Ralph Whitworth got Paul McCartney for his wife's birthday, but now divorce

The curse of Rancho Santa Fe

Ever since its founding as a railroad resort for millionaires back in 1915, Rancho Santa Fe, primarily known these days as America's wealthiest zip code, has had plenty of misery to go along with its money. Is the money responsible for the misery, or vice versa? Scheming divorcées, swindlers, and purported spies have all made troubled homes amidst the fragrant eucalyptus trees. Reports of marital bliss, however, have been rare. Sometimes it seems that the Ranch is just plain cursed.

There was Nancy Hoover, the real estate lady and onetime Del Mar mayor who in 1983 left her husband George to shack up in a cozy house on the Ranch with "foreign currency expert" J. David Dominelli, who stole millions of dollars from the greedy and gullible locals before being packed off to federal prison. After Hoover got out of the pen for assisting Dominelli's stealing, she married a trash baron from Santa Barbara and perhaps has lived happily ever after. And there was Clifford Graham, the ex­body builder from San Bernardino who married the daughter of 1950s-era workout pioneer Vic Tanny and befriended Republican politicos such as onetime congressman Jack Kemp and downtown real estate mogul Malin Burnham. In May 1985 he disappeared forever, following a federal indictment for a celebrated fraud in which Graham convinced investors he could make gold from sand. Graham's historic 17-acre Osuna Ranch estate was sold by his creditors, and his wife departed the Ranch for a high-rise condo in an expensive Long Island suburb.

In 1992, international arms dealer and alleged con man Ian Spiro, 46, was found dead in his car in the Anza-Borrego Desert, a small vial of cyanide at his side. His flashy blonde wife, Gail, 42, and their three children, Sara, 16, Adam, 14, and Dina, 10, had been shot to death days before in their Rancho Santa Fe home. For years, there was talk that he was a spy for the CIA and a friend of Lieutenant Oliver North. Some accounts said he had been killed by pre-9/11 Arab agents. But Spiro also was purportedly $5 million in debt and wasn't getting on with his wife, which the sheriff concluded had led him to murder his family and commit suicide.

And now comes the case of Ralph Victor Whitworth and Wendy Walker Whitworth. A year ago in February, they made headlines around the world when Ralph threw a 50th birthday party for Wendy at Delicias, the tony eatery in the Ranch's neat little commercial village. All of Wendy's 150 closest friends were present, including her special chum, Today Show hostess and Wendy's former ABC co-worker, Katie Couric; Larry King's wife, Shawn; and "security expert" Chuck Vance, an ex­Secret Service agent once married to ex-president Gerald Ford's daughter Susan, whom he guarded at the White House.

They were all surprised when ex-Beatle Paul McCartney suddenly appeared from behind a curtain and began to sing 19 tunes from his repertory of aging standards, including "Yesterday," "Hey Jude," "Let It Be," "Hello Goodbye," and "I Saw Her Standing There." At the end of the evening, Wendy danced with Ralph -- who reportedly had donated $1 million to McCartney's favorite charity -- as Paul sang the Beatle's version of "Birthday."

Afterward Wendy was quoted as saying, "Paul McCartney walked onstage and I thought somebody was playing a trick on me. It was so exciting. How would you feel? You can't believe it." Said McCartney, "Normally I don't do this sort of gig, but I was chuffed to do it because it was a 'win-win' show. Ralph gets to be the great husband for organizing the surprise, his wife gets a rocking party, I get to rehearse the band for the tour, and most important, Adopt-A-Minefield gets one million dollars."

Added Ralph, "I wanted to do something special for her 50th birthday. I'll say I have another 50 years to come up with something else like this."

Alas, less than 12 months later the Whitworths, as have thousands of their Rancho Santa Fe forebears, trudged off toward the dreary halls of the San Diego County divorce court up the freeway in Vista. This is Wendy's first divorce. (Her boss Larry King has been married six times. That puts him only one or two divorces behind the likes of Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mickey Rooney, and Liz Taylor.)

Ralph Whitworth is a partner in Relational Investors, LLC, which is generally said to be a money-management firm. What does that mean? According to descriptions of its operation in the business press, the firm is given large amounts of cash --billions of dollars, actually -- to invest by outfits like the California Public Employees' Retirement System. Instead of just "passively" investing the money, Relational is said to seek out public companies that Whitworth and his associates think are being mismanaged.

