March 27, 2012 at 8:28 AM ET
Four years of fighting with your ex can take a toll on anyone, and while 58-year-old Christie Brinkley looks pretty terrific, she's also worn out from her ongoing legal battles with her ex, Peter Cook. She sat down with TODAY's Matt Lauer Tuesday in the hopes of talking both divorce and her return next week to Broadway's "Chicago," but ... but things didn't turn out quite as planned.
Instead, they started out and continued talking almost exclusively about Brinkley vs. Cook, with Brinkley tearing up and choking on her words.
"I have turned the other cheek," she said, adding that her former spouse of 12 years has repeatedly taken to the airwaves to air their dirty laundry. "There's not one quote from me, anywhere. This is the first time I've ever been on a show (to talk about the split)."
She revealed that Cook pays $600 per month for each of their children, though he has been quoted as saying he pays "double" what's required by courts. "It's a very minimal amount of money," she said. "And it wasn't (about) the money. I have hesitated to do anything with the court because he actually likes the publicity and he likes going to court."
While Cook has called Brinkley a "narcissistic egomaniac," Brinkley seems to feel much the same way about him: "I have never taken part in name calling. The only thing I've ever said ... at the end of that (second) trial I said as a public service, 'Google "divorcing a narcissist."' ... I'm not alone. I've gotten hundreds of letters from women that are going through this. It's not easy."
Lauer was concerned about the impact all of this back-and-forth between the parents was having on their teenaged children; Brinkley returned that there should be "legislation that protects families from a spouse who has been diagnosed by the court-appointed forensic psychiatrist as a bona fide malignant or extreme narcissist.... This is something the courts need to come to grips with."
But as time wound down, and there was little chat of "Chicago," Brinkley lost her own grip. While telling Lauer she has not been in touch with Cook for two years, though "he continues to contact me," she said she asked a judge to "please make this stop, protect my right to peace. I just want peace for my family."
Tears welling in her eyes, Brinkley said, "I just want peace. And every time I have any joy or any kind of success in anything, he has to try to destroy it."
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