Ottawa Sun

August 17, 2001

Looking for 'peace, closure'

By SUSAN SHERING, Ottawa Sun

Former reporter Alana Kainz says she's looking for some "peace and closure" in her life, but she accepts that it is likely a long way off.

Kainz admitted to the Sun yesterday she's feeling "emotionally crushed by all the publicity" generated by the front page news coverage detailing her ugly divorce case with the ultra-rich Michael Potter.

Kainz and the $745-million man made headlines this week when details of her demands for a $15-million divorce settlement and $300,000 monthly payments hit the news.

While Kainz is refusing to give interviews surrounding the divorce, she did e-mail me in response to a column in yesterday's paper I wrote in support of her.

"Thank you for your supportive comments. I'm not doing interviews but I will say to you that I am emotionally crushed by all the publicity," Kainz wrote.

Kainz told me she filed the court payments only as a last resort -- and only after she felt it was going to be impossible to get a settlement out of court.

"I did try for almost two years for an out-of-court settlement with much, much smaller numbers with a man who has unlimited money to spend on legal fees.

"In order to move on with my life I needed to go to court ... when you go to court, you go to the wall," Kainz wrote.

There's no doubt in my mind Kainz will never win the court of public opinion. And I worry for her sake that the furor surrounding her demands is only going to increase, not subside. She will need every ounce of strength she has to endure the incredibly personal attacks now being made on her.

Her story is so sad and I'm still amazed at the way she has been vilified, which I fear will continue, and attacked.

"All I want is peace and closure and if that means my private hell becomes a public hell, well at least a judge will end it for me one day," Kainz wrote to me.

Reader Ben Lalonde wrote to ask me if I were insane (I'm not) and to have me explain how I could support Kainz's seemingly excessive demands.

The truth is I can't help but believe what Alana wrote in those court documents. I believe she was looking for a life of happiness with Potter, with their children. And I believe her when she said that didn't turn out to be what Potter was looking for. And that she got incredibly hurt at a time when she was surely very fragile.

And I believe people -- and that's men and women equally -- who insist on prenup agreements are looking at the end before they believe in the beginning. And I believe Potter has $745 million, and if his expenditures were detailed in this paper, they'd look just as extravagant as hers. Face it. They live in a world we know very little about.

But if she holds out hope that my support will sway the masses, I'm afraid she's mistaken.

Judging by the tone and nature of most of the phone calls and e-mails I received yesterday, many of those who consider her nothing but a low-life gold digger have decided to attack me as well.

I won't waste your time or mine detailing any of the crude, incredibly vulgar messages left on my machine at work.

Nepean resident Clifford Valley wrote both the editor and myself to express his dismay at my support of Kainz.

"I can't believe you actually believe such garbage.

"Man bashers like you are one of the reasons people shy away from marriage and prenuptial agreements are necessary," the Page Six reader concluded in his e-mail to me, adding in his letter to the editor that he hopes my husband has a prenuptial agreement.

'PILE OF CRAP'

He shares that sentiment with Duncan Young, who also chose to attack me personally.

"I wish you many years of happy marriage Ms. Sherring, for after reading this column, I fear that no eligible man in their right mind would dare come within a thousand miles of you and your pathetic greedy ilk," Young wrote.

And Dave Bradley, who I've never had the pleasure of meeting, called my column "a pile of crap" that proved I'm both stupid and gullible.

Ouch.

Copyright© 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.