Published July 18, 2006
NEW YORK – A 19-year-old former employee of Christie Brinkley's husband, Peter Cook, says he hired her and seduced her with lavish gifts, then attempted to woo her back with repeated notes and phone calls after she broke off the affair.
Diana Bianchi told the New York Post for Tuesday editions that Cook, 47, made advances on her shortly after she took a job at his architecture firm, adding that at the time she was "a little naive."
The interview appeared less than a week after Brinkley, the 52-year-old supermodel, announced through publicist Elliot Mintz that she and Cook, her fourth husband, had separated. They married in 1996 and have a daughter
Bianchi said she first met Cook when she was a 17-year-old toy store clerk, but he made his intentions clear when she was a year older and his employee, typing in a computer document as she stood by his desk, "How would you feel if I told you I was attracted to you?"
"And I was like, 'Uh, I dunno,'" Bianchi said. "I didn't really answer him. I was kind of thinking, 'Are you serious? Are you kidding?' I really didn't know what to do at that point."
Bianchi's attorney, Joseph Tacopina, told the Post that the pair had a sexual relationship that spanned about one year. Speaking to The Associated Press, the lawyer described the couple's relationship as consensual, but claimed Cook's role as employer and his gifts of a car, money and jewelry could possibly constitute sexual harassment.
A message left for Cook at his Long Island architecture firm Monday was not immediately returned.
Mintz said he had no comment on Bianchi's claims, which emerged in press reports Monday, though he told the Post he did not believe Brinkley and the teenager had met.
Brinkley is "just a woman who at this moment is completely preoccupied with the protection of her children, trying to isolate them from all of this coverage, and trying to heal," he said.
Tacopina said that Bianchi, an aspiring singer, quit her job at Cook's firm within a few months after she started in May 2005 because, Tacopina said, she felt uncomfortable.
"Being put in the position that (Cook) put her in, which was to be financially dependent on him ... as long as she provided sex — that's the relationship that the law frowns upon when you're an employer and an employee," he said.
Tacopina said he had no immediate plans for a law suit.
Brinkley was previously married to Jean-Francois Allaux, singer Billy Joel and developer Richard Taubman.