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Ex-Wife Testifies She Signed Contested Pre-Nuptial Pact Without A Reading

October 31, 1985

SOMERVILLE, N.J. (AP) _ John Z. De Lorean’s ex-wife testified in the couple’s divorce trial that she would not have signed a prenuptial agreement she never read had she known it meant giving up all rights to his wealth.

″People don’t get married with divorce in mind,″ Cristina Ferrare Thomopolous told the presiding judge on Wednesday.

She claimed the prenuptial pact she signed the day of her 1973 wedding to De Lorean was not legitimate because he falsely led her to believe it was limited to rights over his California ranch.

″Did you read it before you signed it?″ asked Superior Court Judge Michael Imbriani.

″No,″ she replied. Earlier, the 35-year-old Mrs. Thomopoulos, a TV hostess and former model, testified that she had never asked De Lorean how much he was worth.

The couple is battling over the division of $10 million in assets, including a 344-acre estate in nearby Bedminster and a $5 million condominium in New York, as well as custody of their two children, Zachary, 14, and Kathryn, 7.

The hearing is now in recess. The judge, who is expected to rule in several weeks, has given De Lorean’s lawyers the option of calling him to the stand in the future, and told attorneys for both sides they could submit summations in writing or in court.

De Lorean, 60, who checked out of a hospital Tuesday night after two days of treatment for an irregular heartbeat, took notes and leafed through documents during his ex-wife’s testimony.

Mrs. Thomopoulos disputed De Lorean’s claim that a jet-set lifestyle leds her to neglect the children. She described how she got up at 5:30 a.m. to cook their breakfast, helped with their homework and made Sunday spaghetti dinners.

″It sounds awfully boring,″ she said, smiling as she described her daily routine.

But she also told of feeling the agony of ″a child telling his mother that he doesn’t love her″ and suffering a ″nervous breakdown″ after a fight with Zachary.

″I’m asking for sole custody of my children because I believe that John and I can never agree on anything,″ Mrs. Thomopoulos said. ″I feel that I have their best interest at heart.″

Outside court, De Lorean said he was ″badly hurt″ by his ex-wife’s bringing the couple’s children into the fray. The judge interviewed both on Monday.

″I can handle anything anybody throws at me until they start screwing with my kids,″ said De Lorean, adding that he felt ″queasy″ and had been back to the hospital Wednesday morning for blood tests.

Mrs. Thomopoulos said she earned $275,000 a year but her lawyer said her net income was $86,788 after taxes and expenses ranging from agent’s fees to her $5,000 monthly rent.

De Lorean has said he expected to earn about $700,000 this year from book and movie advances and investments. But his financial empire is in ruins, he said, and he still faces a Detroit fraud indictment.

″I don’t have much left in the world. My wife’s a millionaire, and Thomopoulos is a multimillionaire,″ he said, adding that they arrive at court in a limousine and he drives home in a ″pickup truck.″

Mrs. Thomopoulos testified that the strain of De Lorean’s cocaine conspiracy trial broke up their marriage. She was her husband’s faithful courtroom companion until his acquittal in August 1984.

The couple separated three weeks after the verdict. Mrs. Thomopoulos said she then began to date ABC television executive Anthony Thomopoulos, whom she married in April.

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