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Father of Culkin children abruptly concedes custody to their mother

April 2, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ The father of ``Home Alone″ star Macaulay Culkin conceded custody of the actor and his siblings to their mother just as a trial was to begin.

Christopher ``Kit″ Culkin ``instructed me not to defend the proceeding in his behalf,″ his lawyer, Donald Frank, said as he left the courtroom Tuesday.

In a trial, the judge probably would have asked the children which parent they preferred to live with.

``He didn’t want to be responsible for forcing the children to make that choice,″ Frank said.

As Frank spoke outside the courtroom, the children’s mother, Patricia Brentrup, testified inside in an inquest on her petition for custody. The inquest is a formality required before the judge decides the case.

The inquest will continue Thursday when Macaulay, 16, testifies. The proceedings are closed to the press and public.

After a little more than an hour on the witness stand, Brentrup left virtually assured she will have control of her children’s lives and professional careers.

``I’m relieved that it’s over,″ said Brentrup, 42.

Macaulay’s estimated net worth is $17 million.

Culkin and Brentrup had seven children during their 20-year relationship, which ended in March 1995. Brentrup filed for custody of the six minor children three months later, and the couple nearly bankrupted themselves in the ensuing fight.