Revealed: why Hopper wanted deathbed divorce
Wife Victoria loses her inheritance if she’s not living with him when he dies
The final days of the Hollywood actor-director Dennis Hopper, terminally ill with prostate cancer, are beginning to rival a Hopper movie for bizarre behaviour. Having suddenly announced in mid-January that he wanted a deathbed divorce from his wife Victoria Duffy, the 73-year-old star has since won a restraining order which forbids her to go within 15 yards of him.
Why Hopper would do this is now much clearer after the judge in the divorce case unsealed a copy of the 'prenup' Hopper and Duffy signed before their wedding 14 years ago.
Under the terms of the agreement, in the event of a divorce Hopper would keep all his property - including his complex on Venice Beach, Los Angeles, and large parcels of land in Arizona and New Mexico - and his art collection.
In addition, Victoria would have only 60 days to get out of the marital home. That gives her until March 11.
Most important - and key to the recent goings-on - Victoria was due to inherit 25 per cent of his estate if she and Hopper were still married and living together at the time of his death. But if they are divorced, she gets nothing. (Though she is allowed to keep what she brought to the marriage - two computers, two bookcases full of books, her granny's furniture and a 1973 VW Karmann Ghia.)
So now we know why Hopper is so desperate to stay alive - so that the divorce can proceed and Victoria's 60-day limit pass by.
Quite why Hopper wants his wife to inherit nothing is not so clear. She claims he's under pressure from his older children from a previous marriage, who now stand to carve up a great inheritance.
Hopper's doctor, David Argus, insists the Easy Rider and Blue Velvet star is of sound mind, even if he does not have long to go. And he also claims that Hopper has a better chance of survival if Victoria stays away from the hospital where he's dying - hence the restraining order.
"It is my belief and recommendation that the less Mr Hopper has to do with his estranged wife at this time, the more likely he is to have his life extended," Argus said.
Hang on in there, Dennis. ·
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