Then, after buying a piece of the target firms, Relational begins to pressure management for changes intended to jack up the price of the stock. This obviously doesn't make Whitworth the most popular figure among those inside corporate types who guide the fate of American enterprise, but it has garnered considerable admiration from various members of the media. In fact, Whitworth's press has been glowing.

This year, for example, Relational bought a 9 percent interest in CNF Inc., a Palo Alto trucking company, and began pressuring management to sell off various "underperforming" business assets. Back in 1989, CNF had bought Emery, a freight-forwarding firm, but the combined operation hasn't made much money, and Whitworth saw an opportunity. "There isn't any real strategic reason to have a trucking business hooked up to a forwarding business," said Whitworth.

He's also been spending a lot of time badgering a Bay Area company called National Semiconductor to sell off its "non-core enterprise networking division and digital appliance business." He threatened to nominate himself for a seat on the board of directors if the company doesn't comply with his demands. His is not a particularly warm and cuddly business, but it makes a lot of money.

This March, the California state pension fund announced that it was investing another $188 million of its money with Whitworth and company, bringing the grand total of the money he has managed for them to over a billion dollars. "This new capital will allow Relational to make investments on a broader scale in the market," said Sean Harrigan, president of CalPERS Board of Administration, in a press release. "Investments in larger companies will increase Relational's influence and enhance the potential for greater returns on our investment."

According to the statement, using leverage to turn up the heat on the reluctant management is the name of the game. "Relational's investment strategy often involves two steps. The fund makes a moderate investment and begins to communicate with the company's management, board of directors, and other investors. Depending on the outcome of the communications, the firm may increase its investment to gain more leverage in negotiations with management."

"Relational has delivered our members strong investment performance," Rob Feckner, chair of the pension fund's investment committee, added. "Their success merits this increase in capital from CalPERS." As of December 31, 2003, Relational's annual return on the pension fund's investments was nearly 29 percent, according to the statement.

It's all very reminiscent of how Whitworth, who grew up in remote Winnemucca, Nevada, got his start as a young apprentice to the notorious T. Boone Pickens. The son of a mining engineer, Whitworth had gone to the University of Nevada in Reno and then on to law school at Georgetown in Washington, D.C. He became an aide to archconservative GOP senator Paul Laxalt and worked on Ronald Reagan's 1984 reelection campaign, during which he learned all about insider politics.

Whitworth soon linked up with Pickens, the Texas oil man who in the 1980s had reinvented himself as a "corporate raider" using his oil company, Mesa Petroleum, to mount takeover runs at big oil companies, making huge windfalls.

According to a 1993 profile in Business Week magazine, Whitworth once romanced Pickens's daughter. Though the ardor soon cooled, in 1986 Whitworth was tapped by Pickens to run the "United Shareholders Association," a so-called shareholders' rights organization that some regarded as a front to advance Pickens's personal political ambitions. But regulatory changes brought about by the group would later become crucial to Whitworth's success.

After United Shareholders folded in 1993, Whitworth became a Washington lobbyist for a while and then linked up with another key player in the Pickens operation, David Batchelder, who had ultimately turned on Pickens. After that lucrative boardroom bloodbath, Batchelder and Whitworth set up Relational Investors in 1996. Batchelder set up shop near Del Mar and moved to Rancho Santa Fe, to be later followed by his partner.

Earlier this year, when CalPERS nominated Whitworth to the board of the New York Stock Exchange, it issued a press release featuring a glowing tribute listing some of the corporate conquests of its star performer. "Whitworth served as chairman of the board of Waste Management, Inc., in 1999 [in a] major crisis management assignment. He was responsible for overall management of the company and led the recruitment effort to replace the company's management team.

"He played a similar role at Apria Healthcare Group Inc. [the world's largest home healthcare provider] in 1998, where he initiated a number of progressive corporate governance initiatives. He also serves on the boards of three other NYSE-listed companies, including Tektronix, Mattel, and United Thermal Corporation."

Whitworth "knew for a long time this was a way to make money, putting muscle behind corporate governance," ex-CalPERS general counsel Richard Koppes told the Los Angeles Times last year. Relational does its tough-guy work in a hurry, getting into and out of its target companies within an average of just two years. And the wealthy executives who become the target of his work don't get much sympathy, even if, as in the case of Mattel's Jill Barad, they lose their jobs.

