Could Tony Award-winning actor Ben Vereen have been married to two women at the same time?
PEOPLE reports that the actor's divorce from his first wife, Andrea, had not been finalized when he married his second wife Nancy Bruner.
Vereen married Andrea in 1965 in Cecil County, Md. Vereen was 19, Andrea was 14 and pregnant. Vereen claims he filed for divorce seven years later and moved to Los Angeles thinking the marriage had been dissolved. Andrea's attorney, Harold Mayerson, told Page Six, "This story is so bizarre — you can’t make this stuff up."
Mayerson stated that his client believed that the two were divorced also and only learned the marriage had not been dissolved when she went to collect social security. "Mr. Vereen told her years ago they were divorced, but when she applied for social security, she found out that not only are they not divorced, but that some other woman is collecting under his name."
The other woman was Nancy Bruner, Vereen's second wife, who he divorced in 2012. Mayerson says he doesn't know how Vereen was able to marry without mentioning the date of his divorce on his California marriage certificate, "That's what's fishy about this."
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It seems things got even stickier when Mayerson and Andrea reached out to Vereen to solve the situation quickly and quietly. "We were negotiating with them, and they really didn't want to give much of anything. And then they, inexplicably in my opinion, filed this lawsuit," Mayerson said.
Mayerson hopes Vereen will do the right thing and doesn't believe the actor is a bad guy. "He left this young girl – she was 14 and pregnant at the time – to raise a child by herself in New York City, which was not easy at the time for an African-American woman, and life was tough." Andrea is seeking equitable property distribution, alimony, and lawyers' fees. Mayerson says he believes things will go in Andrea's favor, but hopes the two can settle things outside of court.