You might think of the caretakers for celebrities’ kids as fully behind-the-scenes people. And for the most part, they are. In the good times, we hear about them when celebrities thank their nannies profusely in acceptance speeches, acknowledging that they couldn’t do what they do without the love, care, and support their nannies provide. Or we hear from celebrities who have been vocal about trying to keep babysitting to a minimum by putting their careers on pause or by enlisting the help of family and friends.
It’s in the bad times that we really hear about the nannies for celebrity children. It’s only when they come forward with lawsuits alleging unfair work conditions or wrongful termination by the celebrities they work for that we learn their names and the problems they are allegedly facing. Unfortunately, we see more of these cases than we’d like. Because we hate to hear that people are allegedly overworked, underpaid, slandered, and the likes. We hate to hear that it’s widely-adored celebrities who are allegedly creating these environments and harassing the people who play such a huge role in physically caring for and nurturing their kids. And we hate to hear that these could be elaborate money grabs.
Ahead are some of the celebrities — like Olivia Wilde, Jason Sudeikis, Rob Lowe, and Mel B — who have had lawsuits filed against them by former nannies. Some of these cases get settled, some get a whole lot of pushback from celebrities and result in years-long battles, and some seem to disappear into a void.
Olivia Wilde & Jason Sudeikis
In Feb. 2023, exes Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis were sued by their former nanny, Ericka Genaro. She alleged wrongful termination, claiming the actors fired her when she requested medical leave for mental health issues that she said developed while working for the couple.
In the complaint, Genaro alleges she experienced “unbearable” and “extreme” anxiety and stress while caring for the former couple’s kids — Otis (b. 2014) and Daisy (b. 2016) — after they split in Nov. 2020. Genaro said she felt like she had to “pick sides” and that the pressure of being the primary caretaker while “filling in Wilde’s absence for the children” was “debilitating.”
When the suit was filed, a representative for the Ted Lasso star said he stands by the joint statement the former couple shared after an anonymous former nanny shared alleged details with The Daily Mail in Oct. 2022 about the couple’s breakup. It is unclear if that anonymous nanny is Genaro.
“As parents, it is incredibly upsetting to learn that a former nanny of our two young children would choose to make such false and scurrilous accusations about us publicly,” Wilde and Sudeikis said at the time. “Her now 18-month-long campaign of harassing us, as well as loved ones, close friends, and colleagues, has reached its unfortunate apex. We will continue to focus on raising and protecting our children with the sincere hope that she will now choose to leave our family alone.”
The former couple reportedly demanded the case be moved to arbitration and thus outside the public eye. In Aug. 2023, Genaro filed documents saying she “doesn’t remember signing the agreement,” that it was not explained to her by Wilde, and that she wasn’t told to have a lawyer review it.
Lisa Marie Presley
Singer Lisa Marie Presley and former nanny Christine White duked it out back in August 2010 when White filed a lawsuit claiming she was forced to work outrageous hours without breaks.
“Ms. White was regularly required to work more than 12 hours without at least a three-hour break wherein she was relieved of all duties,” the documents said. “Ms. White was regularly required to work 24 hours straight without the required 12-hour break or being paid one and one half times Plaintiff’s regular rate.”
Lisa Marie countersued, claiming White broke her contract by taking more than 160 unauthorized photos of her twins Finley and Harper (b. 2008).
Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon
Mariah Carey — who shares twins Moroccan and Monroe (b. 2011) with ex Nick Cannon — has been sued by multiple nannies.
In 2015, she and Cannon were sued by former nanny Simonette DaCosta for $100 thousand. DaCosta claimed she worked “well over” 100 hours a week but was never paid overtime. The case was settled that year but the details have not been released.
Four years later, Carey was sued by former nanny Maria Burgues. Burgues alleged she was underpaid, making $25 with no overtime compensation for traveling with Carey and her twins. She also claimed she was “routinely yelled at” by the twins’ bodyguard, making her feel “threatened.”
As of May 2023, Sean “Diddy” Combs was trying to get his former nanny Raven Wales-Walden’s lawsuit dismissed, saying she wasn’t wrongfully terminated. Rather, he alleged, she just didn’t do her job well.
In Sept. 2022, Wales-Walden filed a suit in which she claimed to be the niece of Diddy’s late romantic partner (and mother of his children), Kim Porter. Wales-Waden then said the rapper fired her in Jan. 2021 “because she was pregnant and unmarried, which purportedly set a bad example for [his] daughters.”
At the time, a spokesperson for Diddy called the lawsuit a “meritless shakedown to extort money.” The statement then said that Wales-Waden is not the niece of Porter “as she falsely alleges.”
“Her babysitting services were always intended to be temporary especially since the girls were getting older and spending most of the day at school,” the statement said. “In fact, Raven’s transition out of her role was planned and agreed to by her long before she even mentioned that she was pregnant. Mr. Combs will take swift and immediate action to protect his family against these false claims.”
Rob Lowe had an unexpected nanny lawsuit experience. In 2008, the actor wrote a piece for Huff Post, alleging that his former nanny Jessica Gibson was threatening to spread “a vicious laundry list of false terribles” if he and his wife Sheryl Berkoff didn’t pay her $1.5 million.
