Jack White isn’t letting estranged wife Karen Elson’s claims in their ongoing custody battle go uncontested. In a motion filed by his lawyer today in Davidson County Circuit Court in Nashville and obtained by Rolling Stone, the singer-guitarist directly responds to claims made by Elson in a restraining order against him last week, as well as her motion that he submit to a psychiatric exam.
Elson, who split with White in 2011, has alleged that he harassed her and is an unfit father for their two children. White’s countermotion strongly objects to that characterization. “The reason for filing this response is that Mr. White does not want to be portrayed as something he is not, violent toward his wife and children,” the countermotion reads.
The filing cites a series of emails from Elson to White in which she praises his parenting abilities. “You’re an amazing father, I’m so glad we had these kids together,” Elson wrote in an email to White dated May 19th, 2013. White’s attorney, Cathy Speers Johnson, calls Elson’s motion for a psychiatric exam “inflammatory . . . . disingenuous, fraudulent and retaliatory and simply designed to malign him in the public record or to gain an upper hand in this litigation.”
In response to claims by Elson that she fears White, the countermotion states that Elson left their children in his care the day after signing her restraining order affidavit, while she took a 10-day “work/pleasure trip” to New York. The following day, she filed her motion requesting a psychiatric exam. “One who was truly fearful of another would not leave their children alone with that person for 10 days,” White’s response says. “The truth of the matter is that Ms. Elson is not fearful for herself or the parties’ minor children.”
White claims that Elson professed her love for him as recently as last month, telling their mutual friend Dean Fertita, “I’m completely in love with Jack and I’d move back in tomorrow if he asked me.” (Fertita, White’s bandmate in the Dead Weather, also plays in Queens of the Stone Age.) “This is not the statement of a woman who is concerned about the emotional stability of the father of their children or their safety when they are with him,” the motion states.
The current rift between White and Elson – who had previously co-parented their children amicably, despite ongoing divorce proceedings – appears to stem in part from a European trip that Elson took with the children in June, during which she kept them overseas for 10 days longer than White had previously given written consent.