Kitaen Files $12-Mil Lawsuit Against Ex

09/24/2002 11:00AM

"Bachelor Party" actress Tawny Kitaen has filed a $12 million lawsuit against her estranged husband, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chuck Finley, the Associated Press reports.

Kitaen, who claims she gave up her career of making $15,000 a week on the syndicated sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati" and $22,000 an episode as host of "America's Funniest People," accuses her husband (since 1997) of breach of contract after he allegedly promised to financially support her for the rest of her life. Kitaen retired in 1993.

This is the second time this week that the quarreling couple has been in the news. On Friday, PEOPLE.com reported that Kitaen, while admitting no guilt, agreed to a plea bargain on spousal abuse and battery charges from an alleged physical attack on Finley in April.

Under the terms of the court agreement, Kitaen, 41, must enter a spousal battery counseling program and avoid contact with Finley, 39. The actress also was ordered to make a $500 donation to a battered women's shelter.

In her lawsuit, Kitaen claims that when Finley proposed to her on Valentine's Day 1991, he gave her a Cartier diamond engagement ring and a key to his home -- as well as unlimited access to his personal bank account and permission to spend freely.

Finley filed for divorce on April 4, just three days after Kitaen was arrested for spousal abuse. Since that time, according to the suit, Finley has ignored Kitaen's repeated requests for money and seized $4.1 million from a joint personal account.

Meanwhile, Kitaen claims in court papers that she promoted Finley's career by lending him her own celebrity -- and that she even picked out his hair color to alter his boyish image.

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