Friday 15 April 2011

Tricia Walsh: Let's divorce on YouTube!

Update 2012-07-26: The links in this article were live at the time of the writing. Some of these links have now been taken off-line.

You bitch. You bastard. It's an emotionally charged time. Do we risk saying things we normally would not say? Do we need a mediator or a counsellor to reign us in, calm us down, and get us back to talking instead of yelling? Maybe looking at what other people do may just give us a better idea of what we ourselves should be doing.

Tricia Walsh (aka Tricia Walsh-Smith) was born in 1956. Her C.V. describes her as a British playwright and actress. Her career started in commercials and moved into British television including several series. She wrote a play called "Bonkers" which premiered in London in 1987 and since then has gone on to other things including music videos and a couple of musicals. She has now written her first book.

Her personal life is summarized by Wikipedia: While working as a Playboy Bunny at a Playboy Club on London's Park Lane, she met her first husband John Obertelli, with whom she had a son. The stormy marriage ended in divorce. She had a brief second marriage to American businessman Jerald Arnold. She met her 3rd husband, Philip Smith, at a Park Avenue wedding reception in 1995. The two married in New York City in 1999. A divorce was granted at Philip Smith's request in July 2008.

This is the story not so much of the divorce of Philip Smith and Tricia Walsh, but what Tricia did as an attempt to get the upper hand in the proceedings to break their prenuptial agreement.

Philip Smith is the president of The Shubert Organization which owns and operates 17 Broadway theatres in New York City, one off-Broadway theatre, three theatres in other cities, plus a ticketing company handling the tickets for 70 theatres. He is 25 years older than Tricia. In 1999, Tricia was 43 and Philip was 68.

Before marrying Tricia, he had her sign a prenup which said that she waved rights to anything he earned during their marriage. NY Mag added: Philip reserved the right to chuck her out with 30 days’ notice upon the filing of a divorce action, even if the divorce—in which she’d been guaranteed $750,000—never went through. She imagined Philip was worried she’d run off with a younger man. He seemed so grateful; he would never leave her.

It is a curious part of the story that during their courtship, from 1995 to 1999, Philip seems to have been affectionate with Tricia but never had sex with her. NY Mag: But after the marriage, “Philip never laid a hand on me again,” she says. Except for that time the following January, when she claims they had sex in Palm Beach. - Why did Philip marry Tricia? It's an interesting question, but then again, that really isn't the point of this article.

The relationship deteriorated over the years. Philip apparently filed for divorce in October 2007, but Tricia was only served with papers in March 2008. On April 10, 2008, Tricia posted a video on YouTube shot in their apartment during which she "tells all" about her husband including the prenup, being evicted from "her home", the absence of sex in their relationship, and her finding a stash of Viagra, pornography and condoms. During the video, she phones her husband's office and asks her husband's secretary what she should do with the stash.

Update 2012-07-26: The following video published by Tricia Walsh herself is currently marked as private and not available for public viewing. This was viewable at the time of the writing of the article. I have no idea if some legal action was taken to have Ms. Walsh take it down.

Uploaded on Jun 2, 2008 by Mary Allen
Tricia Walsh Smith - The video that started it all!
[Tricia Walsh-Smith took down her video. I found this copy]
3,891,557 views: 2,615 likes; 2,770 dislikes
[The camera pans in on a picture of Philip Smith hanging on the wall then the words "Mean, Bad Husband" appear on the screen underneath the photo. I burst out

Fox News - Apr 18/2008
Legal implications of "YouTube Divorce" Tricia Walsh Smith
Tricia Walsh Smith's YouTube video rant as discussed on Kelly's Court. Megyn Kelly, a former prosecutor, has criminal defense attorneys Jonna Spilbor and Arthur Aidala contemplating legal implications of the video accusations aired on YouTube where a soon to be ex-wife of Philip Smith unloads all her dirty laundry on him.
[Some interesting statements made:
Jonna Spilbor: This is an act of desperation not defamation.
Megyn Kelly: Does a spouse have a right to privacy in a marriage and after a marriage?
Jonna Spilbor: My advice to Tricia: The best revenge is living well. Get off YouTube.]

