Nanette Kinkade, the ex-wife of Thomas Kinkade, the successful Painter of Light who died earlier this month, has filed a restraining order against his live-in girlfriend.
Thomas Kinkade’s family wants to stop Amy Pinto-Walsh from breaching a confidentiality agreement she signed more than a year ago.
Nanette Kinkade fears Amy Pinto-Walsh will attempt to sell her story and could release private family photographs.
Thomas Kinkade was one of the most successful artists in the US, but he struggled with alcoholism before his death at the age of 54, and split from his wife Nanette in 2010.
The so-called Painter of Light used to estimate that around one out of every 20 homes in America.
Thomas Kinkade’s estate – of which Nanette Kinkade is the principal trustee – has filed documents with a Santa Clara court seeking an injunction against Amy Pinto-Walsh, according to Los Gatos Patch.
The attorneys argue that the painter’s mistress, who is still living in his mansion in Monte Sereno, California, is planning to disclose information which would breach a confidentiality agreement signed in February 2011.
The restraining order would ban Amy Pinto-Walsh from saying or doing anything which would make Thomas Kinkade, his ex-wife or his business “appear in a negative light or false light”.
Amy Pinto-Walsh would also be prevented from writing or contributing to any sort of book, article or other publication about the late artist.
In particular, the lawsuit seeks to stop Amy Pinto-Walsh divulging personal information which she found out “as a personal assistant and companion to Thomas Kinkade”.
While it is not clear what exactly prompted the legal battle, the suit alleges that Amy Pinto-Walsh told a family friend that she intended to sell the story of her relationship with Thomas Kinkade and release unseen photographs of the painter.
The suit continues: “The release of these items would be personally devastating not only for Mrs. Kinkade, but also for the family’s four daughters, who are grieving the sudden loss of their father.”
The family also fears that Amy Pinto-Walsh could jeopardize Thomas Kinkade’s business empire, which relied on the production of prints and reproductions as much as original paintings.
They say Amy Pinto-Walsh had access to “trade secrets” such as the artist’s painting techniques and computer programmes, and could try to sell them on to others.
Amy Pinto-Walsh, who had been in a relationship with Thomas Kinkade for 18 months before his death, told Los Gatos Patch at the time that the painter “had a heart condition”.
Nanette Kinkade’s lawsuit cites this revelation of a “non-public health condition” as one breach of Amy Pinto-Walsh’s confidentiality agreement.
The suit also says that Thomas Kinkade died on the night of April 5, which contradicts previous reports that he was found dead the next morning.
While Thomas Kinkade was phenomenally successful and extremely wealthy, he apparently suffered from a drinking problem throughout much of his life, and in June 2010 was arrested for DUI.
Thomas Kinkade was also saddened by constant attacks on the quality of his work by art critics, and devastated by his divorce from Nanette.