Published July 09, 2008
| Associated Press
CENTRAL ISLIP, New York –
A court-appointed psychiatrist sized up Christie Brinkley's ill-fated fourth marriage Tuesday, saying the model needs to examine her taste in men and her cheating husband is a narcissist with a bottomless ego.
But between them, Brinkley should get custody of their two children, Dr. Stephen Herman said at their divorce trial.
Herman's testimony added a dispassionate, but intimate viewpoint to a case piled high with dirty laundry. Brinkley's estranged husband, architect Peter Cook, has admitted having an affair with a teenager who worked in his office and spending thousands of dollars on Internet pornography.
Herman had harsh words for Cook in a report for the court, saying the architect had an insatiable ego and "needs constant reassurance that he is a terrific guy."
But Brinkley "needs to start working on deeper issues" — including "her choice of male figures," Herman said under questioning by the children's attorney, Theresa Mari. He said the former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model needs therapy as "an outlet for her anger and feeling of betrayal" by her unfaithful husband. Herman called for therapy for Cook, too.
Brinkley was cool to the idea.
"I'm not sure I'm a huge fan of psychotherapy. I believe there are other ways to deal with this," she testified later. But she added that she "would do whatever it takes to convince the court" to grant her custody of the children, 10 and 13.
The psychiatrist, who met with the family 11 times, said that shared custody "is not at all a viable option."
But he later agreed that both Brinkley and Cook had been "superb" parents. And he said Cook should be involved in his children's lives — caring for them if their mother is away on business, for instance.
Brinkley and Cook were married for a decade before his affair vaulted their troubles into public light in 2006. The trial has focused on his teenage mistress and his online sex quests. He has apologized for both.
Cook's lawyer, Norman Sheresky, accused Brinkley Tuesday of seeking to "publicly flog" her husband, noting that she had supported keeping the trial open to the public.
"Absolutely not," a feisty and combative Brinkley retorted. "I didn't want this trial. It's humiliating for all of us. ... I really, really wanted to settle this."
She said most of the scandal had been aired in the newspapers before the trial.
"I think I have done absolutely the best to hide any feelings I have about this from the children," she said. "For two years, I concealed all of this. I'm just trying to give the children the kind of life they had before."
Brinkley also has a daughter, Alexa Ray Joel, 22, with singer-songwriter Billy Joel. Their daughter testified that Cook picked on her and once shoved her head into a bucket of water after she showered too long and caused a plumbing problem; he denied it.
The court heard testimony last week from Cook, 49, and Diana Bianchi, who was 18 during their affair. Cook said he gave Bianchi a $300,000 payoff and had trysts with her in his office and Brinkley's Hamptons homes.
Infidelity was "certainly the immediate cause" of the marriage's collapse, Herman said, "but I think there were problems before."
As for Cook's Internet porn habit, Herman said adults should be able to engage in Internet sex if they do so in total privacy, without children finding out.