Late Painter's Wife, Mistress Duke It Out

As you might imagine, when a more than $66 million estate is up for grabs, things can get ugly, and it's almost a certainty when the bickering parties are widow and girlfriend. That's the hair-raising scenario playing out in court for the estate of late painter Thomas Kinkade.

Kinkade Estate Scandal

The first estate hearing since Thomas Kinkade died this spring happened earlier this week in San Jose, California. And it looks like we're in for a doozy.

At stake is more than $66 million.

The Associated Press reports Amy Pinto-Walsh says she's entitled to at least $10 million, which she claims the artist wanted her to use to establish a "Thomas Kinkade Museum" at his mansion — the latter of which she claims is also hers.

And the girlfriend says she has proof.

During Tuesday's court proceeding, Pinto-Walsh submitted notes, allegedly written by Kinkade, bequeathing the mansion and $10 million to her.

The San Jose Mercury News acknowledged the documents were signed, but "are not legible."

"Signatures on his marriage separation papers 18 months earlier are much more clear," the paper reports.

You can have a look at, admittedly, the chicken scratch here by scrolling down.

The woman Kinkade had been estranged from, wife of 30 years Nanette, is also saying in as many words: Hold up.

In court papers, Nanette Kinkade paints a nasty picture of her "rival," claiming she's a gold-digger who is "trying to cheat the artist's rightful heirs," the AP reports.

The widow has gone so far as to obtain a restraining order preventing Pinto-Walsh from speaking in public about her late husband.

Of course, Pinto-Walsh paints a different picture. According to court papers, the couple was "deeply in love," and planned to marry after the divorce had gone through.

The artist had been legally separated from his wife for more than two years.

Pinto-Walsh's relationship coincides somewhat with the amount of time Nanette and Thomas Kinkade had been separated — the San Jose Mercury News reports the couple started dating around 18 months prior to Kinkade's death in early April.

It was Pinto-Walsh who found the painter best known for his landscapes dead in the home they shared.

A Valium and alcohol overdose has been blamed for the 54-year-old's death.

Image courtesy The Thomas Kinkade Company/Wikimedia Commons

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