The DaVinci Code is the best selling single book of the 21st Century. The [incredibly mediocre] film starring Tom Hanks was the hit of 2006. Sequels followed (please note that there is not enough money in the world to entice us to sit through Angels & Demons) and so did, of course, millions upon millions to Dan Brown, the author.
The day before the 2003 release of The DaVinci Code, no one aside immediate family knew who Dan Brown was. He taught before he quit to ‘write full time.’ He was supported by his wife, Blythe, while he wrote three novels that went absolutely nowhere.
The DaVinci Code might well have been his last try and he got off to a bad start – he was stuck on a plot that increasingly looked like a dead end. Blythe (Dan’s description: “art historian, painter, front-line editor”) became Dan’s lead researcher, then his co-creator, at least as far as the plot of The DaVinci Code goes. Blythe came up with the Mary Magdalene story arc and the rest is history.
Blythe and Dan worked together on his next four books, all them big bestsellers. They lived very quiet, very private lives, Dan just happened to release a #1 Bestseller every four years.
So quiet that no one knew they divorced last December. Amicably, quietly, they mutually agreed to divorce. They got lawyers, began mediation, Dan supplied detailed financials of their assets, Blythe and her lawyers reviewed, divorce granted.
Again, no one knew any of this. Until June 30th when the Boston Globe broke the story of Blythe’s freshly filed lawsuit accusing Dan of falsifying the financials and ‘secretly siphoning off the couple’s funds’ – in the millions – over the last years of their marriage.
She claimed that Dan had a series of mistresses that he lavished with expensive gifts before he settled down to two regular mistresses. Between thuse two he bought a $340,000 horse; cars; apartments; spent wildly and racked up wire transfers around the world.
Perhaps worse, Blythe also discovered that just before their divorce was final, Dan sold a TV series based on their books to NBCUniversal. The deal is worth millions, Blythe claims it was not on the financials.
From tidy and quiet to loud and messy in a couple of months.
New Hampshire, by the way, is, like Colorado, an equitable distribution state. I can’t imagine a judge who will look at all kindly to what looks like, if true, a fraud on the court.
Now consider this: Dan and Blythe are business partners. You could say their product was the creation and maintenance of Robert Langdon. One partner is hiding the sale of that product, but the product has had some . . . glitches. One partner once tried to destroy the other and kill the product.
The new lawsuit is already bringing those … glitches . . . back in the limelight, which will undoubtedly harm the value of the TV deal, if it doesn’t completely kill it.
We’ll cover that in part two, next week.