After nearly two years of headline-making accusations contained in back-and-forth court filings and legal proceedings, the marriage between Eleanor McCain and Jeff Melanson is over.
The high-profile breakup of Ms. McCain, a singer and McCain Foods heiress, and Mr. Melanson, former president and CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, has ended in a divorce – not an annulment as Ms. McCain had sought. Mr. Melanson will not be getting the $5-million payment initially outlined in the couple's prenuptial agreement, but instead a settlement that has not been disclosed.
In a Dec. 14 order, Justice Carolyn Horkins of the Ontario Superior Court dismissed all the claims made by Ms. McCain and Mr. Melanson, except for his claim for a divorce.
When she launched her litigation in March, 2016, Ms. McCain had asked for an annulment of their marriage. In his response, Mr. Melanson asked for a divorce and enforcement of their prenuptial agreement, which would have paid him $5-million.
The prenup, signed two days before the couple tied the knot in a private ceremony on April 26, 2014, said that within four months of a breakup, she would have to provide him that sum "to assist him in adjusting to his post-separation lifestyle."
Last September, both parties agreed to dismiss Ms. McCain's annulment claim and to proceed to an uncontested divorce order.
"The litigation between Ms. McCain and Mr. Melanson was fully and finally settled in December, and there will be no further court appearances," one of Ms. McCain's lawyers, Don Jack, told The Globe and Mail in an e-mail, declining to comment further.
The court order was dated Dec. 14; the divorce was to take effect 31 days later.
Lawyers for both Ms. McCain and Mr. Melanson declined interview requests this week and neither side would disclose the settlement amount.
Both parties had offered very different portrayals of their marriage.
"To say that the Applicant and Respondent have different perspectives on the relationship is an understatement," Justice Frances Kiteley, who ruled on one of the motions in the case, noted in her decision.
Mr. Melanson, a prominent arts administrator, stepped down from his position at the TSO after Ms. McCain filed a request for annulment that contained explosive allegations about his behaviour not just in their marriage, but in his job as a cultural leader.
Ms. McCain alleged in her filing that Mr. Melanson had been involved in behind-the-scenes abuses and misconduct at three major arts organizations where he had worked in the past decade – the National Ballet School, the Banff Centre and the TSO.
Ms. McCain's allegations included sexual harassment at Banff. The Banff Centre subsequently acknowledged a settlement with a former employee in that case, but would not provide details, citing a non-disclosure agreement.
In her filing, Ms. McCain described Mr. Melanson as engaging in an "aggressive courtship," a rushed marriage, and then the abrupt termination of the relationship "through a self-serving e-mail," two months after the couple held a public celebration.
"Jeff lied to Eleanor, deliberately misrepresented himself to her, and tricked Eleanor into going through a ceremony of marriage," the filing alleged.
Mr. Melanson denied the allegations and fired back with his own court papers describing his former spouse as a "self-funded, amateur musician" who was mean-spirited to his children and looked down on people less wealthy than her.
"Sadly, Eleanor is a vengeful, angry person with extreme wealth and incredible amounts of rage," Mr. Melanson said in his respondent's answer to Ms. McCain's annulment application.
He denied in his court filing her claim that their union ended by e-mail.
Mr. Melanson's financial situation was affected by the split and the publicity.
In the wake of the media coverage that followed Ms. McCain's initial filing, Mr. Melanson resigned from the TSO; the organization called it a mutual agreement that was "in the best interests of both parties."
In a February, 2017, decision, Justice Horkins noted that Mr. Melanson had to sell his condo for $1-million, for a $110,000 profit, and tap into his line of credit.
Ms. McCain's legal team included Marie Henein, who had defended the former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi in his sexual-assault case.
Mr. Melanson, meanwhile, retained as his lawyer Harold Niman, who had represented one of Ms. McCain's previous husbands, Greg David, after they split in 2004. Mr. Niman was also counsel for Christine McCain when she divorced from Ms. McCain's brother Michael.