The custody battle between Welsh-American actor Ioan Gruffudd and British-American actress Alice Evans over their two young daughters is getting messier.
The Fantastic Four star called his ex a ‘child abuser’ – while Evans claimed Gruffudd hadn’t seen or called his children for almost three months, according to court documents obtained by DailyMail.
Last Thursday, a Los Angeles judge tried to shield their daughters – Ella, 13, and Elsie, nine, from the fallout of their parents’ ugly battles by banning the press from a custody hearing, keeping the proceedings secret as both seek custody of the girls.
Gruffudd, 49 – who earlier claimed that Evans, 55, had kept him from his daughters for almost a year – said in new legal documents that since their split in January 2021, ‘Alice has continued to inflict serious emotional harm on Ella and Elsie by her statements and by interfering in my relationship with them.
‘Alice has verbally abused and undermined me in front of the girls throughout their lives.
‘Since January 2021, Alice has also encouraged and instructed them not to see me or communicate with me and she has made thousands of threatening and abusive communications to me and about me.’
Fed up with what he called the barrage of harassing text messages, emails, and social media posts from Evans, Gruffudd successfully obtained a three-year restraining order against her last August to protect himself and his girlfriend Bianca Wallace – who, at 31, is 24 years younger than Evans.
But, he added in the new court papers, ‘Alice has violated the (restraining order) repeatedly and continues to do so to this day.’
Gruffudd – who blamed his ex as the ‘person behind’ his daughter Ella filing a restraining order against him (which was denied) – also bashed Evans over the therapy the children have been receiving.
‘Although there is an order for the girls to attend therapy, Alice has repeatedly either refused to bring the girls or interfered with my bringing the girls to therapy,’ he said.
‘Since separation, the girls have missed more therapy session than they have attended and they have had multiple therapists.
‘I believe Alice’s actions are child abuse and I am gravely concerned for our children.’
LA Superior Court Judge Josh Freeman Stinn has granted Gruffudd’s request for a hearing this Thursday, August 17 where the actor has asked for an expert to be appointed to make a child custody evaluation as soon as possible.
Evans denies abusing or harming her daughters.
She is vehemently opposed to a child custody evaluation, saying in her new court documents, ‘I have read and disagree with the declaration of petitioner (Gruffudd) as to allegations that I am inflicting or causing our children ”serious emotional harm”.
‘No one has ever contacted me or reported me for such conduct. No professional, nor teacher, nor school administrator, nor counsel, nor therapist.
‘Petitioner has not seen, complied with, nor called the children for 11 weeks. I don’t understand how having no recent information, “petitioner believes” there is an urgency such that a child custody evaluation must be commenced.’
Evans said that she had also met with the girls’ court-appointed attorney and her parenting was not ‘in any way voiced to me as inadequate or, as petitioner suggests, destructive to the well-being of our children.’
‘I do not agree to have the children and ourselves be subjected to a prolonged and expensive child custody evaluation if it’s based on the speculation and conjecture of the petitioner’s suspicions.
‘Petitioner says he believes the kids are suffering serious emotional harm but show no proof of any symptoms experienced by our girls to support those accusations.’
Evans claimed children who suffer from serious emotional harm show signs of their emotional state by being withdrawn, frightened, self-harming, depressed, or anxious.
‘Our children…do not in any way show these objective signs of trauma or suffering serious emotional harm,’ she said.
Evans described her relationship with her daughters as ‘very loving and supportive’.
‘I do not talk to them about the case,’ she added. ‘I am subject to and under the orders of this court to stay away from and have no contact with the petitioner and I have respected that to the letter.
‘Petitioner has his visitation schedule and has the ability to freely call the kids but has for whatever reason not done so.
‘Given his silence and lack of effort to have a relationship with the children, I do not believe petitioner has shown a need or urgency for appointment of a child custody evaluator.’
Gruffudd – who met Evans when they co-starred in the 2000 Disney movie, 101 Dalmatians – filed for divorce in March 2021, shortly after the blonde actress claimed on social media that her husband of 14 years was walking out on her and their two daughters.
Their divorce was finalized just last month. But the issues of spousal and child support as well as child custody still need to be settled.