French star Hallyday’s daughter to contest his will

Laura-Smet

PARIS: The daughter of French rock legend Johnny Hallyday is to contest his will after he left everything to his fourth wife Laeticia.

Actress Laura Smet, 34, said she was “stupefied and hurt” on Monday after learning that his two natural children had been left nothing by the “French Elvis”, whose death in December plunged France into mourning.

Instead, all his wealth and the rights to the 110 million records he sold will eventually go to Jade and Joy, the girls he adopted in Vietnam with Laeticia.

“Laura Smet is stupefied and hurt to learn that her father’s will leaves all his wealth and rights to his wife Laeticia, using California law,” her lawyer said in a statement to AFP.

They said that Smet, a talented actress who has publicly struggled with her demons, was not even left the sleeve of the record, “Laura”, that her father dedicated to her.

Smet, whose mother is actress Nathalie Baye, was shocked to be cut out of the will, they said, and left without even a “souvenir – one of his guitars or motorbikes, not even the sleeve of the song ‘Laura’.”

Her half-brother David Hallyday, whose mother, 1960s pop star Sylvie Vartan, was the singer’s first wife, has joined her in contesting the will, which was made in California, where Hallyday spent much of his later years.

Under French law, a wife does not automatically inherit all of her husband’s estate but generally has to share it with his children.

Although he was never taken seriously abroad, Hallyday was by far the best-known rocker in France.

A fanatical biker, his funeral cortege through Paris was escorted by hundreds of leather-clad motorcyclists, and others followed the coffin to his burial in the Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy.

Born Jean-Philippe Leo Smet, he took his stage name from an American relative and mentor, Lee Halliday, who introduced him to rock music.