Wendy Walker Whitworth, on the other hand, who has been working at CNN for 24 years, is engaged in a different kind of pastime, which deals much more in schmoozing with celebrities than executing corporate hits. "My job is to get the perfect guest," she told More magazine last year. "No matter where I am -- on a plane or a Ferris wheel -- I'm still available by phone to make a decision. My dream get is Doris Day -- I'd love to hear her talk about Rock Hudson."

Whitworth graduated from Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia, in the mid-1970s and went to work running an art gallery, according to a 1995 interview in Electronic Media magazine. She met Ethel Kennedy, Robert's widow, and had her first exposure to the business of TV news while promoting a pro/celebrity tennis tournament for the RFK Foundation. In 1979, when she was 26, she passed a typing test and became secretary to the deputy bureau chief at ABC News in Washington.

When ABC's bureau chief left to run CNN's Washington operation, he asked Whitworth to come along. "Sam Donaldson told me to do it. He said either sit here and watch us do this stuff or go over and start up a new place and do it yourself," the profile quoted Whitworth as saying.

She's been Larry King's producer since September 1993, after having been the network's executive producer on the White House beat. In a 1992 profile in Better Homes & Gardens magazine that featured her bungalow in Washington, the then-single Walker described herself as a power shopper. "It takes patience to comb through the junk in a flea market or dusty antiques store, but that's how to learn to spot a fine object," she said, adding, "I think of my living room as an art gallery; I pick shapes and colors that complement each other and give them enough room to stand out."

The same year, Walker told a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle that her onetime roommate Katie Couric had been Oscar Madison to her Felix Unger in their own working-girl version of The Odd Couple. "Once her mother came over to our house, saw her room, and cried."

Walker's days of roughing it with girlfriend Couric ended on December 5, 1992, the day she wed Ralph Whitworth, who was by then running Whitworth and Associates in Washington. The Reverend Stuart Kenworthy performed the Episcopal ceremony at Christ Church in Georgetown. The next year Business Week described Ralph as a "Washington yuppie" who drove a Jeep Cherokee and cooked gourmet food for Wendy. The couple had two children and settled into what was to all outward appearances domestic tranquillity.

A 1999 New York Times profile featured on Relational's website portrays Ralph Whitworth as "honest and thoughtful, cool in a crisis, and graceful." The piece goes on to say that "Mr. Whitworth describes himself as a family man who tries to get home by 5:00 p.m. He likes to cook, and his designs for columns on the veranda of his former home on the Potomac River in Washington were featured in some architecture magazines. Here in San Diego, the walls and shelves of his office are festooned with photographs of his two young children and his wife, Wendy Walker, the executive producer of the Larry King Live."

The More magazine profile included a description of the Whitworth mansion on La Valle Plateada in Rancho Santa Fe, to which she and Ralph moved in 1998. Its four acres were said to be landscaped by Kate Sessions. Other featured domestic amenities were a 19th-century Italian table and a King Charles spaniel. The house, purchased by the couple for about $5 million, also features a control room linked directly to King's CNN studios, ostensibly installed so that Whitworth could personally oversee the show without neglecting her domestic life with Ralph and their two young children in Rancho Santa Fe.

But whether it was due to the curse of the Ranch or something else -- such as what Wendy later alleged to be Ralph's "infidelity" -- the couple was not destined to live happily ever after. It didn't start out that way, recalled Wendy in her divorce complaint, signed under penalty of perjury last May 19. Hers was a storybook tale, at least in its material aspects, far from her humble beginnings as a secretary at CNN.

"For the last four years of our marriage, we have enjoyed a very lavish lifestyle, including multiple luxurious residences, traveling exclusively on private planes, taking luxurious vacations, buying designer clothing, and essentially partaking of, and enjoying, the best of everything that life has to offer. We have had the good fortune of not having to consider the cost of goods and/or services as money has truly been no object in our daily lives.

"During our marriage we have accumulated substantial assets which, based on information I have obtained since the inception of these proceedings, are valued in excess of $50,000,000, including but not limited to real estate, automobiles, bank and brokerage accounts, and various other business interests.

"I have had no 'budget,'" Wendy continued, "nor other form of limitation on spending. All of our expenses, including all charges made by me on credit cards or credit accounts we have at various establishments, are paid directly by" Ralph. "We own residences in Rancho Santa Fe, California, and Sun Valley, Idaho. I estimate the value of these residences as approximately $8,000,000 and $5,000,000 respectively. For the last two or three years we have also been renting a beach house at La Jolla Shores, California, for approximately $9000 per month."

