22 OCTOBER 2003
Liza Minelli is being sued by her estranged husband, David Gest, for $10 million. The producer claims Liza beat him up in a series of alcohol-fuelled rages, causing permanent neurological damage.
According to legal papers filed at the Manhattan Supreme Court, the assaults began before their wedding last year. In one incident the performer, who has a history of alcohol and drug problems, is said to have drunk two bottles of vodka before "beating the plaintiff about the face and head with her fists without relenting".
Gest says he has suffered vertigo, nausea, hypertension and insomnia as a result of the attacks. The 50-year-old also claims that he required multiple hospitalisations and takes 11 prescription medications to treat the injuries. According to his lawyer, he is now staying at a rehabilitation centre in Honolulu.
In another incident, at the Connaught hotel in London, Liza allegedly attacked her husband before telling a security guard who intervened: "I have no friends. My husband is using me to be a star. I am the star."
Liza and David's wedding in March 2002 was one of the most high profile society gatherings of the year. Michael Jackson served as best man and carried the bride's train, while Elizabeth Taylor was maid of honour. Guests at the Fifth Avenue event included Michael Douglas, Anthony Hopkins, David Hasselhoff and Elton John. The pair separated in July this year, however.