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The YouTube Divorcée

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Shortly after, Cindy Adams ran an item announcing that Tricia was bucking for a postnup and that the couple was at war. Adams counseled Tricia to find herself a good lawyer. Now Tricia found a piece of paper in Philip’s jacket pocket listing all manner of psychiatric ailments: Schizophrenic. Bipolar. Borderline personality disorder. She inferred the mystery memo had something to do with her. “They were always kind of saying I was trash. But do they say that about Eugene O’Neill? He’s supposed to be the writer who writes the pain of his life, you know?”

Philip had actually filed for divorce way back in October. Tricia’s anxiety over any impending eviction appears to have escalated after she was served with papers in March and her psychics told her not to go to London or he’d change the locks. There was also that credit-card bill of some $46,000 for the month of February that Philip would only go halves on.

She was intimately familiar with YouTube: It was the only way she could visit with her son, now 26 and posting videos of himself using the name “BlondeAssasin,” clowning around with his friends. Fed up with Philip, Tricia got her roots done, found a cameraman on Google, and stoked Philip’s theater-world colleagues in advance of the video’s release with blind items e-mailed by one “April James.”

“This mogul has some very dark secrets and the wife apparently called his secretary on speakerphone and outed him on film,” reads an excerpt from the first.

Ten minutes after the video posted, Philip informed her he was going back to the office, said he’d forgotten his cane. He came back several days later to pick up his stuff.

After a stint with top-shelf divorce lawyer Eleanor Alter, who wanted her to ease off the press, her new lawyer, Raoul Felder, thought YouTube was genius, she says. But they fought when he wanted to go on the Today show with her (Felder denies he wanted to accompany her), and she went ahead and booked Good Morning America, which put her up at the Trump International Hotel & Tower, where NBC couldn’t get its mitts on her, she says. Like so many involved in high-profile divorces, Tricia is haunted by the notion that her lawyer might sell her out. Felder offered to secure her an apartment in trust worth a measly $750,000, which only buys a studio these days. “He said, you’re over, you’ve had your publicity, you can’t afford the court fees. I said, ‘Well, maybe the networks might pay because it’s a good reality show.’ ” She says Felder then bragged that Hollywood wanted him to do a reality show.

“Yeah, but you don’t have 3 million hits on YouTube,” she countered. (“I can’t talk about a lot of this, as it’s privileged, but I’ve never been approached to do a reality show,” says Felder.)

But behind some of this comedy lies a real tragedy. When her alcoholic auto-mechanic brother Kevin lost everything in a divorce, he hanged himself. She is preoccupied, she says, with thoughts of Kevin, his failures. “I’m basically going to go bankrupt. I’m going down the toilet and nobody gives a shit!” she says, weeping. A letter from the firm of Raoul Felder and Partners sits on her desk, the one in which she’d been axed as a client. Felder had then billed her $13,800 for three days’ work.

It’s a life now drowning in the undertow of paranoia. Every time a video goes up, she says she lies in bed the following morning paralyzed with fear. “This whole thing is making me want to throw up. My dream was to get my plays on and for people to say she’s not a dumb blonde. If you read my stuff, it’s really thoughtful. I mean, I read all the philosophers and stuff like that. Do you think I really want to do bloody YouTube?” But the world is still having quite a lot of fun with her, almost 4 million hits and counting.


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