Burt Reynolds: Ex Tried to Blackmail Me
In his court papers, the star of Smokey and the Bandit and Boogie Nights claims that Tampa barmaid Pamela M. Seals, who was romantically involved with Reynolds for 10 years, falsely accused him of stomping on her toes, and insisted she was entitled to half of his estate even though the couple never married, the Associated Press reports.
The suit seeks more than $15,000 in damages.
Reynolds's lawyer, Bob Montgomery, said Seals threatened to "spread false reports of physical and verbal abuse and prescription medication abuse" in an attempt to get money and property from him. He called the alleged threats "blackmail."
Seals, the suit alleges, threatened to make public "slanderous and false allegations … in an attempt to embarrass (Reynolds) and harm his career" unless he agreed to pay a major settlement that included support for her and her mother, half of Reynolds's Jupiter, Fla. home and other compensation, Florida's Sun-Sentinel newspaper reports.
While the couple was together, his lawsuit claims, "Reynolds gave gifts to Seals which included cars, vast sums of cash, tens of thousands of dollars in jewelry and clothing, the use of Reynolds’ home, private assistants, care and support."
In a statement, Reynolds, who was once married to actress Loni Anderson, called the situation "unfortunate'' and said he would not be "intimidated by false accusations."
The lawsuit was filed in West Palm Beach, Fla., and asks the court to label Seals as a girlfriend -- and thus not entitled to the actor's assets or support.
In 1996, after a costly divorce from Anderson, Reynolds filed for bankruptcy protection, with debts totaling $10 million. Montgomery said Reynolds has recovered from his financial problems.
The suit against Seals alleges that her "extortion scheme" began on July 2, 2004, when she had her Florida attorney demand money from Reynolds "after the unfortunate end of their non-marital relationship."
Seals's attorney, Mark Maynor, told the Sun-Sentinel he had not seen the lawsuit early Monday and had no immediate comment.