Describing her free-spending lifestyle in which she paid little heed to expenses and never worried about balancing a checkbook, Wendy said that Ralph, "with the assistance of his office staff," paid all of the couple's living costs. "Even my paycheck from CNN was deposited, by direct deposit, into a bank account designated by Respondent and not managed by me.

"Therefore, I have no specific knowledge of the expenses paid (which include all payments made relating to residences, maintenance, household staff, utilities, automotive, travel, insurance, repairs, clothing, food, entertainment, gifts, etc., and many others); I was never involved in the payments of any of our expenses.

"In addition to the direct payment of all living expenses referenced above, I have had access to an account accessible by ATM machine from which I draw approximately $1000 every three days (approximately $10,000 per month) for miscellaneous out-of-pocket cash expenses."

Wendy added that, according to their joint income tax return, Ralph, a founder and 25 percent owner of Relational Investors, made $16 million in 2003, not including what she called the "very substantial amounts of personal benefits received through" Ralph's "business entities."

She told the court that she had worked diligently to be a good mother, despite her professional obligations, and had sacrificed to accommodate her husband. "I am an Executive Vice-President at CNN America, Inc., and Senior Executive Producer of a very popular television show. I have worked for CNN News for approximately twenty-four (24) years.

"After the birth of our daughter," Wendy said, "I substantially modified my schedule and working arrangements so that I could spend the maximum amount of time possible caring for and meeting the needs of our children. I have at all times been the children's primary caregiver and have arranged my work schedule around their needs.

"In that regard, when, at Respondent's request, the children and I moved to California in 1998, although making my job much more difficult to perform, I created a special environment for and established my office in our residence so that I would not have to physically leave our home to perform my work. This arrangement of my working primarily at home has remained my routine through the present time.

"I have always been primarily responsible for the children in all respects, including handling all issues relating to their education, health care, social needs, as well as scheduling events and activities for them, arranging and attending play dates, planning their birthday and holiday parties, clothing, feeding, bathing, nurturing, and attending to their personal needs and activities in every other respect.

"Prior to separation, I took our son...to school every morning, either picked both children up from school or arranged for their pick up daily, and was always home on their return. I had dinner with them nightly, and supervised and participated in bath and bedtime routines on a daily basis.

"Both prior to and since separation, I have supervised their homework, and organized and attended to their extracurricular and other after-school activities, including summer camp. I have always, and continue to, arrange and attend all of their medical and dental appointments and care for them when they are ill."

Although Wendy characterized Ralph as "a good father," she said that all of his money and success could not buy enough time with the children. "His business is demanding in terms of time and causes him to travel frequently, so his participation in the children's lives has been quite limited. Historically, Respondent has traveled out of town, and away from our home, approximately 10 to 12 days each month, sometimes more."

Until after the separation, Ralph never met their son's teachers and didn't know whether he wore a uniform to school. Ralph's participation in extracurricular activities "was limited to coaching the children's soccer team when he was available and spending weekend family time with us."

Once Ralph suggested that he throw a birthday party for their son and even insisted on personally "doing" the invitations, Wendy recounted. "I then received a call from Respondent's secretary advising that she was preparing the invitations and requesting that I deliver them to the invitees. I have always been and continue to be happy to personally take care of the children's needs and cannot comprehend Respondent's insistence at 'taking over' these responsibilities, only to delegate them to others."

Wendy said that Ralph moved out of their Rancho Santa Fe estate on January 5 of this year and has not returned. "Since Respondent voluntarily vacated the former family residence and moved into our nearby beach house, the level of stress in our relationship and, more importantly, that experienced and exhibited by the children, has been substantially lowered.

"Since that time Respondent has exercised visitation with the children on a regular basis, consisting generally of alternate weekends from Friday after school until he returns them to school on Monday morning, and Thursday overnights in the week following his custodial weekend."

Ralph and Wendy went to see a mediator in an attempt to achieve a divorce without airing their dirty linen in public, but tensions between the couple grew after Wendy decided she wanted to leave the Ranch for good. "I informed Respondent that after giving the matter serious consideration, I had decided to relocate, with the children, to the Los Angeles area after the conclusion of the current school year.

