March 27, 2008 / 12:08 AM / 11 years ago

Artist sued for overdue child support

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Italian porn star Ilona Staller, known as “La Cicciolina,” sued her ex-husband Jeff Koons on Wednesday, saying he failed to pay about $1.5 million euros ($2.3 million) in child support ordered by an Italian court.

U.S. artist Jeff Koons is reflected in his sculpture "Rabbit" at the Kunsthaus in Bregenz February 16, 2007. REUTERS/Miro Kuzmanovic

Koons, a one-time Wall Street commodities broker who holds the record as the highest-paid living artist, has paid just under 200,000 euros ($310,600) in child support since 1998, according to the lawsuit filed in New York State Court.

A representative for Manhattan-based Koons was not immediately available for comment.

The couple divorced in 1994, and Staller took their son to Italy. Four years later, their divorce was confirmed by an Italian court.

“I always felt my government would do the right thing and get my child back,” Koons told the New York Newsday newspaper in 2003. “Now I realize that I might not be able to see and live with my child again.”

Koons was originally awarded custody of the couple’s son, who was born in 1992. But custody was later given to Staller, and Koons was ordered to pay 1,500 Euros ($2,330) per month in child support.

“At no time during the Italian proceedings did Koons challenge the subject-matter or personal jurisdiction of the Italian courts,” the lawsuit said.

Koons and Staller married in Budapest in 1991. That year, Koons unveiled “Made in Heaven,” a series of paintings and sculptures that showed the couple in sexual acts.

The 52-year-old Koons burst on the art scene in the 1980s aided by an image consultant, and his contentious split from Staller, who has been active in Italian politics since the late 1970s, added to his fame.

Last November, Koons 3,500-pound (1,600-kg) sculpture, “Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold),” sold at Sotheby’s for $23,561,000, eclipsing its high pre-sale estimate of $20 million and establishing a record for any living artist’s work at auction.

Reporting by Edith Honan, Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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