THE HEAT IS ON, Hamptons scandals part 2: Peter Cook

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

From the pages of AVENUE’s July issue…

Christopher Mason, host of the new Investigation Discovery series “Behind Mansion Walls”— about murder in fabulous homes—and author of The Art of the Steal: Inside the Sotheby’s-Christie’s Auction House Scandal, revisits a selection of the biggest scandals to ever hit the Hamptons.


The divorce proceedings of former supermodel Christie Brinkley, 54, and architect Peter Cook, 49, became front-page tabloid fodder in the summer of 2008, with colorful details of Cook’s sexual antics. Brinkley filed for divorce after learning of her husband’s affair with his 18-year-old assistant, Diana Bianchi, a former clerk at Stevenson’s Toys & Games in Southampton. Fearing a sexual harassment suit, Cook had paid Bianchi $300,000 to keep their affair a secret. But the girl’s stepfather, ex-Southampton cop Brian Platt, whispered the shocking news to Brinkley moments after she delivered the graduation address at the Southampton High School—while Cook and their son were sitting in the first row, cheering. Intent on humiliating Cook, Brinkley asked for a public divorce trial against the strenuous objections of her husband, who argued that the revelations would be harmful to their children. Cook’s lawyer, Norman Sheresky, described Brinkley as “a compulsively needy wife blinkered by her disgust, filth and rage.” He added, “For goodness sake: She’s on her fourth husband . . . Your honor, we’re here because of the self-indulgent wrath of a woman scorned.” Under cross-examination, the handsome lothario admitted to using a Web cam to transmit images of himself masturbating and to spending the eye-popping sum of $3,000 a month on Internet pornography. After five days of embarrassing testimony, a settlement was reached: Brinkley won sole custody of the couple’s two children and agreed to pay Cook $2.1 million.


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