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Paulina Porizkova suffered an intense set of traumas in September 2019. She discovered late husband Ric Ocasek dead in his room on September 15, and the next day found out that he had — just weeks earlier — cut her out of his will completely, claiming she had “abandoned” him by asking for the separation. It has taken Porizkova years to climb out of the hole created by her grief, sudden financial strain, and immense anger at the man she had loved for over 30 years. Her new essay collection No Filter: The Good, the Bad, & the Beautiful details for the first time what exactly led up to the shocking moment she discovered his revised will.
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Porizkova has since settled with Ocasek’s estate and received what she feels is fair under the law — but she may never fully recover from the unanswered questions surrounding Ocasek’s final cruelty towards her.
‘No Filter’ by Paulina Porizkova
“I have made no provision for my wife … as we are in the process of divorcing,” read Ocasek’s will, per Page Six. “Even if I should die before our divorce is final … Paulina is not entitled to any elective share … because she has abandoned me.”
In No Filter, Porizkova explains why this statement came as such an absolute surprise: “Yes, we were separated. We were in the beginnings of a divorce. Yet we still lived together, we still had family dinners, we still went to dinner parties together as best friends — or so I thought.”
“I thought we had found the perfect way to navigate the end of our marriage, so the will came as an absolute shock,” she writes.
While the term “abandoned” was one that was easy to disprove legally (“abandonment of a spouse, legally speaking, is when a person’s partner disappears and cannot be contacted for the duration of at least a year,” Porizkova notes), the choice of word cut her deeply — and at first felt impossible to accept as the truth.
“This was a mistake. Someone had made a mistake,” she remembers thinking in the hazy aftermath of first reading his will. “Surely I would get a phone call, someone would contact me to clarify. Ric had not said that. I had clearly not abandoned him…Perhaps he had said it in anger, someone had jotted it down, and it had accidentally ended up in the will. These were not his last wishes.”
“The worst part of the betrayal was not that it took away the income Ric and I had been using to live — the income from the publishing rights to his music — and left me with two heavily mortgaged houses and tax bills I could not pay,” Porizkova later mused. “I knew that I would figure out a way to survive financially. No, the worst part was that he publicly declared I had abandoned him.”
Throughout No Filter, Porizkova reflects on the way that Ocasek’s outbursts long controlled her life. At his behest, she cut friends out of her life, turned down jobs, and even adopted his style of dressing, until “he became my whole word, my entire universe.”
Despite asking for a separation, after years during which Porizkova says she was “turning invisible to him” and “he stopped wanting to touch me,” the former supermodel always felt an intense connection to him and believed their love for one another would always exist in one form or another. In the context of all the other vindictive ways that Ocasek tried to keep her close, from forbidding her from doing risqué photoshoots to treating her financial contributions as “frivolous money,” his final betrayal can perhaps be read as a response to Porizkova finally stepping away from him and deciding to embark on her own life. But for someone who had made Ocasek her “entire universe” for decades, the revelation of his will was a Band-Aid being torn off — and exposing just how much of their relationship was built on her always remaining within his control.
No Filter: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful by Paulina Porizkova
‘No Filter’ by Paulina Porizkova
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