Family Law Corner: Wrestling Out of a Relationship


Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, can’t seem to wrestle his way out of his relationship with his ex-wife, Linda.  Terry has been in legal battles with her since they first separated in 2007.  After a contentious divorce in Florida, where she apparently walked away with two-thirds of the parties’ liquid assets, Linda recently authored a book titled "Wrestling the Hulk: My Life Against the Ropes."  In the book, she contends that Terry had multiple affairs, including a homosexual affair with another wrestler, and was physically abusive towards her.  To promote the book, Linda appeared on shows like “Today” and gave details about these alleged incidents.  Terry has denied the charges, as has the other wrestler named, and he has counter-sued Linda for defamation of character. 

It does not appear that Linda accused Terry of affairs or domestic violence in the context of their Florida divorce. Had their divorce happened in California and had she produced “documented evidence of any history of domestic violence,” such as police reports, Linda may have been able to use that factor to her advantage to affect the amount and duration of spousal support pursuant to Family Code §4320(i).  However, because California is a ‘no fault’ state, she would have been unable to use allegations of infidelity to her advantage in a California divorce.  Family Code §2310.  Linda also wouldn’t be able to sue Terry’s lover for any tort, such as alienation of affection (which allows one spouse to sue a third party over the failure of the marriage), because California has an “anti-heartbalm” statute--Civil Code §43.5.  Anti-heartbalm statutes abrogate lawsuits by individuals brought to seek pecuniary damages to salve their broken hearts—hence the sardonic reference to the broken heart that justified the lawsuit. California law leaves few options for Linda to receive financial remuneration based on these allegations. 

In an interesting twist, TMZ is reporting that a sex tape starring Hogan and an unidentified brunette is being shopped around.  If this tape is what it purports to be and was filmed during the marriage, it will provide Linda with some protection from the defamation suit that Hogan filed against her.