Now that Sherri Shepherd has once-and-for-all been legally declared the mother of Lamar Sally’s 19-month-old son, Lamar Jr., Mr. Sally is back to speaking to the media about their tumultuous custody battle.
For those of you who don’t know the story, Sherri and Lamar were married and agreed to have a child via surrogate using a donor egg — both of which Sherri selected and paid for. While the surrogate was five months pregnant, Sherri and Lamar ended their marriage and she declared she no longer wanted to be a mother. They went to court where Sherri tried to absolve herself of all legal and financial responsibility for the child, but the court ruled in favor of Lamar and she’s on the hook for $4,100 per month in child support.
In a new interview with Page Six, Lamar puts all of their old relationship problems on blast and even compares Sherri to ‘Jekyll and Hide’.
Check out an excerpt via Page Six:
“I tried to make life easy for her,” he says. “I’d have dinner ready. I made sure bills got paid. She appreciated it — to a certain degree.”
He compares his wife, who had no comment on the allegations in this story, to Jekyll and Hyde. “One minute she would say, ‘I couldn’t do “DWTS” if you weren’t in my life’ — because I took care of Jeffrey,” Lamar says. “The next week she complained I wasn’t working.”
In late 2013, after a draining IVF and surrogate process — plus about $100,000 in fees, most of which Sally admits Shepherd footed — the couple had a male embryo implanted in a surrogate living in Pennsylvania. Sally remembers of the gender choice, “[Sherri] said, ‘I don’t want a girl — I’m not doing any girl’s hair.’?”
Sally admits the “happy” couple had some problems, but never argued.
“She had trust issues,” he says. Shepherd’s ex, Tarpley, had secretly fathered a child with his mistress while married to Shepherd.
Sally says that weekly couples-counseling sessions had little effect on helping his wife trust him. Their therapist even tried to appeal to Shepherd. “?‘This is a good guy. You have to let stuff go,’?” Sally recalls the counselor saying.
The lack of trust extended to their finances. Sally, who signed a prenup, says that his name was never added to the deed of the million-dollar Allendale, NJ, house they shared, nor did the newlyweds share joint bank accounts.
Still, life was moving forward. Jessica Bartholomew, their surrogate, was 20-weeks pregnant when Shepherd went with her to a sonogram appointment. “She seemed excited to see the ultrasound,” Barthomelew tells The Post.
But one month later, during therapy, Sally claims Shepherd blindsided him.
“She said, ‘I can’t be the wife and mother you need. You can take the kid and go to LA.’?”
Sally recalls going into shock. “I said, ‘I love you. We don’t have that many problems, but the ones you do have you need to confront. We have a baby on the way and he needs a mother. I’ll meet you halfway.’?”
Sally says Shepherd told him, “?‘We’ll work out visitation and I’ll pay you child support.’?”
In the meantime, he was still living with Shepherd — sleeping in the guest room, but hopeful his wife would have a change of heart. “We talked, we got along, we had dinners together,” he says.
Two weeks after the therapy session was Sherri’s birthday, April 22. Sally was hurt that his wife didn’t want him at the on-air party “The View” threw her. “Something told me, ‘Check her e-mail.’? I’d never done that before.”
Sally walked into the office and saw Shepherd’s e-mail was open. He claims he scrolled through and hit on a land mine. The e-mail was from a lawyer who, it turned out, Shepherd already had on a $10,000 retainer. “It said, ‘We will get you out of the surrogacy contract. We don’t think it’s enforceable,’?” Sally remembers.
“My stomach dropped, I burst into tears. This is someone I love. How can you get out of being a mother to this child?”
He chose not to confront her and, to this day, has never told her what he discovered.
A heartbroken Sally was booked the next day for emergency dental surgery. After the procedure, his doctor told him he shouldn’t fly for three days. When he got home, still in pain, Shepherd told him to leave, Sally explains.With nowhere else to go, he booked a flight for the next day back to the Los Angeles apartment on which he still held a lease.
Jeffrey took the news hard. “I told him, ‘I’ll always be your stepdad. We’ll see each other soon,’?” Sally recalls. Jeffrey wrapped himself around his father figure and refused to let go. They haven’t seen each other since.
Aug. 5, 2014, should have been the happiest day of Sally’s life. But when he held his 8-pound son Lamar Jr. — the name he and Sherri had chosen together — for the first time, emotions ran to polar extremes.
“We had an immediate connection,” Sally says. “But it felt tainted. I was supposed to be there with my family, and I wasn’t. I was happy to have my son, but I was extremely angry.”
It turned out LJ had a genetic blood disease called G6PD, a condition that causes red blood cells to break down in response to certain medications and infections. Sally’s first thought struck fear in him: LJ had no insurance.
Says Sally, “I had my lawyer ask Sherri to put LJ on her insurance. She said no. I couldn’t believe she was that cold.”
Broke and unemployed, he had no choice but to apply for state aid in California. But things took a wrong turn when the mother listed on LJ’s birth certificate — the surrogate — was sued by the state for child support.
“I thought, Sherri Shepherd is too famous [for this to happen],” says Bartholomew, who vows never to be a surrogate again. Six months later, she and Sally won a court ruling to name Shepherd as LJ’s mother. Shepherd must pay child support until the boy is 18.
“I got painted as a gold digger, that I used Sherri,” says Sally. “Sherri’s friends in the media — Wendy Williams dogged me out every chance, Steve Harvey talked about me.”
Sally filed for divorce, in California, in May 2014. Shepherd filed days later in New Jersey.
He claims he got $50,000 from the prenup — hardly riches, especially given that he is about $100,000 in debt from legal fees.
Sally’s all but written off a return to comedy writing. “I would set meetings up with agents and managers, and they would cancel — I think after they found out who I was.”
He is again teaching in the LA school system. But he says he can’t go grocery shopping without Shepherd’s fans accosting him. “What kind of man uses a woman like that?” they heckle.
Sally can’t get a date either. He says he’ll start talking with women on Match or Plenty of Fish, but once they Google him, it’s all over: “?‘I know who you are! Don’t call me again.’?”
He knows he’ll one day have to explain to LJ why he doesn’t have a mommy. To prepare, Sally has been attending the Single Dads of LA support group. “I found that’s a common story, where the mothers abandon the kids,” he says. He’s now shopping a reality show focused on the group — his way of “standing up for the single dad.”
“I waited 40 years until I found someone. I wanted to do it right,” Sally adds. “[Sherri] put me through pure hell. I didn’t want to be a single father. I didn’t want my son to not know his mother’s touch.”
A mess. You can read the full interview here.