Hollywood has seen some weird stories over the years, but what happened last week was incredibly bizarre, even by movie standards. Nothing, it seems, could quite prepare people for the spectacle and social media fallout that followed after Olivia Wilde mysteriously received custody documents onstage at CinemaCon.
Wilde – who shares two children with Jason Sudeikis, to whom she was once engaged – was speaking to show a trailer for her upcoming film, the psychological thriller “Don’t Worry Darling”, to theater owners. The convention marked Wilde’s first major introduction to the industry from the film she directed, which stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. Here’s another wrinkle: Styles also happens to be Wilde’s real beau, which means almost everyone involved is a bold name.
“It’s for me?” a bewildered Wilde asked when a manila envelope was suddenly handed to him onstage by an unidentified individual who appears to be a process server. Dealing with the matter on the spot, Wilde did not flinch and continued his presentation where the first images of the film were shown.
Sudeikis said he didn’t know his ex would be served with custody papers at CinemaCon.
“Documents have been drawn up to establish jurisdiction over the children of Ms. Wilde and Mr. Sudeikis,” a source said in a statement to Variety. “Mr. Sudeikis had no prior knowledge of when or where the envelope would have been delivered, as that would depend only on the processing service company involved and he would never tolerate it being served as such an inappropriate way.
How could it be possible that an A-list star didn’t know that the A-list mother of her children would be served paperwork in the middle of a high-profile business event? Does that make any sense?
“It’s highly unlikely. Although a lawyer is not required to consult with a client before deciding how and when to serve, it is done routinely in the field to avoid these kinds of appearance mistakes,” David said. Glass, a specialist in family law. Varietyadding that while it’s “possible” the Sudeikis wouldn’t have known, it’s not “likely”.
To add to the mystery, CinemaCon doesn’t announce its lineup in advance, nor does Warner Bros., the studio distributing “Don’t Worry Darling.” This means that members of the public would not have known that Wilde would be attending the convention, so the usher would have received advance information about Wilde’s whereabouts in order to show up at the exact time of his presentation. Tickets to CinemaCon, a commercial (no fan) event, are over $1,200. At that price, would a process server really have paid its own way into the event, without clearing it first?
“The family law attorney will generally consult with their client to find out where and when the other party can be found and how they will be served,” adds Glass.
The legal expert, who also holds a doctorate in psychology, explains that it is usually the lawyer – not the bailiff – who proposes the method of service and then sends the documents to the bailiff. “Usually the lawyer gives several ideas of where and when to serve, a photo, maybe the description of the car and tells the process server how you would like it done,” says Glass. “It’s extremely rare for a process server to research and figure out how to serve.”
Given that Sudeikis and Wilde are both public figures who have managers on their payroll (who work to avoid these kinds of public incidents), the expert says it’s even more unlikely than he might there was no consultation or sensitization. “Celebrities have CEOs, agents, and in this case, a lawyer,” Glass says. “All are responsible for protecting their client.”
When contacted by Variety, a Sudeikis representative declined to comment for this story. Wilde’s rep did not respond for comment.
Glass says service of custody papers is usually done at a time when the children aren’t around, so perhaps when the parent involved is at home, at work or at the gym. But the public place would not be necessary, unless there is a particular reason for making such a statement, or it is the only where you might find the individual.
“It’s a relatively simple process, and this kind of service is usually unnecessary, unless the person has been evading service for a while, and that was the only way to serve them,” says Glass.
That doesn’t seem to be the case with Wilde, who hasn’t really been in hiding lately. She is regularly photographed by the paparazzi and last month she was spotted at Coachella watching Styles perform.
Sudeikis says he had no prior knowledge of the situation. But whatever his awareness, the story has now burst into the public sphere. This means that it will undoubtedly come to the attention of the judge. Variety’The lawyer’s legal expert says this could impact the court’s decision in the custody battle, although many other considerations are also taken into account.
“One of those factors is how the parties treat each other and whether each parent supports the other parent in their role. That wasn’t done here by the Sudeikis team,” says Glass.
“Unfortunately, because both children are of primary school age, they can hear about it from friends, who have heard about it from their parents or via the Internet. It’s a bad start for a business. custody where the children should be protected as much as possible,” Glass adds. “I hope the parties will get into custody mediation, figure out how they will share their two children, and keep the rest of this matter out of the press. “