“It is an attempt to damage and humiliate not only my wife and me, but our two young sons as well. My family is devastated at this betrayal; this woman worked in our home and traveled with us off and on for seven years, without complaint. In fact, she left other jobs to return to work for us three different times,” he wrote before sharing kind text messages from “Jess” that sound like she left on good terms.
Lowe sued Gibson for blackmail. Days later, she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Lowe and his wife, saying he had exposed himself to her and groped her. A year later, the legal battle came to an end when both sides reportedly asked that their lawsuits be dismissed. It’s not known if there was a financial settlement.
In May 2013, Usher’s former nanny, Cecilia Duncan, sued him for unpaid overtime. She alleged she often worked more than a typical 40-hour work week and was not compensated. Duncan allegedly discussed the matter with the singer and said nothing was done to fix the problem. She was ultimately fired without being paid overtime. She reportedly requested six figures in the suit.
Though Anna Wintour herself was not sued, several unnamed defendants were sued by Wintour’s former nanny, Lori Feldt in 2000 for $50 million. Feldt claimed she suffered “severe and permanent neurological injuries” while working for the editor of Vogue. In 1997, Wintour’s home was the target of anti-fur protestors who spray painted red paw prints on the steps leading to the townhouse followed by the words “fur hag.”
Wintour asked Vogue’s publisher, Condé Nast, to send a crew to clean up the graffiti. The paint remover was allegedly “highly toxic” and caused Feldt to pass out.
The case was settled in 2004 for more than $2.1 million.
Halsey’s former nanny, Ashley Funches, sued the singer in 2022 for alleged wrongful termination. The suit said Halsey fired her after she requested a leave of absence for a medical procedure. The former caretaker also claimed she was fired for complaining about overtime wages. Funches then received $5,000 for said claim.
A representative for Halsey called the medical leave allegations “baseless.”
“This individual’s employment was recently terminated in response to specific incidents in which Halsey’s infant was left unsupervised in an unsafe location while under the nanny’s care, and it was discovered the nanny was intoxicated while the child was in her care.”
Sharon Stone was sued by two household employees — less than a year apart. In 2012, former nanny Erlinda Elemen claimed the actress insulted her heritage, culture, religion, and accent, and that she was fired after Stone found out she was paid overtime during holidays and while traveling with the family.
Stone’s publicist called the claims an “absurd” cash grab. The case was settled the following year.
In 2013, Stone was sued by housekeeper Angelica Castillo, who claimed she suffered severe back pain while lifting Stone’s groceries and was required to return to work and lift heavy objects despite her doctor’s orders not to.
“While the plaintiff was still in severe pain, Stone repeatedly yelled at the plaintiff for performing her duties more slowly and called her ‘crazy’ and ‘stupid,’” the suit said. It also said she was fired that same day.
Bruce Willis & Demi Moore
Kim Tannahill was a nanny for Bruce Willis and Demi Moore for three years, from March 1994 to Aug. 1997. Six months later, the former caretaker filed a lawsuit against the then-couple, claiming they verbally and physically abused her.
Tannahill claimed that Moore and Willis “shamelessly exploited and abused [her]…during [her] employment and thereafter.”
Allegedly, Moore once locked Tannahill in a room and physically restrained her for more than an hour, and verbally “beat” her. There were claims of fraud, assault, false imprisonment, stalking, invasion of privacy, and civil rights violations. In a second suit in a federal court, Tannahill claimed she was not paid overtime wages.
Willis and Moore’s attorney called the claims “utter fiction” an “attempt to get money through extortion.” The then-couple sued Tannahill for slander, breach of confidentiality and allegedly charging personal expenses to the couple’s credit cards and accounts.
Both suits were ultimately thrown out and dismissed.
Mel B made some costly claims about her former nanny Lorraine Gilles following the Spice Girls star’s split from husband Stephen Belafonte. Mel B called Gilles a “prostitute” and claimed Belafonte impregnated Gilles and then used Mel B’s money for an abortion. Mel B also claimed Belafonte coerced the then-nanny to join the then-couple in sexual acts. Gilles sued the America’s Got Talent judge for libel and the case was settled with Mel B shelling out $2.35 million.
Alanis Morissette allegedly didn’t pay her nanny overtime wages either. Former night nurse Bianca Cambeiro claimed she was not compensated for overtime and that she was forced to work 12-hour shifts without breaks. In the suit, she asked for $30,000 for unpaid wages and $100,000 in damages for physical, mental, and emotional injuries, distress, pain, and suffering, and more.
Celebrity chef Curtis Stone was sued in Sept. 2022 by former nanny Melissa Talley who said she “feared for her life” when she confronted him about “poor working conditions.” She also claimed she wasn’t paid overtime and that she was “harassed” and fired when she told Stone about her concerns. She is claiming wrongful termination and seeking $25 thousand in damages. In Nov. 2022, Stone’s lawyers filed 15 defenses and said he denies “each and every allegation.”
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