"My decision to do so was based on a variety of factors, including issues relating to my continued employment with CNN/Larry King Live, which is based in Los Angeles, as well as issues relating to the education and welfare of the children, and the cultural life available to both the children and me in Los Angeles as distinguished from Rancho Santa Fe.

"My original decision to essentially produce Larry King Live out of our home in Rancho Santa Fe, at great inconvenience to both myself and the show, was based on Respondent's desire, on our move to California, that we reside near his office in Del Mar.

"Although I intend to continue to organize my work hours around the children's school schedule so that I am available to them before and after school, relocation to Los Angeles will not only simplify issues relating to my employment but, as Respondent and I have discussed, and he acknowledged, it will enable me to better perform my job functions by being physically present in the production office, without impacting my ability to care for the children in the manner to which they are accustomed."

At first, according to Wendy, Ralph agreed to the move, along with a "timeshare schedule" for the children "which was painstakingly worked out considering each of our calendars, as well as the children's activities, with the assistance of our third-party mediator.

"Based on Respondent's agreement, and with Respondent's approval, which he personally communicated to me, I advised Respondent that I would look into schools and the children have been accepted for fall enrollment at...an excellent and very reputable educational institution in the Los Angeles area, and I have found and committed to purchase a home in close proximity to both the school and the CNN office in Los Angeles, which will perfectly suit all of the children's needs.

"I advised Respondent of the children's acceptance at [the school] and he agreed that I should pay the $4000 deposit required to secure their places, which I promptly did."

But then Ralph began to balk, saying he didn't want to move to L.A. Wendy charged that it was just part of Ralph's scheme to obtain a financial settlement from her. "In a recent discussion between us, Respondent stated he would 'fight' me to prevent the move at all costs.

"Approximately two days later, he stated he 'did not mean it,' [and] reinstated his agreement for the second time, but this time stated that if my move to Los Angeles and the custody issues are 'part of an overall settlement' on all issues, then he will agree. By doing so, Respondent is attempting to pressure me into a financial settlement in exchange for a custody agreement which is inappropriate and unrelated to the best interests of the children.

"In light of the facts and circumstances of this case, particularly Respondent's travel schedule and his access and regular use of two private jets, the move to Los Angeles will not substantially impact his timeshare with the children. In addition, Respondent has stated to me on more than one occasion that he will also move to Los Angeles, following the children and me."

Wendy also fretted over whether Ralph was really up to taking care of the children when he had them, and related several stories to illustrate her assertion that he was prone to neglect them. "On the weekend of January 9, 2004, Respondent requested and I agreed that he could take the children to our home in Sun Valley [Idaho] from Friday after school through Sunday at approximately noon.

"On Saturday evening at approximately 8:00 p.m., Respondent called me from Sun Valley and advised me that [our daughter] had a fever. He asked me, 'How high should it be before I worry?' He did not know what medication to administer, nor where it was located in the house.

"In addition, on their return from Sun Valley on Sunday, [our daughter's] hair was in such severe knots as a result of not having been washed and/or combed for the two days she was with Respondent that I had to spend an hour and a half washing and combing it out to restore it to its normal state.

"When I stated to Respondent that [her] hair must be combed each morning and each evening to avoid such a problem, he said, 'Oh, I'll do better next time.' As recently as yesterday evening, Respondent phoned me during his custodial time to ask me which child was to be picked up first from their respective after-school activities. Several times Respondent has taken [our daughter] to school without her books."

Another worry, Wendy claimed, was Ralph's increasingly "erratic and unstable" psychological state. Ralph "has telephoned me and/or come over to my house and harassed me with respect to issues relating to these proceedings," she alleged, describing a heated scene one evening after she had returned home with their son.

Ralph, she said, "was in the kitchen and began to discuss issues relating to these proceedings. I left the room to defuse the situation, but he followed me and accused me of not being willing to 'settle this,' yelled at me about allegedly trying to 'throw him out of the house' when, in fact, he voluntarily vacated same, and called me names such as 'selfish.'

"To remove myself from this situation, I went to the bedroom, where Respondent followed me. I then went into the bathroom. He again followed me, pointing his finger and still yelling at me. When I asked Respondent to leave, he said, 'Call someone to get me thrown out.'

"I then went to my office and called the mediator in an attempt to avoid a further confrontation with Respondent. Respondent got on the phone with the mediator, yelled at him, too, and finally left. He subsequently apologized for this behavior.

