Sometimes business and pleasure just don’t mix. Mischa Barton has sued her mother, Nuala Barton, for mismanaging her money and stealing from the child actress throughout her career. Bullying and denying Mischa access to her Beverly Hills home are also indicated in the 29-year-old’s lawsuit, filed on Tuesday (Apr. 7).
The actress’ career has been managed by her mother for over 20 years following her performances in films Notting Hill and The Sixth Sense, along with her leading role in US TV series The OC when she was just 17.
“While Barton was busy perfecting her craft and turning her acting dreams into reality, her mother, defendant Nuala Barton, was secretly scheming to exploit Barton’s burgeoning career for her benefit," the lawsuit states.
The documents also claim that Nuala is withholding royalties and lied about the amount her daughter was paid for 2013 film The Hoarder so she could keep the difference along with her 10% management fee. Mischa says she only realised that her mother was hiding money from her after a discussion with the production company behind the film.
Following her rise to fame playing Marissa Cooper in The OC, Mischa has also been prominent in the fashion world having endorsed beauty products and collaborated on her own line of fashion accessories.
However the lawsuit alleges that some of these endorsements were signed without Mischa’s permission, and she wasn’t properly paid for the use of her name and likeness both for a handbag line and a London boutique which was opened in 2012.
“Nuala did not compensate Barton for the use of her name, image and likeness, nor did she share in any of the profits from these ventures with Barton. This is all despite the fact that the businesses were built solely on Barton’s fame and popularity,” the lawsuit states.
In addition, the lawsuit accuses Nuala of changing paperwork for her daughter’s $7.8million mansion to give herself co-ownership, and states that Mischa is no longer allowed access to the Beverly Hills home.
Mischa is seeking unspecified damages, triple the amount the court finds her mother to have withheld. An attorney for Nuala Barton has so far declined to comment.