The teen heart-throb, the nanny and the $1.5m extortion claim

Managing the political turmoil of the White House on the set of The West Wing was one thing, but in the real world it seems actor Rob Lowe is struggling to manage his own household, especially where a disgruntled former nanny bent on extortion is concerned.

Just a day after the former teen heart-throb penned a remarkably personal cri de coeur about his difficulties with the former employee on a prominent blog site, we now learn that he and his wife, Sheryl Berkoff-Lowe, have filed a suit against the woman, demanding damages of at least $1m (£500,000).

His domestic debacle was spelled out in detail by Mr Lowe in a column submitted to The Huffington Post website.

He alleges that Laura Boyce, who looked after the couple's two young boys through most of 2007, vanished without explanation a few weeks ago, only to reappear in recent days demanding money from them.

More specifically, the young woman allegedly sought to extort $1.5m from Mr Lowe as hush money for sealing her lips about her months in his home. Otherwise, as the actor explained it, "she will accuse us both of a vicious laundry list of false terribles".

"My family is devastated at this betrayal," Mr Lowe, 44, wrote. "We will defend ourselves with vigour and without fear."

Rather than coughing up discreetly, the Lowes have decided to meet her head-on, exposing her attempted extortion and demanding the damages from her on the grounds that she had "betrayed their trust and engaged in a scheme to hurt the Lowes by spreading malicious lies".

"Everyone knows we live in a time where public figures are targets," Mr Lowe wrote in his commentary. "But I also know of many people in everyday life who are paying the price of a climate where anyone can accuse anybody of anything, anytime, and hope for a big cash pay-off at the end. 'Hush money' to go away. Well I won't go away. No one intimidates my family."

The court papers filed in Los Angeles on Monday specifically accuse the former nanny of violation of a confidentiality contract, defamation, and infliction of emotional distress on the Lowe family.

What the nanny has been saying about the Lowes – or has threatened to say – is not made clear in the court files and there has been no public comment either from her or anyone representing her.

Whatever the alleged calumnies are, the Lowes seem confident they will not withstand close scrutiny, however.

The Huffington entry stands as his first salvo against the woman and includes extracts from two text messages she allegedly sent to the family shortly after abandoning the household.

As Mr Lowe points out, they do not appear to be words written by a person in any way distressed by her months in his house.

"Sheryl, I am really sorry," the first message began. "I have nothing bad 2 say about your family and really am thankful for what you guys have done for me over the years. I hope we can handle this as friends. I did not leave out of spite or anger, it was just time for my heart to let go."

In the second text, she said: "Please tell the kids it had nothing 2 do w them, they are absolutely amazing boys. It had nothing to do with you or rob either, this was me. I love you guys. Ps tell rob I'm really sorry as well."

Mr Lowe also said: "During her time in our home my wife tried to mentor this young woman. She took her into her confidence. We took her into our hearts. Having 18 years of sobriety, both my wife and I tried to be supportive as she struggled with personal issues.

"But we never saw this coming. Apparently, she wanted more. Recently, a colleague of hers has come forward to reveal that this young woman had 'a crush' on me and told her on many occasions, 'I wish he would get a divorce.'"

Mr Lowe is familiar with the treacherous waters of tabloid celebrity exposure. It is 20 years since he weathered a near career-wrecking storm when videos surfaced of him engaging in sex with a teenager. It has been a long road back to respectability for the former brat pack icon, his status rebuilt on The West Wing and a new TV hit, Brothers & Sisters, which also stars Calista Flockhart and Sally Field.

Click here for Rob Lowe's Huffington Post article

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
Researchers have said it could take only two questions to identify a problem with alcohol
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

LSA (afterschool club) vacancy in Newport

£40 per day + Travel Scheme : Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job: Our client ...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style