When Stephanie Grisham left her ‘abusive’ White House boyfriend in April 2020, she says, he took more than just her self-confidence. He took her French bulldog puppy.
The former White House press secretary has told how her ex, Max Miller, refused to part with Gus, a French bulldog that he gave her as a birthday present 10 months earlier. The canine custody battle turned into dueling legal filings this week.
The legal drama comes on the heels of Grisham’s The Washington Post op-ed in which she claimed for the first time that the ex-White House staffer had turned ‘violent’ over the course of their relationship and that ‘he got physical with me.’
Stephanie Grisham has accused ex-boyfriend and former White House staffer Max Miller of taking her beloved French Bulldog Gus (pictured) after their split, despite him allegedly giving her the pet as a birthday gift
Grisham and Miller, who is now running for Congress, had a short-lived relationship that ended in April 2020. The pair are pictured arriving at the WHite House State Dinner honoring Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in September 2019
‘Keeping the dog he bought me for my birthday was the final insult,’ Grisham said. ‘Who does that?’
Miller’s attorney, Larry Zukerman, fired back, flatly denying the dog ever belonged to Grisham.
‘He didn’t buy the dog for her,’ Zukerman told Zenger. ‘All of the papers are in his name.’
Grisham addressed the drama over the beloved pup in her new book, I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House, released this week.
‘[Miller’s] name was on the records and paperwork that we had (because I had always been holding the dog when those things were being filled out),’ she wrote.
Next, Miller’s lawyer cast doubt on Grisham’s ability to care for a pet: ‘She never cared for her [own] children. As such, Max wouldn’t trust her to care for his dog.’
Grisham is a single mother of two sons, Kurtis, 22, and Jake, 13.
Miller’s attorney copied him on the email. Miller himself hit reply-all minutes later and wrote: ‘Love this.’
Miller filed a suit against Grisham on Tuesday in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, claiming she made ‘libelous and defamatory statements’ against him in a Washington Post op-ed published hours earlier, in which she recounted ‘physical abuse’ and described Miller as a man with ‘anger issues and a violent streak.’
Miller, who denies the allegations, is running for a US congressional seat near Cleveland, Ohio and he has been publicly endorsed by Grisham’s former boss, President Donald Trump
Donald Trump endorsed Max Miller’s congressional bid in Ohio and appeared at a rally with him this summer
Judge Emily Hagen refused Tuesday night to grant Miller a temporary restraining order as Grisham made the rounds on TV to promote her new tell-all book.
A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for October 13.
In her book, which went on sale Tuesday, Grisham writes that in the days after she ended her relationship with Miller and moved out of his Washington, D.C. condo, she asked him about her puppy – but heard nothing back until he ‘finally sent me an email to say I couldn’t have him [the puppy].’
That followed a text message that she showed Zenger, in which Miller said she could keep Gus.
In another text exchange from nearly a year earlier, Miller says: ‘I’d love to get you the dog.’
The puppy’s tale is just one wrinkle in a broader story about the partner abuse she endured, Grisham told Zenger.
‘Abusive relationships are about control. And this is one way he tried to control me – with the dog that he knew made me happy after 16-hour days at the White House,’ she said.
Miller launched a congressional primary campaign this year to oust Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, one of 10 Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching Trump.
In her new book, Grisham writes that she asked Miller about Gus after she moved out of his Washington, D.C. condo following their split, but heard nothing back until he ‘finally sent me an email to say I couldn’t have him [the puppy]
Grisham showed Zenger News a $455 veterinary bill in her name and a $300 Venmo receipt for money she sent Miller in December 2019 for the pup, however, he claims Gus never belonged to his ex
Gonzalez announced last month that he would not run for re-election, all but ceding the nomination to Miller.
Gonzalez won re-election in 2020 with 63 per cent of the vote in that red district that zigzags across Northeastern Ohio.
‘Ms. Grisham’s allegations that Mr. Miller was violent and physically abusive towards her are absolutely untrue,’ Zukerman, Miller’s lawyer, said Tuesday in a prepared statement.
I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I saw at the Trump White House by Stephanie Grisham was released on October 5
Calling her ‘unemployed and unbelievable,’ the statement said email correspondence shows Grisham tried to mend her relationship with Miller after she left him.
She ‘now seeks her revenge against and is trying to destroy Mr. Miller’s reputation, political career, and personal life with her false allegations,’ it said.
In Grisham’s telling, Miller justified keeping the puppy by saying it would be wrong to move him away from the only home he had known.
Grisham showed Zenger a $455 veterinary bill in her name and a $300 Venmo receipt for money she sent Miller in December 2019.
Emojis showing a dog, a pair of scissors and two tennis balls, she said, indicated that she was reimbursing him for grooming expenses and dog toys.
Miller promised after their breakup to pay her back for half of what she had spent on Gus, she writes in her book.
But ‘he never paid me back — not that I cared about the money,’ according to Grisham.
‘I’m sure only dog lovers and pet owners will understand this, but I was devastated and destroyed all over again.’
Grisham said she, not Miller, chose Gus’s name. She said she likes ‘person names’ for dogs. And she used two other ‘old’ names for a pair of canines who now keep her company as she promotes her book.
‘I have two beautiful dogs now, Ben and Eleanor. No one’s going to take them from me. No way.’