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LeAnn Rimes Once Sued Her Father for Taking $7 Million from Her, Yet Forgave Him before Her Wedding

Bettina Dizon
Mar 15, 2022
12:50 P.M.
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LeAnn Rimes was a teen country crooner with a career plagued with many challenges, including a legal feud with her father and manager that involved a $7 million lawsuit.

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Thanks to her parents' hard work coupled with her incredible talent, LeAnn Rimes turned her dreams into reality at a young age. She became a country musician, releasing her smash hit, "Blue," at 13 years old.

"Blue" sold six million copies and landed the young girl about 500 shows in three and a half years. According to her father, Wilbur Rimes, he is happy that his little girl had the opportunity to do what he always wanted and had guidance from him.

A side-by-side photo of LeAnn Rimes with her father, Wilbur, and ex-husband Dean Sheremet during her introduction as the new spokesperson for the JCPenney Wedding Registry March 3, 2006 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

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FILING THE LAWSUIT

After a year, her parents divorced, leaving the teen in a tumultuous state. Then, on May 21, 2000, LeAnn shocked the nation by filing a lawsuit against her father and co-manager, Lyle Walker. Then 16, she accused them of defrauding her for the past five years of her music career.

According to the Dallas County District Court filings, Wilbur and Walker pocketed some $7 million and made away with an amount equivalent to 30 percent of her income. She said:

"I go by the saying 'Money's the root of all evil.' And I definitely believe that the love for money is the root of all evil because it changes people."

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HOW THEY DEFRAUDED LEANN

Wilbur and Walker reportedly duplicated and augmented their manager and producer fees as well as conducted under-the-table dealing with a transportation company and insurance agent, who turned out to be Walker's son.

LeAnn had an extramarital affair with actor Eddie Cibrian that paved the way for the divorce in 2010.

LeAnn demanded compensation of an unspecified amount as the exact sum swindled remained unclear. Her attorney, Tom Rhodus, said, "It would appear that her father didn't always act in a fatherly way to her. Rhodus represented the teen alongside her mother, Belinda Rimes, who filed the suit on behalf of LeAnn.

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LeAnn Rimes at Universal Studios Hollywood on November 08, 2019 in Universal City, California. | Source: Getty Images

WILBUR RESPONDS TO THE LAWSUIT

Meanwhile, Wilbur's lawyer, Baton Rouge, denied the accusations and claimed his client received fair compensation. Walker's lawyer, Keith Trent, added that LeAnn's company still owed him money. He said:

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"Lyle Walker is the one who has been wronged here. This effort will not be successful."

The lawsuit claimed that the accused charged LeAnn unreasonable fees and manipulated her company for their benefit, sometimes receiving 30 percent of the singer's income. Accountants investigated the matter before the legal battle and found that the two received over $8 million in royalties.

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Wilbur did not remain silent amidst the battle and reaffirmed his attorney's earlier statement that the allegations had no validity. He also noted that the lawsuit's claims resulted from someone manipulating LeAnn to turn her against him for their personal gain.

In 2003, he filed a counterclaim against LeAnn, calling her a spoiled brat disobedient to her parents. He suggested that his daughter's money was depleted because of the extravagant lifestyle that made her spend beyond her means.

He also accused her establishment, LREI Records, of denying him his earned producer fees and the credit for the records he produced. Subsequently, Wilbur requested a declaratory judgment from the court for his works to be recognized and for his payments to come directly from Curb Records.

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MAKING AMENDS

Less than a week after his counterclaim, LeAnn Rimes filed a lawsuit to terminate her contract with Curb Records. The legal action further added friction to their existing feud. For five years, the child star and her father grew estranged, fueled by drama, court hearings, and arguments.

Within that time, LeAnn met and fell in love with Dean Sheremet, who she would later call her husband. They met in 2001 when she hosted the Academy of Country Music Awards. While planning her wedding, the bride-to-be realized that she wanted her father's presence during the special day. She said:

"It was definitely tough. I was in lawyers' meetings until three or four days before our wedding. So it was stressful. It's like one of the worst moments, and then one of the best moments all in one week."

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ALL IN THE PAST

She let go of the anger towards her father, forgave him, and apologized. The family has since put the past behind them and moved towards greener pastures. LeAnn said:

"There's so much more life ahead of me. To carry the burden of hating someone; it's just not worth it. I've never hated my dad. I just wanted a dad. I guess I just really disliked where he was in my life."

They spent the years that followed patching up loose ends and learning to be a family again, but unfortunately, her marriage only lasted seven years. LeAnn had an extramarital affair with actor Eddie Cibrian that paved the way for the divorce in 2010.

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A NEW MARRIAGE

The affair also led to a divorce between Cibrian and his ex-wife, Brandi Glanville, followed by episodes of legal feuds. When all was settled, LeAnn and Sibrian tied the knot in 2011 in a private California ceremony.

Last year, the couple celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. "You grow as a couple," the actor said of his relationship. "Every day, you find something else that you love about each other. It's wonderful. You have a real companion and somebody who's just there [that you] trust with everything."

The couple also collaborated professionally and appeared together on the Netflix series Country Comfort. LeAnn is still quite active in the music scene and had a memorable tribute to Patsy Cline in a previous American Country Awards night.

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Eddie Cibrian and LeAnn Rimes at Los Angeles Convention Center on January 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

LEANN'S RELATIONSHIP WITH BELINDA

With all that has happened in the past, LeAnn admits that her relationship with her parents has not always been as great. She also had fallouts with her mom while growing into an adult and becoming a successful musician.

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LeAnn once explained how they eventually cemented their differences in 2017. She recounted another fallout that happened when she was composing her album, "Remnants."

She was angry at Belinda through the writing process and convinced they were never meant to understand each other. However, mother instincts kicked in and helped her see things in her mom's light. Regardless of what the past may have brought, LeAnn is now on better terms with both parents

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