Montel Williams’ two children say the talk show host, who tried to paint himself as a responsible and devoted father, has all but abandoned them amid a bitter custody battle.
“My dad is now like a stranger,” his 14-year-old daughter, Wyntergrace, tells the ‘New York Daily News’. “Everyone knows him as a great guy, but he’s not making the best choices as a parent.”
Williams, who won Emmys hosting his daytime show, currently hosts a radio show and sells a number of products for ‘Living Well’.
But, despite receiving over $18,000 a month in child support for the two of them, the kids say they are missing the emotional support they need.
“I wouldn’t say I really have a relationship with my dad,” she says. “He’s not in my life right now. It’s his choice. I eat every night. I’m comfortable, but I can’t say I have him as a father. There’s all this fighting over things that shouldn’t be a fight, like paying for my PSAT.”
Wyntergrace says she’s seen him four times in five years and their last meeting didn’t go well.
“He walked in already mad. He said he thought we were going to dinner, but my email clearly said we were going to see my therapist,” she explains. “It was intimidating. I was thinking, ‘Why should I talk if I’m just going to get yelled at?’”
In response to the story, Montel says he doesn’t want to get into it: “I love my children very much. I do not believe parenting is best done in a public forum and I will not comment on ongoing legal action involving my minor children.”
Montel and Grace Morley, who divorced in 2000, have joint custody, and have been engaged in a 10 year fight over the children. Morley wants full custody but the 53-year-old is refusing to give up his decision making power.
“He has been trying to go out to dinner with them, to call them, to speak to them. And he’s been unable to accomplish that at a reasonable level,” his lawyer said, according to a transcript.
My response to this story:
After supporting my husband through his battle, with his ex-wife, over their son for nearly a decade, I am never quick to believe the whole “the father abandoned his kids” story. I know that there is always more than one side to the story. It’s just that the custodial mom’s side is the one that is often told and sympathized with by the court system. Additionally, it’s unfortunate that the kids walk away from these type of situations with a tainted view of their father which is often based on half truths.
That being said, let me point out some of the inconsistencies that I see in this story.
- I know more than a few actual deadbeat fathers. These fathers have never supported their children. They walked away and didn’t look back. They have evaded the child support system and aren’t the least bit interested in financially or emotionally supporting their children. I know a few of these fathers personally! Out of all of them, NONE have paid child support or engaged in a 10 year fight with their ex over anything. Why would a man battle over children that he has supposedly abandoned and doesn’t care about? What I have seen, however, are custodial moms who make it darn near impossible for a man to remain actively involved, but then complain that he’s not involved, and those fathers are the ones who have been fighting for years to remain even minimally involved in their children’s lives.
- Those same deadbeat dads that I mentioned earlier don’t have or desire to have joint custody. They don’t refuse to give up their decision making power over kids they don’t care about.
- I also don’t know fathers who supposedly abandon their children, but try to call them, speak to them or have dinner with them, but has been unable to at a reasonable level. BUT, I do know custodial moms who are completely unreasonable when it comes to the terms by which the father can see his children. For example, you can see them only if you come to my house and your wife is not around. Or, you can see them from 1-3pm, on a weekday, when she knows the father has to work. Williams’ lawyer is probably referring to similar terms when he alleges that he has been unable to see them at a reasonable level.
As I stated, there is always more than one side to these contentious ex-husband vs. ex-wife/mother vs father stories and the kids are often times caught in the middle. Additionally, they are left to draw their own conclusions, which are usually based on half truths or just plain lies. Dads in this situation usually try to protect their children by not revealing their side of the story, hoping that one day the truth will come out on its own. The problem is that these children have often endured years of mom’s story and begin to believe that it’s the whole truth and nothing but. And by the time dad has an opportunity to tell his story, when the kids are older, the kids often times, don’t want to hear it.
I hope that Montel Williams can work it out with his children. More importantly, I hope that Grace Morley supports their relationship because it is what’s best for them.