“I was devastated. I can’t let my life be crushed and ruined, but I thought it was over. I feel like I am in a living nightmare.” That’s how Fantasy star and former Baywatch star Angelica Bridges described the emotional roller coaster she’s been on the past 48 hours.
After just two weeks of rehearsals, Angelica opened the new 10th anniversary gala Fantasy shows just days ago. Click HERE for our coverage of Tuesday’s grand opening, and click HERE for our final rehearsals interview with Angelica.
It was all a crowning success, and suddenly Angelica found she was the overnight toast of the town! But 48 hours after the first-night party, she had to unexpectedly leave the show.
Her ex-husband’s lawyer told a family court judge in Los Angeles that her two young daughters Scarlett, 2, and Valentina, 6, would be kept in Canada away from her unless she quit the Luxor show.
“I had to show proof that I’d resigned from Fantasy,” Angelica told me in an exclusive first interview earlier today. The stunning redhead, named by Maxim as one of America’s Top 50 Most Beautiful Women, has been divorced since 2007 from Sheldon Souray, a defenseman for the Edmonton Oilers. They first separated five years ago. She also is the lead singer of Strawberry Blonde and has appeared in TV series, daytime dramas and movies.
“This is not a new side to his personality. I will not let him control me,” Angelica told me candidly. “He has been battling me for a while. I’m a big girl, so I can take all his verbal and emotional abuse, but to put children into the middle of his threats against me is the lowest of the low. I can walk away and ignore his cruel remarks, but the children are totally innocent and don’t deserve this.”
The couple agreed to a binding court custody judgment when they divorced. Angelica would have permanent custody, and her ex-husband would see the children five days each month when he was at his summer home in California. Now, however, with the NHL season underway, he is on tour in Canada with home and away games.
Angelica told me, “I never thought he would force a way for me to choose between my career and the children. I love those kids. I would die for them, so I had to give up Fantasy for the moment.
“I had to go back after opening night for a hearing because he’s trying to get custody from me. He said living in Las Vegas was an awful lifestyle for them, and he didn’t want the children in Las Vegas. The truth is it has nothing to do with that. He has tried to win me back, but because there is no reconciliation, he has vowed to ruin my life. He’s threatened me, saying he’ll ensure I finish up penniless and out of work.
“The judge was concerned about me only being in Las Vegas a short time, the 90-day contract. He didn’t think it was good for the children to be moving there for only a short time. He wanted to know if it would be a longer stay and more stable for them. I told him we had already discussed a three-month renewal and maybe a year or longer and just keep it going.
“We’ll be back in court, but meantime the judge said that now that I was back in L.A., he saw no reason whatsoever to change his order that I have physical custody. Now my children must be returned from Canada, and we’re waiting for that to happen quickly.
“However, I will get a lawyer early next week. There has to be a solution. I want to be able to work in Las Vegas. I want to be able to return to Fantasy without fear of losing the children.
“I feel Fantasy was meant to be. It was a dream come true because I’d always thought of being like Ann-Margret one day onstage. I never thought I’d do a Vegas production, but now that I have, I really want to do the show. I have to do the show. The dancers became my new family. They were all so welcoming and supportive of me. I felt good about my life and my career for the first time in a long time. I was standing on my own two feet starting over as a new single woman all over again, free and earning a living, and then he shattered it just as quickly.
“I’ve lived in New York with the children. I’ve visited Las Vegas two dozen times, and he never made a move like this. It’s only because I landed a great show on the Strip, and he didn’t want me to have any success or recognition. He’s only using the kids to break me.”
Fantasy producer Anita Mann and the dancers will all welcome Angelica back to her starring role once the court custody battle is resolved. Anita told me: “This all came as a total surprise. I am sure it will get worked out. She wants to come back and is planning on a solution for that. As a mother, I’m concerned for her as a mother. Nobody should have to undergo this horrible turmoil of threats that your kids won’t be returned to you.”
Meantime, the other dancers, entertainers, crew and hotel executives are all rallying behind Angelica. Anita has posted notices at the theater announcing that her star is temporarily out of the show, but it is open and two other lead singers and 10 rotating dancers are performing the revamped, 10th anniversary run.
Angelica summed up: “You saw me Thursday night at the Hard Rock opening, and I thought everything would turn out alright. Then before going over to the show for curtain up, I got his lawyer’s email saying the children would not come back to me unless I resigned immediately. I was just devastated. It was impossible for me right then to do the show. I cried all day yesterday. I was definitely not OK.
“I had to get back to Los Angeles. I drove home late yesterday afternoon. That was a lonely ride through the desert, which made things worse. Now I must get out of this fog and take definite action to be able to get on with my life again. I am a good mother and a very caring and responsible person. There has never been one complaint about my looking after the children until this. Nothing has changed in my love or caring for them. I shouldn’t be victimized or treated like this.
“It was all over years ago. Why are they still fighting to make my life a misery?”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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