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Makeup Breakup

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Actress Julia Roberts and Kevyn Aucoin  

"We were all suggesting he get a lawyer," says Eric, "because we wanted him to be taken care of."

"I don't have anything to give Jeremy. I'm living off my own money, my Social Security," says Thelma. "I have no control over anything. The only control I have is because my son died, what was my son's is now mine. I'm not angry at him for anything; I'm very sorry for him. Why would I be angry at Jeremy? Now he has his attorney, and he started making his wish list."

Up at the cottage, Antunes produced the "wish list," photocopies of Polaroids of items he wanted to take from the house. Most have the word NO written next to them by John Firestone, the Aucoins' attorney, and many have the words ASK ERIC circled. One of the items Antunes was denied was the bed he shared with Aucoin.

"I've turned it over to the attorneys," says Thelma. "I said, 'This can't just go on the rest of our lives; he can't just live here another 50 years!' "

I point out that if Antunes were a woman -- an actual wife -- he would indeed stay put for 50 years, maybe more.

"I've been working with gay people all my life!" says Thelma, hurt. "I'm all for gay rights -- I've fought for that for years. But I need to preserve what my son left here."

She has to liquidate the estate, she says, to pay for the makeup line that her son had considered his crowning achievement, the thing that would support him and everyone he loved in the future. "This is my pie here, and I'm trying to share it. But I can't say, 'Well, here, Jeremy, you take this half and I'm going to divide the other half in twenty pieces. I think he has more than compensated Jeremy. I think Kevyn kept up his end of the bargain."

Kevyn Aucoin's ashes are in a mausoleum in Lafayette, where his father likes to visit them. Thelma Aucoin says that eventually, they may grant Antunes his wish and turn over their son's ashes to him so that he can scatter them in Hawaii -- where he'd always said he'd wanted them scattered. "Kevyn would be so proud of me," says Antunes. "If the situation were reversed, he would fight tooth and nail to get my ashes -- it's what he believed in."

Antunes knows that he doesn't have a legal leg to stand on. As he packs up the last of his things at the cottage, he takes a minute off to watch -- yet again -- the video of his wedding. In it, he looks impossibly young, shirtless in a lei. Aucoin is enviably muscular, the one happy result of his acromegaly. "He never worked out," says Antunes, his eyes already wet. "Wasn't he cute?" The video is equal parts kissing and vowing, and both Aucoin and Antunes are so palpably elated, so consumed by each other, you can't help thinking they'll have a happy ending. "He was smart, he was beautiful, he was a great lover," Antunes says, crying now. "Our good times were really good, and our bad times were really bad. It was like ten years packed into just a couple. It was worth it."


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