A judge today urged Phil Collins and his ex-wife to thrash out their differences over Zoom instead of going to trial over claims she and her new husband are unlawfully occupying the singer’s $40m Miami mansion, DailyMail.com can reveal.
The rock icon, 69, insists Orianne Cevey-Collins has no right to live in his palatial waterfront property with her new husband Thomas Bates, 31, and wants her kicked out.
But a court heard today that Collins had agreed to mediation with his jewelry designer ex, 46, who claims it’s just as much her home as his under a ‘verbal cohabitation agreement’ and wants $20m to leave.
A judge has urged Phil Collins and his ex-wife to come to an agreement on Zoom. The musician sought an injunction this month to have Cevey and her husband kicked out of his palatial waterfront home in Miami Beach, Florida. Pictured in 2016
The legendary hitmaker, 69, pictured on Tuesday using a stick for assistance before he was helped into a wheelchair, is trying have his ex-wife Orianne Cevey evicted from his Miami mansion
Frail: Phil Collins appeared frail as he arrived at a music studio in London to meet his Genesis bandmate Mike Rutherford for rehearsals on Tuesday. He recently underwent a series of back operations hence the use of a walking stick and wheelchair
Collins is currently in London rehearsing for an upcoming Genesis reunion but will come face to face with Orianne and aspiring musician Bates – albeit remotely via Zoom – when the crunch talks begin Friday.
The estranged couple’s lawyers are due in Miami Dade Circuit Court Monday to contest an injunction filed by Collins demanding that Orianne and her younger husband vacate the seven-bed home immediately.
But Judge Spencer Eig urged the former flames – who have two children together – to and try sort the ugly dispute behind closed doors.
‘The court will issue an order then compelling mediation by close of business Friday,’ he told a preliminary hearing. ‘Everyone can participate on Zoom.’
Phil Collins’ ex-wife Orianne and new husband Thomas Bates leave their attorney’s office after a Zoom court hearing earlier this month
Close: In 2015, the couple famously decided to give their romance another go – and all seemed to be well but they never remarried
Orianne’s attorney Richard Wolfe agreed the trio would be ‘well served by an early mediation’.
His client, who hired but dismissed two previous lawyers before Wolfe took the case, was sat behind him throughout the ten-minute video conference but did not speak.
Wolfe added that Orianne and Bates had already agreed that Collins could retrieve his most prized possessions, including unpublished music, a platinum disc and a collection of historic artefacts from the Battle of the Alamo.
‘Whatever they claim in their motion, they can have it. They can have all the memorabilia, all the so-called Alamo collection. They are his, we don’t want it,’ he said.
‘Our position is we have just as much right to own this house and possess this house by virtue of an oral agreement.’
Collins’ attorney Jeff Fisher agreed to talks but cautioned that he had struggled to negotiate successfully with Orianne’s previous lawyers.
The singer, 69, suffered a major setback when Orianne made a counterclaim for $20 million – more than half the value of the house
Collins bought the home after he and Cevey rekindled their romance in 2015, following their 2008 split. Orianne made a counterclaim for $20 million who claims the house is just as much hers through an ‘oral agreement’
‘I won’t profess to be optimistic but lighting can strike and of course we will go to a mediation,’ he told the virtual hearing.
Judge Eig asked the two sides to ‘touch base’ with him Friday afternoon to see if the mediation was going well and whether Monday’s showdown, expected to last two days, would be needed.
He also urged them to ‘save taxpayers money’ by not printing out hefty binders of legal arguments.
Collins launched his drastic legal action two weeks ago after calling it quits with Orianne for the second time.
The pair married in 1999 and had two sons, Nicholas, 19, and Matthew, 15, before splitting seven years later.
Despite agreeing to a record $47m divorce settlement they surprised the world in 2016 when they announced they were back together and living in the Miami home, which Collins purchased through an LLC.
However the relationship ended, seemingly for good, when he discovered Orianne had ‘secretly’ married Bates in Las Vegas on August 2.
