Court documents released today show Oscar-winner Halle Berry’s parenting dispute with her ex has a lot to do with race.
The Daily Mail reports that Gabriel Aubry, the father of Berry’s 6-year-old daughter, Nahla, made “completely and totally unacceptable” racial comments about Berry and straightened and dyed their daughter’s natural hair.
Halle contended in court that lightening and straightening Nahla’s hair caused the child “potential psychological and physical damage” and made her wonder “why her natural appearance is not good enough.” The judge for the case ruled today that neither parent can change anything about Nahla’s hair going forward.
A note in the court documents referred to comments made by another judge in the former couple’s recent custody case, reading, “The racial epithet made by Petitioner was and is completely and totally unacceptable. Nahla is a child of both of these parents, making this sort of comment about Respondent affect the very core and being of Nahla. And when Petitioner attacked Respondent for what she is and who she is, he was attacking Nahla because Nahla is part Respondent. And Nahla is part Petitioner. So when Petitioner did those things, that does serious damage to Nahla because he is attacking her core being, who she is.”
According to the Daily Mail, a source close to the family said Halle decided to take her ex to court after Nahla returned from visiting him with lighter hair that was damaged from being straightened.
“Halle kept asking and asking Gabriel about Nahla’s hair and he kept denying it,” the insider said. “What does this say to a six year old who’s half black? Her father is denying her identity. Halle then filed the court papers and Nahla’s curls came back.”
Halle also collected samples of Nahla’s hair and had them analyzed by a lab to confirm that they had been dyed and straightened, according to the court documents.
Halle and Gabriel split in 2010 after four years together. Their lengthy custody dispute over Nahla, their only daughter, included a judge banning Halle from moving with Nahla to France.
The Daily Mail reports that Halle is also seeking to reduce her monthly child support payments; currently, she pays Gabriel $16,000 monthly and she’s seeking to reduce that amount to $3,800, documents show.
“I continue to hope that Gabriel and I can find a way to work together to be successful co-parents,” she wrote in court papers. “It was with regret that I concluded that I had to seek the court’s intervention on these issues, but until Gabriel recognizes the meaning of joint legal custody and how it is implemented, it appears that the court will be my only resort to safeguard Nahla’s best interests.”