Published May 08 2012
Ex-wife, ex-girlfriend battle over Gary Coleman's estate
Shannon Price testified Monday in 4th District Court that even though the two divorced in 2008, they kept living together and presented themselves to the public as married until his death May 28, 2010.
The “Diff'rent Strokes” actor was taken off life support after suffering a head injury in a fall at his home, according to a copy of his death certificate in court records. He was 42.
Another woman, Anna Gray, says Coleman named her a beneficiary and executor of his estate in 2005. Gray managed Coleman's affairs for a number of years and was his ex-girlfriend.
The trial started Monday and was to continue Tuesday.
Gray, representing herself, asked Price why she took her name off the deed to the couple's house in Santaquin, Utah.
“It was y'all's home and y'all made the payments, but you thought that Gary should be liable for it?” Gray asked.
Price, 26, said she had to take her name off the deed as a condition of divorce.
Price said she met Colemen on the Utah set of the movie “Church Ball” in 2005. A marriage license says they wed Aug. 28, 2007, at Nevada's Valley of Fire State Park. They divorced less than a year later under a sealed court order.
It's not clear how much Coleman's estate is worth, but court papers mention a $324,000 house and a pension, among other possible assets. Price said they shared bank accounts, and her lawyers say Gary Coleman listed Price as his wife for Social Security benefits as late as 2010.
Coleman's parents, Willie and Edmonia Coleman, have asserted no claim on his estate, court papers say.
Price's lawyer, Mitchell Maughan, said the case is more about future rights to Coleman's name and brand than assets.
“He was not a zillionaire,” Maughan said.
Price said her relationship with Gary Coleman had ups and downs, but “we couldn't be without each other” even after divorce.
Neighbor Audra Wright however, testified that the marriage was far from perfect, the couple's house was a mess, and the two kept separate bedrooms.
Wright said Price frequently complained about fights and financial problems.
Once, Price asked, “'Did you ever see a black guy with a black eye?’” Wright testified. “She called Gary over and said ‘Show her your black eye.’”
Instead of holding hands, Price would grab Coleman by the wrist and pull him along.
“I think that made him look like a child,” Wright said.