Dan Brown, author of the best selling thriller ‘The Da Vinci Code’ has settled a lawsuit with his ex-wife, after she sued him for leading a double life during their marriage and spending their money on four women he had affairs with – including her horse trainer.
Blythe Brown, 69, sued the author last year, a year after the couple finalized the divorce from their 21-year marriage in 2019. She accused him in a lawsuit of carrying out ‘sordid extra-marital affairs’ and of ‘secretly plundering significant sums of their marital assets.’
The details of the settlement have not been made public. The author, who was worth an estimated $160 million at the time of his divorce, counter-sued for slander and libel anyway, claiming her charges were a work of fiction.
After the lawsuit became public in 2020, the 53-year-old writer initially was worried that the accusations would sink his career, but his publisher told him it would help his sales.
‘Are you kidding? Everyone thinks you’re the most boring guy in the world… multiple affairs with beautiful women, finally there’s a story!’ the publisher told him, according to the Sunday Times.
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday in August 2020, Brown said his ex-wife’s claims were baseless.
‘She was throwing everything at the wall, hoping something would stick. We both know why she was upset and she had a right to be, but we were lonely and we looked for fulfilment in other places.’
But there was some truth to her claims. Brown admitted to having affairs with a 30-year-old Dutch horse trainer, Judith Pietersen, whom Blythe had hired look after her own prized show ponies.
The author told the Mail on Sunday last year that the affair started after his marriage was essentially over.
Dan Brown and his ex-wife Blythe at The Da Vinci Code party on the 59th International Cannes Film Festival in 2006
Brown admitted to having affairs with a 30-year-old Dutch horse trainer, Judith Pietersen, whom Blythe had hired look after her own prized show ponies
And he did spend lavishly, giving Pietersen a $350,000 Fresian horse called LimiTed Edition as a present.
In his defense, Brown said that his ex-wife has 10 world class horses of her own, and only outed him because she wanted the animal for her self ‘in order to inflict pain on the woman whom her ex-husband loved.’
‘We’re very much together and very happy,’ Brown told the Mail on Sunday last year.
His ex-wife got plenty, he said.
The Da Vinci Code, published in 2003, was Brown’s fourth novel
‘I gave Blythe half of everything I’d ever earned and more on top of that,’ he said.
Blythe, who is a songwriter, also claimed that she came up with the original premise for the author’s runaway best seller, ‘The Da Vinci Code’ which has sold more than 80 million copies worldwide and was turned into a blockbuster movie starring Tom Hanks that grossed $758 million at the Box Office.
In fact, during a 2006 trial against the publisher of the ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ the court heard testimony that Blythe was an essential contributor to the thriller.
The book, in which a professor uncovers the secret that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had children, launched his career and sparked the ire of the Vatican.
The ex-wife also claimed that he hid future project ideas from her, like a children’s book, that she claimed were worth millions.
‘Blythe Brown and Dan Brown have reached an amicable resolution of their disagreements, and will have no further comment,’ Blythe Brown’s attorney Harvey Wolkoff said. ‘They request that their desire for privacy and closure be respected.’
No further details on the settlement were provided.
In his first interview since July’s sensational lawsuit, the American author reveals that he is countersuing Blythe (pictured), his wife of 21 years, in part for libel and slander, saying her claims are so far-fetched they belong in a novel
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday in August 2020, the author revealed that he was countersuing Blythe, his wife of 21 years, in part for libel and slander, saying her claims are so far-fetched they belong in a novel.
‘I’m not going to disparage my former wife like she has me. But the lawsuit was written with no regard for the truth.
‘She received half of everything [in the divorce, which was finalised in December], more than half of everything, actually, and I’m shocked that she’s coming back for more and I completely dispute her account of what happened. It’s all been pretty sobering.’
He alleged in his counter-claim that their marriage had become ‘increasingly dysfunctional’ and that the beginning of the end came in 2004 after the vast influx of wealth following the publication of The Da Vinci Code the previous year.
Also, far from being ‘a devoted wife and an innocent victim’, Brown says she ‘engaged in conduct that caused the marriage to be one in name only’ by the end of 2014.
In one instance he claims that after giving a speech in New York in 2013, he was told by his wife: ‘It turns my stomach to watch you on stage. I no longer recognize who you are.’
He says she also regularly mocked his love of exercise and fitness, calling it ‘vain and shallow’.
And when his mother was dying in June 2017 after a long battle with cancer, he says Blythe left him alone while she holidayed with companions in the Caribbean.
Tellingly, the intimate side of their relationship apparently ended in December 2014, after which both sought to fill the void in their lives and find solace in different ways.
It was Brown’s relationship with their Dutch horse trainer, Pietersen, which appears to have rankled the most. While reluctant to talk in depth about his Dutch lover, Brown says: ‘We’re very much together and very happy’
For Blythe, that meant spending increasing amounts of time and money on equestrianism (she allegedly spent more than $10million on her horse hobby during their marriage). For Brown, it involved dating.
‘Our marriage was really over a long time ago. We just went our separate ways,’ he said.
‘We were great for a long time together, but we just evolved separately, which people do. I’m just sorry that we couldn’t part ways with love and that it turned into this.
‘It’s sad, but I was deeply hurt by it.’ He insists he ‘tried very hard to make this marriage work’.
To that end, he took up riding lessons for a year, hoping that a shared interest might close the ‘growing chasm’ between them. ‘I wanted to go to marriage counselling and I asked many times, but she refused.’
It was Brown’s relationship with their Dutch horse trainer, Pietersen, which appears to have rankled the most.
While reluctant to talk in depth about his Dutch lover, Brown says: ‘We’re very much together and very happy.’