On Friday actress Reese Witherspoon, pregnant with her third child, appeared at an emergency hearing in the Davidson County probate court located in Nashville, Tennessee, in front of Judge Randy Kennedy, asking him to impose a court-supervised conservatorship on her father, 70-year-old John D. Witherspoon, a retired physician. Reese's mother, Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Witherspoon, had filed a lawsuit earlier in the week against her husband of 42 years, claiming that he had committed bigamy by marrying a woman named Tricianne Taylor in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, on January 14 while he was still married to Betty. In the lawsuit, Betty alleged that John suffers from the early onset of dementia and has a drinking problem and although the couple has been separated since 1996, they were never divorced, and so she wants the marriage to be annulled.
Judge Kennedy barred the media from attending the hearing and ordered all court records sealed, which is customary in cases involving the allegations of mental incapacity. In the meantime, Betty Witherspoon, a retired nurse and former college professor, was successful in obtaining a restraining order against Tricianne Taylor which precludes her from using the last name of Witherspoon for any purpose. Ms. Taylor allegedly tried to use the Witherspoon name to obtain a loan and coerced John Witherspoon to change his last will and testament.