The recent separation of Christie Brinkley and her fourth husband, Peter Cook, exploded in scandal Monday when a 19-year-old former employee of Cook’s claimed he seduced her with lavish gifts while married to Brinkley.
Brinkley, the 52-year-old supermodel, last week announced through her publicist Elliot Mintz that she and Cook had separated. They married in 1996 and have a daughter.
On Monday, 19-year-old Diana Bianchi emerged in press reports as a central figure in the separation.
Bianchi’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina, claimed that she will be a “vital witness” should the couple pursue divorce.
A message left for Cook at his Long Island architecture firm was not immediately returned Monday. Mintz said he had no comment on Bianchi’s claims.
Tacopina told The Associated Press that Cook “first lured this girl into his web by employing her ... and then showering her with gifts.” He described their relationship as consensual, but claimed Cook’s role as employer and his gifts of a car, money and jewelry could possibly constitute sexual harassment.
Tacopina said Cook hired Bianchi, an aspiring singer, as an assistant in May 2005 after meeting her at a local toy store where she worked. Bianchi quit Cook’s firm within a few months because, Tacopina said, she felt uncomfortable.
“Being put in the position that (Cook) put her in, which was to be financially dependent on him ... as long as she provided sex — that’s the relationship that the law frowns upon when you’re an employer and an employee.”
Tacopina said he had no immediate plans for a law suit.
Brinkley was previously married to Frenchman Jean-Francois Allaux, singer Billy Joel and developer Richard Taubman.