What You Can Learn From Gary Coleman's Marital Woes


Short temper. Short Marriage. Short, we'll stop there.

After ten months of marriage, Gary Coleman, 40, and his wife Shannon Price, 22, are already in to Divorce Court (NWS). The 4-foot-eight-inch tall Diff'rent Strokes actor and his potential ex, who is five-foot-seven-inches, taped a session of the real-life courtroom drama March 13. Their episodes are scheduled to air on the television show May 1 and 2.

And no matter what the outcome, the duo, married or not, are working with a production company and in negotiations with a network for a future reality series, according to Robert Malcolm, Coleman's agent at Artists Group East. Coleman's agent declined to offer more specifics at this time.

The at odds couple wed back on August 28, 2007 on a Nevada mountain top. The former child star's anger issues apparently are a big part of their marital woes.

“If he doesn't get his way, he throws a temper tantrum like a five-year-old does,” says Price, according to a transcript of the show obtained by the Associated Press. At the same time, Coleman tells Divorce Court's Judge Lynn Toler: “When I try to state my case or explain things to her or try to get her to understand my point of view, my point of view doesn't matter." In other words, not enough time is spent figuring out "What he's talking 'bout."

The couple had plenty to say, however, last February, which is when they broke the news of their August union with Inside Edition (GE). The twosome told the show that they did not have sexual relations with each other. “It will happen when it happens,” Coleman said at the time. Also that month, Coleman and Price talked about his anger issues on the Early Show (CBS). “I threw the printer because my agent wanted to send me a fax and it wouldn't fax," said Coleman. Price added, “Well, he throws things around and sometimes he throws it in my direction.”

No longer. Interested parties will not know how Coleman and his bride end (or possible rekindle) their 10-month-long marriage in Judge Toler’s court room until the show airs beginning May 1. MainStreet's attempts to get an exclusive comment from Coleman on the split ended when Malcolm, his agent, said that Coleman only grants interviews for cash payments.

But Gary should not be too cash strapped in the wake of this bust-up. No matter what the outcome, Fadi Baradihi, president of the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, says that in the event of a divorce, it is unlikely either member of the couple will receive or pay out alimony, because the marriage would have lasted less than a year. “In my experience, for less than a year of marriage, there won’t be any alimony – unless there’s a prenup,” says Baradihi. (It is unclear whether Coleman and Price have a prenuptial agreement, but unlikely that they would appear on Divorce Court if they did.)

During a divorce, the higher wage earner in a couple typically agrees to pay alimony to their former partner for a set period of time, says Baradihi. The amount of alimony often depends on the length of the marriage. “Alimony is a mechanism to wean somebody off the lifestyle they’re used to,” says Baradihi. “For a 10-month marriage, there most likely won’t be any alimony.”

And there might not be a lot to fight over, anyway. In 1993 Coleman sued his parents for abuse of his $8.3 million trust fund—money he earned on Diff’rent Strokes from 1978 to 1986. He won $1.28 million, but nevertheless filed for bankruptcy in 1999. More recently, Coleman has been employed as a shopping mall security guard in Los Angeles and he ran for governor of California during the 2003 recall election, coming in eighth place.

Outcomes in the courtroom on Divorce Court are legally binding. So although not everyone on the show divorces, if Coleman and Price actually split up, it’s final.

Above all, Baradihi warned divorcing couples, such as the Coleman and Price, to get the right help in the form of lawyers and divorce financial analysts. “A lot of times it ends up costing a lot more to make a mistake,” he says. “Once you sign on the line of a divorce decree, it’s a done deal.”

And, in this case, a done deal will not surprise too many celebrity watchers. “What did you expect?” says Sky Obercam, assistant editor for the gossip site, Bossip.com. “[The marriage] was always suspect to begin with.” Obercam isn’t surprised to hear of Coleman’s anger issues, considering he was charged with assaulting a woman in 2000 who asked for his autograph. “Poor Gary Coleman,” Obercam says. “He’s always trying to get in the spotlight. He’s desperate for attention.”

When the ratings for Divorce Court come in, we'll see if he get's his wish.

People who read this story might also be interested in Asset Hiding Lessons From Paul McCartney's Divorce, Britney Skips Divorce Court One More Time, and Pam Splits From Hubby #3.


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