By John Clark
Halle Berry and her ex-husband, Gabriel Aubry, are in a Los Angeles courtroom this week arguing over who should have child custody of their young daughter, Nahla, and Berry is reportedly receiving aid from a celebrity friend.
In the opening rounds of her trial, which is expected to last roughly a month, Berry has enlisted the help of fellow actress Salma Hayek, according to a report from ABC News.
Sources say that Berry wants to move with her daughter to France, with the Oscar-winning actressâ€™s fiancÃ©, French actor Olivier Martinez, but Nahlaâ€™s father is very opposed to the idea.
Berry, however, plans to argue that recent incidents with American paparazzi and a Los Angeles stalker show that her daughter would be much safer in another country, such as, say, France.
To support her claim, Berry plans to offer evidence of a run-in with Andrew Deetz, a photographer who had a physical altercation with Berry when he snapped photos of Nahla outside the girlâ€™s school, according to sources. At the divorce trial, Deetz is expected to testify about his actions.
In addition, Berry and her divorce lawyer are expected to present a document from Berryâ€™s friend, Selma Hayek, about Hayekâ€™s own experience in France.
Hayek and her husband, French billionaire FranÃ§ois-Henri Pinault, moved their 4-year-old daughter to France to take advantage of the countryâ€™s aggressive anti-paparazzi laws, which make France a safer place for the children of celebrities, according to Hayek.
Sources suggest that French paparazzi are much more respectful of the privacy of celebrities, especially when compared to American celebrity photographers, whose aggressiveness has never been questioned.
Moreover, French newspapers require media outlets to blur the photos of celebrity children in order to protect their privacy. Such legal protection is noticeably absent under American laws.
So, Berryâ€™s child custody case has started as many people might have predicted, with accusations of paparazzi endangerment, testimony from celebrity friends, and wall-to-wall coverage from national media outlets.
The expected length of the child custody trial is, admittedly, staggering. But it reflects the difficulty the judge will have in determining who should have custody of the coupleâ€™s daughter.
Sources suggest, though, that Berry has the upper hand in the dispute. Earlier this year, Berry filed a restraining order against Aubry, claiming that he pushed their nanny while she was holding their daughter.
Local officials later dropped these charges, but the damage to Aubryâ€™s reputation could play a role in the pending trial.