"On more than one occasion," said Wendy, her husband had "gone into a tirade, hurling abusive language and insults at me, followed by yet another phone call, the only apparent purpose of which was to 'chat' as if the former had never transpired.

"On Saturday, March 20, 2004," according to Wendy's account, Ralph had "engaged in one such tirade at our son's T-ball game, in front of several other parents. Respondent proceeded to scold me, accusing me of 'wanting this divorce,' 'taking away the children,' etc. I did not do anything to provoke these comments. Parents were staring at us and I was reduced to tears."

And there were other scenes, Wendy said. "On Saturday, May 8, 2004, the day of [our son's] birthday party, while we were at [our daughter's] basketball game, Respondent again raised issues relating to these proceedings in public. Respondent stated his displeasure about an administrative issue (continuance of Status Conference) and was unhappy about my desire for a shorter continuance than his attorneys requested.

"I did not feel it was appropriate to discuss such a thing in public and walked away in order to remove myself. I went to my car and Respondent proceeded to follow me and scold me. Shortly after I drove away, Respondent called me on my cell phone and apologized for making such a scene on the date of [the] birthday party.

"As a result of the very stressful circumstances surrounding our separation, arising from Respondent's conduct (which I prefer to not now disclose), it is extremely difficult and emotionally taxing for me when Respondent comes into my home and proceeds to harass and berate me. Respondent comes into my bedroom uninvited and unannounced (he recently entered my bedroom while he knew I was inside), without so much as knocking on the closed door, to get a DVD.

"I was in bed and he knows from my practice during the marriage that when the door is closed I am in bed. Conversely, I have not even entered the beach house where Respondent lives since our separation. Respondent is extremely controlling and emotionally abusive, which conduct is manifested by a myriad of behaviors ranging from his criticism and insults regarding my physical appearance and scolding me for menial household tasks, to belittling me in the presence of others, particularly in the presence of our children."

Ralph had blamed her for their marital troubles, said Wendy. But, she insisted, was that "the reason for the breakdown of our marriage was my discovery of Respondent's six-year-long pattern of infidelity and verbal and emotional abuse."

In his response to Wendy's allegations, filed this July, Ralph denied that he had ever abused his wife. And he added that Wendy had even asked him to come back to the estate to deal with a small family emergency. On June 28 of this year, said Ralph, Wendy had "telephoned me and requested that I return to our former family residence in Rancho Santa Fe in order to tell our children that their dog was missing and died the night before as a result of being attacked by a coyote.

"I, of course, complied with Petitioner's request. When I arrived at the Rancho Santa Fe residence on June 28, 2004, Petitioner took me into her bathroom and tried to hug and hold me. Petitioner and I then went downstairs, and I told our children what had occurred with respect to their dog. Petitioner and I comforted our children for approximately one hour. Petitioner then followed me outside the house and sat with me on the front steps."

Ralph accused Wendy of "unilaterally" enrolling their children in a Los Angeles school. "She did so without my knowledge or consent. She also took unilateral steps, including securing a promise of third-party 100 percent financing to purchase a home in Beverly Hills, despite limitations on the use of community property funds.

"It has become clear to me that Petitioner is attempting to seek orders from the Court to minimize my custodial time with our children in order to place herself in a better position to argue to the Court that she should be able to move with our children to Los Angeles on a permanent basis next summer.

"I am against any such move and do not believe that it is in our children's best interest." He added that Wendy had plenty of money of her own; by his estimate, she earned more than a million dollars a year as Larry King's executive producer.

In a telephone interview this week, Ralph, referring to Wendy's allegations, insisted, "There is not a word of truth in any of that." He added that "Wendy has disavowed and apologized for that and has fired the lawyers who wrote that." Ralph said he did not respond to many of the charges made in his wife's declaration in his court filing because "I have preferred to post my side of the story in private, out of consideration for Wendy, the children, and our friends." The couple's divorce, however, is proceeding, he confirmed.

Reached by telephone for her response, Wendy, who is still living at her estate on the Ranch, declined to discuss on the record her allegations against Ralph or anything else, including the couple's financial settlement. Instead, she released a short written statement. "I am sorry that you feel the need to write about the sadness of a broken marriage. Ralph and I remain great friends and we are dedicated to our children. Ralph is a good father, and we have reached a custody agreement on our own. I have replaced the lawyers who suggested that I file that declaration."

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