It may take a village to raise a child, but what does it take to father a celebrity love-child who's monthly maintenance check could support a village?
"I'm not an idiot," 29-year-old Brazilian underwear model Luciana Morad told the Brazilian magazine Caras after giving birth to Mick Jagger's seventh child, Lucas, last year. "I have always used contraceptives and never had problems."
And who says she has problems now? In March, Jagger admitted to having fathered the child, after DNA test results left him no alternative. He was then ordered to pay $10,000 a month in child support until New York Family Court ruled on the baby's financial fate.
But the mother of his latest child, who, after 14 months, is still 29, wants much, much more -- and it appears as though she's going to get it. New York child-support rulings are based on the child's needs as well as on the parent's ability to pay, and Jagger's request to be exempted from full financial disclosure was denied by a New York court examiner two days ago.
The examiner, David Kirshblum, explained that he could not file a support order until Jagger revealed his exact income and net worth (which the man of wealth and taste has managed to keep hidden even from jilted ex Jerry Hall). Kirshblum then quipped "Show me the money!" by way of elucidation. It is estimated that Jagger, who is notoriously frugal by rock star standards, is worth over half a billion dollars.
Morad was reported to have sobbed in Manhattan court as she rationalized her demands. Aside from itemizing expenses such as a housekeeper, a nanny, two cellphones for the nanny, $6,000 in rent and $20 a month in excess baggage fines, she lamented, "I live in a two-bedroom flat. It is very small and when the housekeeper comes to clean we have to leave because of the fumes."
Asked why she needed a nanny as well as a housekeeper, she explained that the nanny doesn't do any cleaning. The Brazilian underwear model earned less than $25,000 last year and is seeking employment as a TV presenter. Still, $10,000 per month is a lot of child support, no matter what a parent's ability to pay. In fact, a USDA report released last spring estimated that an average American family with a child born in 1999 would spend approximately $785 on food, shelter and other necessities per child per month. But Morad estimates she will need $35,000 per month to raise the 14-month-old Lucas. If New York Family Court agrees with her, Jagger can expect to pay upwards of $7.14 million to raise his seventh child.
"The problem is that people think a single mother only has one option, that of abortion," Morad told Caras magazine in the same interview last year, "and whoever doesn't choose that option is seen as opportunistic."
And it's possible that the Brazilian beauty is not opportunistic. Maybe Lucas is an extravagant baby who thinks nothing of paying excess baggage fines and $6,000 in rent, and who requires a bodyguard to take him and his entourage of nannies with cellphones to the zoo. "I need [security] because Brazil is a very, very dangerous country right now," Morad explained in court. "My father was kidnapped and my friend was kidnapped and people get shot in the streets."
What's obvious is that both model and child's problems stem from Lucas' status as celebrity progeny. In fact, none of this would have happened if his father had turned out to be a local dry cleaner. But things being as they are, Lucas' expenses are such that an unemployed underwear model/aspiring TV presenter cannot reasonably be expected to meet them without the help of a loaded rock star. And matters are further complicated by the fact that Lucas resembles his father, thereby probably calling unwanted attention to himself and attracting potential kidnappers.
But wait! I've got a solution, a modest proposal. If, by way of compromise, Morad were granted the $35,000, then ordered to trade Lucas for either a village or a shantytown full of Brazilian street children this whole mess could be avoided.
Lucas could then be adopted by kindly, suddenly childless villagers or shanty-dwellers, and Sally Struthers could help raise money for his keep. What with Lucas being famous, she could easily scare up $700 a month and they could feed the whole district. There, cozily ensconced in his rain forest or São Paolo favela, revered by locals as the "menino who makes the fancy food come," Lucas would be safe from exploitation, media-savvy kidnappers and Hello! Magazine.
Meanwhile, an entire village of malnourished children would be safely holed up in Manhattan, with all their nannies, cellphones and excess luggage paid for until they turned 17. At which point, Lucas could stage a carefully orchestrated comeback, perhaps getting Stella McCartney to make him one of those "Rock Royalty" T-shirts she and Liv Tyler wore in public recently. After all, nothing prevents the illegitimate son of a rock star from laying claim to that. It's not as if there's an actual throne.
And if it did cause a scandal, so much the better. The whole thing, from conception to comeback, would make for a satisfyingly sentimental and tastefully exploitative but knowing and self-deprecatingly ironic bestselling memoir, to which he could sell the film rights.
Then, when he got back to New York, the former village children -- one of whom might have blossomed into a stunning Brazilian swimsuit model -- could form his entourage. They could become his village "people." This would work out well for everyone, because after 17 years of being exploited by their adoptive mother and snubbed by their adoptive half-siblings, the former village children would have squandered all their cash on therapy and drugs and would be on the lookout for a sugar daddy with some major cake.
And that's where the global village idiot would come in.