National Post

Page URL:

Wednesday, December 29, 1999

Keitel gives his side of breakup
Paul Waldie
National Post

Harvey Keitel, famous for tough-guy roles in films such as Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, recently told a New York court he was so devastated by the breakup of his relationship with actress Lorraine Bracco that he couldn't work for years.

Mr. Keitel and Ms. Bracco, an Oscar-nominated actress, split up in 1991 after living together for eight years. They've been fighting in court ever since over family assets and custody of their 14-year-old daughter, Stella. In June, Ms. Bracco filed for bankruptcy protection in a bid to force the sale of property they own together.

In an affidavit filed last week as part of the bankruptcy, Mr. Keitel gave his version of the couple's breakup and bizarre battle. He blamed Ms. Bracco, saying it started when she had an affair. "I was hurt and angry that my family had been suddenly and deceitfully wrestled from me by Bracco," Mr. Keitel said in the affidavit. "At the same time, I wanted to reconcile. My only child was scarred emotionally by Bracco's deceit, and I was unable to conduct my normal business affairs."

Ms. Bracco, 48, has said that Mr. Keitel is "motivated by jealousy and hate."

Mr. Keitel and Ms. Bracco met in Paris in 1983. Mr. Keitel's acting career was in decline and Ms. Bracco was going through a divorce. They moved to New York but never married.

In 1991, Ms. Bracco began an affair with actor Edward James Olmos. After learning of the affair, Mr. Keitel said in the affidavit that he "immediately returned to New York, arranging a meet with her at the office of my psychiatrist."

He says he begged her to end the affair but she refused. The next day at their $1.2-million (US) home in Sneden's Landing, N.Y., he again asked her to break off the affair.

"Bracco promptly brought out our daughter, Stella, then aged five and a half, into the room and told her that she no longer loved me and that our relationship had ended," he said in the affidavit. Stella allegedly was crushed and replied "Why did you have me? I wish I wasn't born."

Ms. Bracco married Mr. Olmos in 1994. Court documents show her battle with Mr. Keitel has included child abuse allegations, calls to police and a custody agreement so detailed that Mr. Keitel's nanny couldn't deliver gifts to Stella without a lawyer's consent.

Copyright Southam Inc.