Author Dan Brown’s ex-wife cites new TV series in bitter divorce battle

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Dan Brown, author of the “Da Vinci Code”
Image Credit: The New York Times

“The Lost Symbol of Dan Brown,” a series that premiered on Peacock last week with ace symbologist Robert Langdon, represents another high point in the lucrative career of one of the world’s best-selling mystery authors. all the time. But it also serves as a clue in someone else’s quest – that of his ex-wife, Blythe Brown.

The show is one of several projects involved in a legal battle over the author’s assets that dragged on long after Dan’s divorce from Blythe – which the author credited with helping establish his career – was finalized at the end of 2019.

In a lawsuit filed in June 2020, Blythe Brown alleged, in part, that her ex-husband underestimated financial assets during their divorce proceedings. She accused him of concealing future projects worth “millions”, according to his complaint, and demanded, among other things, three times the value of the allegedly undisclosed projects as well as the coverage of legal costs and fees. . At the time, Blythe told The Associated Press that she was primarily trying to declare her ‘personal worth’ and stand up for herself: “We worked so hard together, striving to build something meaningful. With great success. , we made a promise that we wouldn’t let this change us or our lives together. ”

Dan said he was keeping Blythe up to date on these plans.

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Dan Brown
Image Credit: NYT

The legal battle stems from a sworn financial affidavit the author submitted in October 2019 to Rockingham Superior Court in New Hampshire. In response to a question of whether he had “projects planned or underway”, he wrote “none”.

But Blythe’s legal team pointed to a series of emails and documents obtained via a subpoena that they say show plans that are anticipated or on track.

“[W]We now have Dan’s own words in the documents produced during the discovery, ”Harvey Wolkoff, Blythe’s attorney, said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “We believe these documents provide compelling evidence to support Blythe’s claim that at the time of the parties’ divorce, Dan had important ongoing television and book projects that he did not disclose. in the divorce papers. “

The allegations are “baseless,” Dan said through his lawyer, Joan Lukey.

“Blythe Brown was fully aware of all of her husband’s plans and creative endeavors throughout the marriage, including those that had yet to generate income or business success during their divorce,” Lukey said. “At the time of the divorce, he agreed to allocate more than half of the marital property to her. Six months later, she came back and sued for more.

Based on the international hit thriller “The Lost Symbol,” a sequel to the 2003 blockbuster “The Da Vinci Code,” Peacock’s new series follows Langdon as he is hired by the CIA to solve Masonic puzzles and derail a global conspiracy. The show – a CBS, Imagine Television and Universal Television co-production produced by Brown, Ron Howard and others – is among the projects Blythe claims Dan kept from her.

In a September 2018 email to his literary agent, Heide Lange, more than a year before completing the financial affidavit, the author wrote that the adaptation of the series was an “all-out home run. networks, “according to the subpoenaed emails, and that” we now have 3 bids; NBC, CBS, Fox, a bidding war will ensue. In May of the following year, he wrote to Lange suggesting that ‘he had signed an option agreement: “The NBC contract is now signed by all parties, including DB.

According to Blythe’s legal team, an appearance communication shows that in the months leading up to October 24, 2019, Dan was collaborating on the TV series – reviewing the pilot script; meeting with producers; go to Washington, DC, where the show is set, with the show’s lead writer at the time.

Blythe’s lawsuit in 2020 also alleged he did not disclose work on his children’s book “Wild Symphony,” published in September. According to the subpoena documents detailed in Blythe’s complaint, a publisher’s letter of offer for the children’s book was dated September 2018 and the memorandum of understanding – dated November 2018 – proposed an advance, a plan royalties and bonuses for building bestseller lists.

The following July, an editor at Penguin Random House informed the author and Lange via email that they had obtained a September 1, 2020 release date for “Wild Symphony,” according to the subpoenaed communications.

Dan responded in a counterclaim that he did not disclose “Wild Symphony” on this form because it was self-funded and had yet to recover more than a million dollars that he had invested. In this one. He announced last summer that US royalties would be donated to support children’s music education through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. But Blythe alleges it was her lawsuit that forced the donation. Several subpoena emails to his financial advisor suggest that was not the original plan. “[I]It looks like ‘Wild Symphony’ is going to be a lot bigger deal than I thought, “Dan wrote on September 12, 2019.” Hopefully this post will do a lot of investment work for you. “

In a statement to the LA Times, the author called “incredibly sad and disappointing” that Blythe “wanted to hurt me personally and professionally so much that she would even stoop to questioning my philanthropy.” He said she was well aware of his “decades-long commitment to charitable giving.”

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He added: “It makes perfect sense to allocate the proceeds of this project to teaching classical music and, of course, the timing of my donation is related to the project that comes to fruition, not its trial. “

Other emails uncovered by Blythe’s legal team suggest that Dan was also already at work on other Robert Langdon novels.

In June 2019, Lange wrote to the director of a Dutch publishing house about the author’s plans: the next book! – it is better that he does not program anything … “

The month he submitted the financial affidavit, Dan wrote to a UK editor saying, “I’ll keep the pen on paper”, and within days Lange received an email from Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, saying they were “ready to start negotiating” for his next book. Lange forwarded the email to Dan with a “For the information.”

In the lawsuit filed last June, Blythe alleged her ex-husband had led a double life during their marriage – including extramarital affairs with a Dutch horse trainer and other women as well as the secret purchase of two horses. Frisian value, named Da Vinci and Limited Edition, the latter for $ 345,000.

The following month, Dan filed a counter-suit alleging libel and slander, claiming that Blythe wanted to “destroy her heritage” and “publicly shame her”.

At that time, he told The Associated Press: “For reasons known only to her and possibly her lawyer, Blythe Brown has created through this trial a fictitious and vindictive account of aspects of our marriage designed to hurt and embarrass me. “

When the couple met in California in 1990, Brown was an aspiring singer-songwriter and Blythe Newlon was the director of artist development at the (now defunct) National Academy of Songwriters in Los Angeles. They moved to New Hampshire, Dan’s home state, where he continued to write and record music without success. The couple married in 1997. Brown focused on writing soon after, publishing “Digital Fortress”, “Angels & Demons” and “Deception Point” between 1998 and 2001.

Commercial success came in 2003 with ‘The Da Vinci Code’, which sold 200 million copies worldwide. T

“I was writing about the Louvre and the Grail, but it was Blythe who told me that I should also write about Marie-Madeleine. I probably wouldn’t have written [‘The Da Vinci Code’] without it, ”he once told the Daily Mail. “She is a great researcher. In the book’s acknowledgments, he thanked “Blythe – art historian, painter, frontline editor and arguably the most amazingly talented woman I’ve ever known.”

But Dan claimed in his counter-suit that the book’s massive success damaged their marriage. This trajectory could be the only thing on which the two parties agree.


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