Inside the home, Collins has left behind memorabilia and unpublished music, as well as millions of dollars worth of jewelry
Orianne insists that having to leave the house immediately would be unfair on her youngest son, whom she shares custody with her other ex-husband Charles Mejjati, who lives in Miami
According to court filings, the Against All Odds crooner left in a hurry for Switzerland and gave the couple until October 12 to pack their bags and move so he could put the plush property up for sale.
When they failed to leave, Collins sued Orianne for unlawful detainer and forcible entry, accusing the pair of hiring armed guards, covering over security cameras and changing alarm codes to seize the house ‘by a show of force.’
The newlyweds hit back with their own filing, dismissing the allegations as ‘nothing more than a retaliation’ to the new marriage and a ‘shameful story’ that Collins had ‘fabricated’.
Orianne argues that she surrendered a $20m stake in her previous Miami home by getting a ‘quickie divorce’ from her previous husband, Charles Mejjati.
A tribute: Despite their troubles, the background on Phil’s phone on Tuesday seemed to show a picture with Orianne and their sons
She picked out and jointly furnished the waterfront mansion, paid her share of the bills for five years and had an ‘oral co-habitation agreement’ with Collins that entitled her and their two sons to be there, according to her filing.
Orianne also claims to have informed Collins about her marriage to Bates after making multiple attempts to talk about their ‘deteriorating relationship’ which she maintains he was unwilling to address.
The mother-of-three admits covering over security cameras but alleges that this was because Collins had 20 secret devices installed around the $12,000 sq ft residence to spy on her, including in her bathroom and changing room.
‘These cameras were installed without my knowledge or consent. I covered these cameras with Band-Aids in order to preserve my privacy and the privacy of my children in the Family Home,’ Orianne said in her filing.
‘I was greatly disturbed and outraged that Mr Collins apparently requested that hidden cameras be installed in these rooms.’
Orianne insists that having to leave the house would be especially unfair on her youngest son – a nine-year-old referred to in court documents only as A.A. – with whom she shares custody with Miami-based Mejjati.
Because her counterclaim for an ‘equitable interest’ in the home would likely exceed the maximum of $30,000 that can be awarded in the county courts, a judge decided last week to move it- to circuit court.
On Monday, Collins, who shares sons Nicholas, 19, and Matthew, 15, with Orianne, smiled as he rehearsed with Tony Banks and Mike, as they were pictured inside the studio
The development put Collins’ filling at the back of a long line of pending cases with court closures and pandemic restrictions expected to delay jury trials by a year or longer.
The British rock star – worth an estimated $300m – will now have to choose between paying his ex-wife off for the second time or facing off with her in a bitter, drawn-out court battle.
Hearings are typically held via Zoom, causing lengthy delays, and a court official said Tuesday that plans to hold future jury trials were still being figured out.
A court advisory issued last Thursday warned that someone working there had tested positive for Covid-19 and advised anyone who used the same rooms to self-isolate for 14 days.
Without an injunction Orianne and Bates can’t be forced to leave the Hacienda-style mansion, which was built in 1929 and boasts a pool, wine cellar and stunning views of Biscayne Bay and the downtown Miami skyline.
Orianne’s attorney, Richard Wolfe predicted the case could take three years go to trial if it wasn’t settled.
‘They came in, they were very punitive, very nasty. They wanted to throw Orianne and Thomas out of the house. But everything they tried to do on an expedited basis has been stopped,’ he told DailyMail.com before Wednesday’s hearing.
‘So in essence we had three wins: the injunction was stopped, we were able to move the case from the county court to the circuit court where we filed a $20m counterclaim and we were able to get the county court judge to agree that our claim stops their eviction.
‘I think the way this resolves is that we say, fine, let’s put the house up for sale, let’s split the money. My clients are being conciliatory, they’re doing all the right things. She just wants what’s fair and what he promised her.’