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Dennis Hopper’s Widow Fights|His Family Over Actor’s Estate

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The late Dennis Hopper's estranged wife sued his family and estate for $1 million in child support, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid judgments and personal expenses. Victoria Duffy Hopper claims her prenuptial agreement is invalid because Hopper had "berated, belittled, threatened and intimated" her into signing it. And she claims that while her husband was dying of prostate cancer, his adult children persuaded him, against his wishes, to change his will and divorce her.

Victoria Hopper filed two complaints in Superior Court. She and Dennis Hopper had been married for 14 years before he died in May 2010. They had one child together, who will be 8 this month.

Victoria Hopper claims that just before their high-profile wedding ceremony in 1996, Dennis Hopper insisted they sign a premarital agreement, which she did after he "berated, belittled, threatened and intimidated" her.

She claims that she suffered "hours of threats, sleep deprivation, and intimidation from Dennis Hopper" before conceding to the agreement, and that he even threatened to "publicly destroy her" if she did not sign it.

"Dennis Hopper had a history and reputation for spousal abuse, violent and/or erratic behavior, but this was one of the first times such behavior had been directed at Victoria," one of the complaints states.

She claims her attorney dumped her after she signed the agreement because he did not approve of the "draconian and unconscionable agreement which provided Victoria with no security in the event of a divorce."

In 2009 Dennis Hopper learned that his prostate cancer - from which he had suffered for 10 years - was terminal.

When he told his adult children, his daughter Marian, from a previous relationship, responded by saying, "Victoria is stealing my inheritance," according to the widow's complaint.

"Dennis and his adult children, near the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010, when they were aware that Dennis was dying from prostate cancer, participated in a campaign to terrorize Victoria and force her to move so that she would not be living with Dennis at the time Dennis died," the complaint states.

Victoria Hopper claims that Marian had her dying father change the estate plan and persuaded him to start divorce proceedings.

In the second complaint, Victoria Hopper states: "By December 2009, decedent complained to multiple people that he was under duress from his adult children, who were living with them in the family compound, to file for divorce, and that he did not want to divorce Victoria."

Victoria Hopper says she never moved away from the Hopper compound, despite what Hopper's adult children have claimed.

She claims that her late husband earned all their money, and insisted that she did not attend school, get a job or start a business.

"In essence, Dennis insisted that his wife be dependent on him and for him to be the focus of Victoria's life," the first complaint states.

She claims that just days after her husband died, a divorce court ordered him to pay her $150,000, and $50,000 in accountant fees, plus $4,000 per month in child support.

She says in her second complaint that the estate has not paid up, and that a $12,000 check issued from its account bounced.

Her first complaint names as defendants Marin Hopper, Alex Hitz and Wayne Mejia, as co-trustees of the Dennis Hopper Trust created March 31, 1998, and Does 1-50.

The second complaint includes the identical defendants, plus Marin Hopper as an individual defendant.

Victoria Hopper enforcement of judgments, $1 million paid in advance for child support, medical expenses and damages for unjust enrichment, breach of contract, trespass, conversion, and tortious interference.

She also asks the court to deem the premarital contract invalid, or alternatively, to award her at least $250,000 in life insurance money and 25 percent of her late husband's estate.

Her lead counsel is Justin Gold with Oldman, Cooley, Sallus, Gold, Birnberg & Coleman, of Encino.


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