By CHRIS TALBOTT, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Actress Reese Witherspoon's mother has filed a petition of annulment to wipe out her husband's recent second marriage.
Mary Elizabeth Witherspoon says in court documents filed May 8 in Nashville that her husband John Drake Witherspoon has taken a second wife who may be taking advantage of his mental condition.
The couple has been separated since 1996, but remains married and still attends family functions together, including their daughter's March 2011 marriage.
The filing alleges John Witherspoon's new wife Tricianne Taylor has tried to take out loans as Mrs. John Witherspoon, lives in his condo, has had him sign a new will and drives a vehicle without permission from a family corporation run by Reese Witherspoon.
Mary Elizabeth Witherspoon, a 63-year-old nurse at Vanderbilt University hospital and a retired Tennessee State professor, says she "loves her husband and does not want a divorce" after 42 years of marriage to the 70-year-old otolaryngologist. She also says in the filing she "fears he may be suffering from early onset of dementia," and she has filed a restraining order to stop Taylor from converting any of the family's assets.
A May 31 court hearing has been scheduled in Davidson County Circuit Court.
Calls left at Mr. Witherspoon's office and with Reese Witherspoon's publicist were not immediately returned. It is unclear if Mr. Witherspoon has retained an attorney.
Mary Elizabeth Witherspoon says in the filing she found out about her husband's Jan. 12 marriage to Taylor from a wedding announcement that appeared in The Tennessean newspaper. She says she confronted her husband about the marriage and he said he didn't recall marrying Taylor, who did not respond to a letter from Mrs. Witherspoon about the situation.
She says in the filing she fears for the safety of her husband and her family and that Mr. Witherspoon has several medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes that if improperly treated could lead to his death.
The Witherspoons have not lived together in more than 15 years. Mrs. Witherspoon says in the court filing she moved out because of her husband's "alcoholism, infidelity, overspending and hoarding." She says he still has trouble with overspending, noting he owns five motorcycles and five boats.
Along with the annulment, Mrs. Witherspoon is asking the court to order Taylor to leave all residences belonging to the family, return all possessions she has acquired and to pay court costs.
Associated Press writers Shelia Burke and Caitlin R. King in Nashville contributed to this report.
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