, without Shawn’s knowledge.
‘As these gifts (and possibly others) were made with community property assets, Shawn is entitled to declare these gifts void and recover 50% or their value, or possibly 100% of the value of the gifts.’
The judge in today’s closed hearing – held by phone – is expected to issue a written ruling later on Junior’s application to be appointed special administrator and the validity of the hand-written will.
THE HIGH-PROFILE ROMANCES AND UNSUCCESSFUL MARRIAGES OF LARRY KING
Larry was known for his string of high-profile romances and unsuccessful marriages, eight in total to seven different women.
In his 1982 autobiography, Larry King described himself as a great date, but a lousy husband. Part of his problem was due to an abiding need to be seen with models and celebrated beauties.
1. FREDA MILLER (1952-1953; annulled)
King’s first walk down the aisle was with his high school sweetheart Freda Miller at 18, but the union was annulled the following year at the behest of her parents.
2. ANNETTE KAYE (1961-1961)
King then married his second wife, Annette Kaye in 1961 but they separated within months.
Their relationship was brief but fruitful and resulted in a son that King didn’t meet until 33 years later.
‘I knew there was a Larry King Jr out there, I’d heard that, but I didn’t know he was mine. The marriage was very short and she told me if it’s a boy, I’m gonna name him Larry King Jr,’ explained the elder King to The New York Post in 2009. ‘Then I never heard again.’
3. ALENE AKINS (1961-1963) (1967-1972)
Larry King (right) stands with Playboy Bunny Alene Akins
Shortly after his relationship with Kaye was over, King went on to marry Playboy Bunny Alene Akins with whom he adopted a son named Andy and had a daughter named Chaia.
King and Akins separated after a couple of years, only to remarry again in 1967 and divorce for a second, final time in 1972.
4. MARY ‘MICKEY’ SUTPHIN
During his four-year separation from Akins, King found time to wed his fourth wife, Mary ‘Mickey’ Sutphin, with whom he had a daughter named Kelly.
Kelly was later formally adopted by Sutphin’s second husband.
5. SHARON LEPORE (1976-1983)
Larry King and fifth wife Sharon Lepore
In 1976 King tied the knot with a former math teacher and production assistant named Sharon Lepore.
The union lasted seven years, making it King’s second longest marriage to date.
Two years into the marriage King declared bankruptcy, owing more than $300,000. He and Sharon were divorced in 1982.
6. JULIE ALEXANDER (1989-1992)
Larry King is pictured with his sixth wife (and seventh marriage), Julie Alexander in 1990
He remained single for a long stretch of six years between his sixth and seventh marriage to Philadelphia-based businesswoman Julie Alexander.
In the summer of 1989, King met Julie and proposed on the very first date. They married three months later, were separated by 1990 and formally divorced two years later. ‘I love being in love,’ he told Anderson Cooper in a 2009 interview.
7. SHAWN SOUTHWICK (1997-2019)
King was last married to Shawn Southwick, with whom he shares two sons, Chance and Cannon
In 1997, King married his seventh and last wife, Shawn Southwick – a singer, actress and TV host that was 26-years his junior.
The couple married in a Los Angeles hospital room three days before King underwent heart surgery to clear a clogged blood vessel. They welcomed two sons, Chance, born March 1999, and Cannon, born May 2000.
On their tenth wedding anniversary in 2007, Southwick joked that she was ‘the only wife to have lasted into the two digits.’ Three years later, the couple filed for divorce in 2010 after Shawn had an affair with her son’s much younger baseball coach. At the same time, rumors were swirling that King was having an affair with Shawn’s sister, which both parties vehemently denied.
The couple reconciled but eventually called it quits after 22-years of marriage in August 2019. Southwick said she was ‘totally blind sighted’ by King’s bombshell court filing.