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Carol Burnett seeking legal guardianship of grandson due to daughter's addiction issues

The comedy legend has petitioned a court for legal guardianship of her teen grandson due to her daughter's "severe substance abuse and addiction issues."
/ Source: TODAY

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or go to for additional resources.

Carol Burnett and her husband have filed court documents seeking legal guardianship of her teen grandson due to what they say are her daughter's drug addiction issues.

Burnett and her husband, Brian Miller, filed a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court asking for legal guardianship of their 13-year-old grandson, Dylan Hamilton-West. The boy is the son of Burnett's daughter Erin Hamilton with her ex-husband, Tony West.

Hamilton, 52, is one of Burnett's three daughters with ex-husband Joe Hamilton, whom she divorced in 1984.

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Carol Burnett and her husband have filed for guardianship of their 14-year-old grandson due to her daughter's issues with substance abuse. Bauer-Griffin / GC Images

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"Due to addiction issues and other circumstances that my daughter, Erin, has been struggling with impacting her immediate family dynamic, my husband and I have petitioned the court to be appointed legal guardian of my 14-year-old grandson," Burnett said in a statement to TODAY. (In the court filing, the boy's age is given as 13.)

"Guardianship will be for oversight purposes concerning his health, education and welfare and not intended to deny him nor the parents proper visitation with one another. We look forward to recovery being the next stepping stone towards normalization and ask for privacy at this time to allow that process to occur."

Burnett, 87, said in court documents obtained by NBC News that her daughter has "suffered from severe substance abuse and addiction issues" for much of her adult life and has been in and out of rehabilitation and institutionalized eight times in the past 19 years. She and West were married for four months before getting divorced in 2006, according to the court filing.

The comedy legend also said in the filing that her daughter sent multiple text messages on July 15 to Dylan and her adult son, Zachary Carlson, in which she threatened suicide. Dylan told his father, who called the Los Angeles Police Department, which conducted a wellness check on Erin and placed her on a 51/50 hold for "suicidality and drug use."

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Carol Burnett says her daughter, Erin Hamilton, has been struggling with substance abuse issues for the past 19 years. Ron Galella Collection via Getty

Erin Hamilton was taken to two hospitals for treatment and released on July 24, according to the filing.

Burnett and Miller added in their petition that Tony West checked himself into a rehab center in Los Angeles on Aug. 7 and "is unable to provide financial support for Dylan."

"Dylan’s living environment has long been unstable, unpredictable, and unhealthy for a child," the couple said in the filing.

The California Department of Children and Family Services also conducted investigations in 2018 and 2019 into Dylan's living conditions, according to the court documents.

In one instance, Burnett said she took him on a trip to Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains while his mother was at a drug abuse treatment facility. Burnett said he began to cry and begged her not to take him to his father's house when it was time to go home.

West was later awarded physical custody of his son in November 2019, and Hamilton was allowed to see him in monitored visits. The boy was living with West at the beginning of the pandemic but moved in with a friend's family in Ojai, California, when West checked into rehab, according to the filing.

"This is not a long-term solution, however, and Dylan needs responsible adults in place to make decisions regarding his housing, education, health and welfare needs," Burnett said in the documents.

A hearing on the petition for guardianship is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2021.

The petition for custody comes after Burnett opened up in AARP the Magazine's August and September 2020 issue about her late daughter, Carrie Hamilton, who also experienced substance abuse issues.

Burnett said Carrie was able to overcome her addiction issues as a teen, and the two had a strong bond before Carrie died at 38 in 2002 from pneumonia as a complication of lung cancer.

"My daughter Carrie got into drugs. In that situation, don’t be their best friend. When we got her into a third rehab, oh, she hated my guts! You have to love them enough to let them hate you," she told the magazine.

"She got sober before her 18th birthday, and we had a good 20 years — we were joined at the hip for a while there. Carrie died of cancer at 38. But in the hospital she said, 'Every day I wake up and decide today I’m going to love my life.' And that was her mantra."