Divorce Granted
On July 21, 2008 a Manhattan judge awarded Philip Smith a divorce from Tricia Walsh on the grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment. The Judge, Harold Beeler, blasted Walsh for her YouTube video stunt, which he called "a calculated and callous campaign to embarrass and humiliate her husband" and to pressure him into settling the divorce case on more favorable terms than were stated in their prenuptial agreement. "She has attempted to turn the life of her husband into a soap opera by directing, writing, acting in and producing a melodrama," the judge said.

Judge Beeler also ruled that the prenuptial agreement, signed three weeks before the couple's 1999 wedding, was valid. Per that agreement, Walsh must leave the Park Avenue apartment the couple shared within 30 days and that Philip Smith, president of the Shubert Organization, the largest theater owner on Broadway, must pay her $750,000.

Walsh left the Manhattan apartment on July 6, having received the $750,000 payment at the threshold. Her attorneys were granted leave to appeal August 11, 2008, and an appeal was filed June 5, 2009, within the statutory time limit. The "arguments" were heard in Manhattan's Supreme court on the 29th of September, 2009. (Wikipedia)

Criticism of Tricia Walsh
Some people did not look too kindly on Ms. Walsh's "stunt".

The Register - July 22/2088
Divorce for shouty YouTube wife:
Belligerent blonde Broadway banshee blasted by beak By Sarah Bee
Tricia Walsh-Smith attained the kind of internet infamy previously only afforded to dramatic prairie dogs with her petulant marriage mitherings... [In the video] The actress, displaying the full range of emotions Botox allows, surprisingly did herself no favours by presenting herself to the world as a victim... According to Tricia's official website, the brave lady has "made an indelible impact on pop culture and women everywhere". We hereby petition for her to be deported from the gender, which has problems enough as it is.

MSNBC - Apr 15/2008
Angry wife tries divorce-by-YouTube tactic By Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press
"This is absolutely a new step, and I think it's scary," said Bonnie Rabin, a divorce lawyer who has handled high-profile cases. "People used to worry about getting on Page Six (the gossip page of the New York Post.) But this? It brings the concept of humiliation to a whole new level."

ABC News - Apr 21/2008
Mr. & Mrs. Smith's Divorce Goes to 'YouTube' by By Imaeyen Ibanga
"It really has brought everything to a new low," said Wendy Jaffe, author of "The Divorce Lawyer's Guide to Staying Married." "It's such a public way to humiliate somebody. This kind of public purging isn't new to broken relationships," Jaffe said. "The feelings she has and how angry she is — that's been going on for hundreds of years. In the old days you wrote an angry letter and stuck it in your drawer. Now people are doing the equivalent of that but they're not putting it in a drawer, they're doing it for all the world to see."

Final Word
These are old sayings but true sayings:

Desperate people do desperate things.

All's fair in love and war.

I remember one other thing, not really a saying, but an idea imparted to me by my father. He always said to write a letter, put it away, and then sleep on it. After a good night's sleep, one tends to look at things in a completely different manner. He was so right.

Unfortunately, Tricia Walsh did not have the benefit of my father's counsel and elected to go public. Being the first to divorce on YouTube as one paper put it may be a record, but may not be the lasting reputation one would hope for. I commend Philip Smith for two reasons. First of all, he did not stoop to her level; he showed himself to be nobler. Secondly, and this may seem like an odd perspective, by saying nothing he portrayed himself to the world in a much more sympathetic light. Of course, considering that Ms. Walsh's rants came across as petty and vindictive helped Mr. Smith's case considerably; Tricia may just be her own worst enemy.

There remain a number of unanswered questions. Why did Philip Smith marry Tricia in the first place? Why didn't Tricia get counsel on the prenup? If she did, why didn't she accept her lumps? No matter what the answers to those questions are, we come back to just what was she thinking when she decided to go viral on the Net with a YouTube video?

This entire incident is a train wreck. It is a five car pile-up. We slow down to take a look, fascinated by the human tragedy playing out before us all the while quietly saying under our breath, "There but for the grace of God go I."

Divorce is not pretty. Divorce is failure. Divorce is irredeemably changing the lives of the partners and as a consequence, the relationships of everyone associated with them including children, family, friends, colleagues, and even things as mundane as the credit card company and the bank. It is said that a divorce tries to arrive at an arrangement which is fair. Is there anything about failure which is fair?

The saying goes that for every door which closes, another opens. That may be true in the long run, but at that precise moment, the pain can be so great, so overwhelming, it can literally drive you crazy.


