Johnny Hallyday: Children of 'French Elvis' challenge will that leaves everything to his fourth wife

World

The children of late French rock icon Johnny Hallyday will reportedly contest the decision in his will to leave all of his property and artistic rights to his widow and their adopted daughters.

Laura Smet, the second child of the singer who died last year, said she discovered “with amazement and pain” that Hallyday’s fourth wife Laeticia was the sole beneficiary to his estate, and not one single item had been left to her, according to her lawyers. 

Hallyday married Laeticia Boudou in 1996 and they adopted two Vietnamese-born daughters, Jade and Joy. The will also revealed that in the event of Laeticia Hallyday’s death, his estate will be inherited by his adopted children only.

Ms Smet’s lawyers said “not a guitar, not a motorbike, and not even the signed cover of the song ‘Laura’ which is dedicated to her” had been left to Ms Smet, Hallyday’s eldest daughter from his relationship with actress Nathalie Baye. 

David Hallyday, his eldest child and only son from his marriage to French singer Sylvie Vartan, is also excluded from the will. 

Ms Smet wrote an open letter addressed to her father to challenge the decision, which was passed by her lawyers to French news agency AFP.

“I learnt some days ago that you wrote a will that disinherits David [Ms Smet’s half-brother] and myself,” the letter reads, according to Europe1. “A few weeks before that, you were saying to be at the dinner table: ‘So, when are you going to have a baby?’ But what am I going to be able to pass on to them from you, you that I admire so much?”

She added: “So many questions without answers. All those times we had to hide to see each other and call each other. It’s still unbearable that I was not able to say goodbye, dad, do you know that at least?

“I am so proud to be your daughter. Every night you come to me in my dreams, I see you, you are handsome, without any tattoos, you are finally free and you run in the fog with an air of being completely lost and pure. 

“I hear you, dad, and I’ve chosen to fight. I would have preferred that this stayed in the family, but unfortunately in our family, it is like this. I’m proud to be your daughter, I love you, dad.”

Lawyers for the children are arguing that the will, which was signed under Californian law, is contradicted by French legislation that prevents children from being disinherited.

Hallyday died in December, aged 74, from lung cancer. The rocker was a mainstay on the French music scene for more than 50 years and was dubbed the “French Elvis”.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to pay their respects during his funeral. President Emmanuel Macron also paid tribute to the singer in a eulogy at the Madeleine church in Paris.

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