The Oscar-winning songwriter behind “You Light Up My Life” says his former fiancee did just that to him — but hid the fact that she already was married.
Joseph Brooks filed a fraud suit Tuesday seeking at least $2 million in damages and the return of a $550,000 bank account, a $60,000 engagement ring and other expensive presents he says he gave to Joaly Gomez.
The lawsuit marks a new legal entanglement for Brooks, who pleaded not guilty in June to raping 11 women seeking film roles. A court date in the rape case has been set for Oct. 20.
According to the lawsuit, the 71-year-old Brooks met the then-21-year-old Gomez more than 18 months ago and grew close to her after suffering a stroke in April 2008. It’s unclear how they met; his lawyer didn’t return a telephone call, and no telephone number or attorney for Gomez could be found.
Told she was a student with no money, Brooks treated her to more than $1 million worth of designer clothes and jewelry, the lawsuit said. After professing his love and proposing in May, he followed up with the 1.38-carat diamond-and-platinum Tiffany’s ring, about $50,000 worth of dental work, a $70,000 Mercedes-Benz and more than $1 million in deposits into her bank account, the suit said. Gomez later returned about half the money but kept $550,000, according to the lawsuit.
The “complete shock” came Oct. 2, when he peered in her open handbag and discovered a 2007 marriage certificate listing her as another man’s wife, the suit said. She had concealed the marriage “so that he would continue to shower her with gifts, attention, propose to her” and spend money on her, the suit said.
Brooks won the 1977 Oscar for best original song for the Debby Boone ballad “You Light Up My Life.” He also wrote and directed the romantic comedy of the same name. It concerns a comedian who dreams of being an actress and has a one-night stand with a director.