LOS ANGELES (CN) — One of soul legend Barry White's daughters who was born out of wedlock sued White's widow and the family trust after she stopped receiving money and invitations to family gatherings.
Denise White, born in 1962 as Denise Donnell to Barry White and Gurtha Allen, did not discover who her biological father was until 1988. Then, with White's help, she changed her name and was treated just like his other children, according to the complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on July 27.
Denise says her father let her use his homes and cars, and was hired to assist him. When the singer died of kidney failure at age 53 in 2003, Denise says she kept receiving money and privileges — which all stopped in 2013.
According to the complaint, when White died Denise discovered that his will was written eight years before they had met and she was not included in it. When she told White's estranged widow Glodean White that she planned to secure her rights as an omitted child, she was told that everyone knew she was Barry White's daughter and that she didn't need to worry about securing her rights since she would receive her share of the estate just like the other beneficiaries, the equivalent of a judicial determination that she was an omitted child, according to the complaint.
"The promise was clear and unambiguous," Denise says in her complaint.
Barry White left behind two ex-wives, nine children and a girlfriend when he died, and his death is highlighted in several stories online about how important it is to keep your will up to date.
Soon after his death, a fight over his estate ensued. His girlfriend Katherine Denton had given birth to a daughter four weeks before he died and claimed it was his. Denton also claimed that she was owed money and personal items that Barry White had promised to her. Paternity tests ultimately showed that the baby wasn't Barry White's and Denton lost her case in court.
Denise White is being represented by Donna Jones in Long Beach and Mark Plummer in Yorba Linda, who say they have not heard back from any of the White family or an attorney.
"It looked like they were just trying to string our client along until her time to seek a legal remedy ran out," Plummer said.
The complaint lists dozens of checks written to Denise White from the White Family Trust over the past 10 years. Most were either for $1,200 or $1,500, but some were much larger. On Feb. 5, 2007, she received $100,000. On Jan. 29, 2008 there is a check for $64,791 and another for $42,383 six months later. In all, she received more than $350,000.
Then, the complaint states, she was suddenly cut off. Because the checks arrived irregularly, she didn't notice until Barry White's birthday arrived and she was not invited to the annual family party on a rented yacht.
Denise seeks an accounting of the singer's estate and its earnings, and damages according to proof.
The White family could not be reached for comment.
Subscribe to Closing Arguments
Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.