Wikipedia: Tricia Walsh
Tricia Walsh (aka Tricia Walsh-Smith) is a British playwright and actress born in 1956. In April, 2008 she became briefly internationally famous after posting a YouTube video of herself discussing her divorce from her husband.

Babble: StrollerDerby - Apr 18/2008
When a Marriage Falls Apart (in the Blogosphere) Posted by Rachael Brownell (Redsy)
Well-known blogger Brazen Careerist, Penelope Trunk, is featured in today's New York Times talking about blogging divorce.  What happens when exes blog their splits? 

Tricia Walsh Smith (playwright, appropriately, of "Bonkers") posted an eviscerating YouTube video about her ex- and suddenly the weapons of war have changed. The Internet, in particular blogs, provide a platform for the airing of grievances and accusations. People in the midst of divorces tend to blame, get bitter, and act like children. And now they're writing it all down for the world, and eventually their children, to read.

The Telegraph - Apr 16/2008
Tricia Walsh-Smith: is revenge now a dish best served online? by Bryony Gordon
The internet has brought many great things into our lives. Old acquaintances we long ago lost contact with (for good reason). Nigerian conmen who would like to dump a million dollars into our bank accounts. Russian hackers who would like to take all the money out of our bank accounts. Blogs detailing the mundane minutiae of strangers' lives. And now, acts of revenge from scorned, psychotic exes.

Tricia Walsh-Smith has amused several hundred thousand of us this week with her six-minute YouTube rant about her millionaire theatre impresario husband, Phil Smith. Walsh-Smith has obviously gone to a lot of trouble creating this video - there are captions which describe her as an "actress/playwright/good egg", though few people had heard of her before.

But while the production values are impressive, it is a shame the same cannot be said of the script.

The New York Times - Apr 18/2008
When the ex writes a blog, dirty laundry is aired By Leslie Kaufman
The potential of the Internet to expose and disgrace when marriages fall apart came into stark relief this week as Tricia Walsh Smith, who is being divorced by Philip Smith, a theater executive, put a video on YouTube announcing that they had never had sex, and yet she found him hoarding Viagra, pornography and condoms.

YouTube channel: walshsmith1
[This is Tricia Walsh's YouTube channel where you publishes her videos.]

official web site: Tricia Walsh Smith
[This is Tricia Walsh's official web site for all things Tricia: music, biography, videos, and music.]

July 2008
Re: Kathie Lee Gifford Wants Tricia Walsh Dead
[Gifford is a host on the NBC morning show Today. During a discussion of Tricia Walsh, she said that some matchmakers she knew should take a whack at Tricia, meaning that should try to find her a new husband. Tricia Walsh heard this and thought the word "whack" meant Gifford wanted to kill Walsh. And so, the fun ensued.]

watshsmith1 - July 24/2008
Kathy Lee Gifford Wants Tricia Walsh Dead
Response to Kathy Lee Gifford's comments on 7-24, (NBC Today Show) which was in direct response to the press conference held by Miss Tricia Walsh 7- 23, 2008.

hahahaveryfunny - Apr 16/2008
Tricia Walsh Smith- Unedited Tape Lawyer Responds
Philip Smith's Lawyer responds to Tricia Walsh Smith's YouTube divorce video
[This is a joke.]

The Sunday Times - Dec 8/2008
The Web Watcher: Tricia Walsh-Smith Does It Again by Francesca Steele
Not content with her five minutes of fame, Tricia Walsh - formerly Walsh-Smith, the divorcée who made headlines back in April for embarrassing her husband via YouTube - has made a music video... Now Walsh has made a second video - and music track, which you can also buy on iTunes - featuring bondage gear and the Tower of London ( It's called (I'm Going) Bonkers, and sounds a bit like a cross between Blondie and Alice Cooper, but much, much worse than either...

NY Mag - Jun 1/2008
The YouTube Divorcée By Phoebe Eaton
It was the age-old story: a woman spurned by her mogul husband, in danger of losing everything. Call her crazy, call her desperate, but this time, the woman had a new weapon—the Web.

Uploaded on May 16, 2008 by zadieziba
Jimmy Kimmel discusses third Tricia Walsh Smith video
Jimmy Kimmel talks about the 3rd video posted by Tricia Walsh Smith from her London apartment. Aired May 16, 2008.


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1 comment:

Unknown said...

just yikes.

i'm lucky to have respect in my relationship