Children of French rocker Hallyday bury hatchet with widow over inheritance

Publish: 5:59 PM, July 4, 2020 | Update: 5:59:PM, July 4, 2020

PARIS, – The two oldest children of French rock legend Johnny Hallyday have agreed to settle a long-running legal battle over claims they were unlawfully written out of their father’s will, depriving them of an inheritance worth millions of euros, lawyers said Friday.

Laura Smet and David Hallyday filed lawsuits after Hallyday’s death from lung cancer in December 2017, when it emerged that a will drawn up in California had disinherited them in favour of the singer’s widow and two Vietnamese girls the couple had adopted.

Under French law, children are entitled to at least part of their parents’ estate, but Hallyday, despite being considered one of France’s cultural treasures, had lived in the United States with his wife Laeticia for years. “Laeticia wanted to reach an agreement with her husband’s oldest children,” the widow’s lawyer Gilles Gauer said in a statement.

No details of the accord were disclosed, and neither Smet nor her lawyer responded to requests for comment. “We welcome this settlement,” David Hallyday’s lawyer Pierre-Jean Douvier told AFP. “With this agreement we are dropping all legal action.”

The highly public dispute over “France’s Elvis” transfixed the country, with many fans outraged to learn Hallyday would have disinherited his biological children. His estate, worth several tens of millions of dollars, includes multiple properties as well as luxury cars and rights to his 1,160 songs.

Hallyday had Laura in 1983 with the actress Nathalie Baye, while 53-year-old David is his son with his first wife, the 1960s pop star Sylvie Vartan.

His French assets were frozen in 2018, and a French court later ruled that it had jurisdiction to hear a lawsuit that Laeticia wanted to be heard in the United States.