A bitter custody feud that saw Alec Baldwin lash out at his 11-year-old daughter in a leaked voicemail got quiet Friday when a court commissioner ordered lawyers not to talk about the case and closed a hearing to the public moments after it began.
Superior Court Commissioner Maren Nelson said media coverage of the dispute between Baldwin and Kim Basinger had been “emotionally traumatic” for their daughter, Ireland.
“This is only about the well-being of the child and nothing else,” Nelson said.
After the daylong hearing, Neal Hersh, a lawyer for Basinger, said the commissioner reached a decision, but the attorney would not disclose details.
“We are very, very pleased with the judge’s thoughtful decision about what happened here today,” Hersh said outside court.
Attorney Vicki Greene, who represents Baldwin, declined to comment about the ruling. Earlier, she refused to discuss reports that the hearing dealt with a change in Baldwin’s visitation rights after he left the phone message for his daughter.
She did say a June 5 hearing would look at who leaked the tape to the media.
“It’s not appropriate, and it’s not in Ireland’s best interest, and it will be with her for the rest of her life,” Greene said, referring to the leaking of the voicemail.
Basinger attended the hearing, wearing black-rimmed glasses, a gray jacket and black blouse. Attorney Dianna Gould-Saltman also attended after being appointed to represent Ireland.
Baldwin was not in court. Greene said he feared any comments he might make would be leaked to the media.
Baldwin and Basinger divorced in 2002.
In his message, Baldwin, 49, can be heard berating his daughter as a “rude, thoughtless little pig” for missing his call. A tape of the message was obtained by celebrity Web site TMZ.com and broadcast worldwide.
Baldwin has spent the past few weeks trying to explain why he lashed out.
The actor blamed his former wife for leaking the tape, which she denied. He also suggested his comments were meant for Basinger, 53, not their daughter.
As Friday’s proceedings went on, about a dozen people from a parental rights group stood outside holding signs in support of Baldwin.
Greene said in a court filing that public disclosure of the voicemail violated a court order to keep the proceedings confidential.
The tape is only the latest issue in the custody dispute.
In October, Nelson denied a motion by Basinger’s attorney to dismiss 12 misdemeanor counts of contempt against the actress. Basinger, who has pleaded not guilty, is accused of failing to heed court orders and faces up to 60 days in jail if convicted of all counts.
In November 2005, Baldwin and Basinger traded accusations of emotional instability as they argued over their rights to telephone and e-mail time with their daughter.