Reese Witherspoon's father faces bigamy accusation - WSMV Channel 4

Reese Witherspoon's father faces bigamy accusation

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

You could call it real-life drama as a Hollywood star with Nashville roots finds herself in the center of a sticky triangle. Reese Witherspoon's father is facing a lawsuit from Reese Witherspoon's mother after his recent second marriage.

In the lawsuit, Nashville doctor John Witherspoon's his first wife, Betty Witherspoon, argues her husband suffers from early onset dementia. And those who witnessed the wedding have a mixed opinion about whether she might be right.

Betty Witherspoon, who is Reese Witherspoon's mother and John Witherspoon's wife of 42 years, filed the lawsuit in Davidson County after she first saw the wedding announcement for John Witherspoon and Tricianne Taylor in the newspaper.

Since 1996, Reese Witherspoon's parents have lived separate lives. But in the lawsuit, Betty Witherspoon wrote she "still loves her husband and does not want a divorce," and is "concerned about (her husband's) mental health and fears he may be suffering from early onset of dementia."

While a quickie-wedding rarely takes Sal Zanco by surprise, this one was different from the start.

"It seemed to me that it was a one-way wedding," Zanco said. "He was there, like I said, but it just didn't seem like he was there."

John Witherspoon and Tricianne Taylor paid Zanco $150 to photograph their 10-minute January ceremony in the Smokies.

"I felt that he really didn't know what was going on," Zanco said.

The photographer wondered whether the groom knew what was happening.

"He wasn't talkative," Zanco said.

Alden Marshall officiated the wedding. For Marshall, the couple appeared legitimate and had the right paperwork for him to sign. There was nothing to suggest their plan to marry wasn't anything more than love, he said.

"Sad for the groom and his wife, whoever his wife is," Marshall said.

In the couple's wedding video, John Witherspoon appears unable to keep eye contact with his bride. She speaks much louder and then later models a mink coat and a huge diamond.

And according to the pastor, John Witherspoon called him a day or two after the wedding, asking him to delay sending the marriage license back to Davidson County.

He said he also got a call from the county clerk after John Witherspoon tried to cancel the license in Davidson County.

For the time being, a judge has issued a restraining order. Taylor cannot use the Witherspoon name, cannot pose as John Witherspoon's wife and cannot accept gifts from him.

Betty Witherspoon also told the court she believes Taylor got John Witherspoon to sign a new will. The county confirmed there is no divorce on file for Betty Witherspoon and John Witherspoon, which calls into question the legitimacy John Witherspoon's and Taylor's marriage.

John Witherspoon and his apparent new wife, Taylor, must appear in a Nashville courtroom at the end of the month when a judge could decide to annul their marriage.

As for Reese Witherspoon, she has not publicly commented.

She appeared Friday with her parents, John and Betty Witherspoon, in Davidson County court for a conservatorship hearing. Reporters were not allowed inside for the arguments, and the paperwork was sealed, but Reese Witherspoon's parents walked out of the courthouse arm-in-arm after the hearing.

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