Beach Boys singer Brian Wilson’s ex-wife is suing him for $6.7 million
March 31, 2022, 11:33
Brian Wilson recently sold his song rights to Universal for around $50 million.
A number of artists have recently sold the rights to their old catalogs to music publishing companies and investment funds for colossal sums.
Among them was the Beach Boys’ main songwriter Brian Wilson, who sold the rights to his songs to Universal Music Publishing Group for $50m (£38m).
These deals allow older artists to sell off their back catalog for a lump sum, giving them money in retirement and relieving them of the hassle of making money from their classical music.
But there are ripple effects.
When Brian Wilson and Marilyn Wilson-Rutherford separated in 1978 after 14 years of marriage, she took 50% of his songwriting royalties as part of their divorce settlement.
Legal files seen by rolling stone show that Wilson-Rutherford was paid about $11 million, but claims she owes an additional $6.7 million in “termination fees.”
It all gets pretty messy, as Wilson apparently wasn’t able to get his copyright back until more than 30 years after his marriage ended.
Wilson’s Universal deal breaks down to $32 million for songwriting and $19 million for ‘reversion rights,’ and Wilson’s attorneys say her ex isn’t entitled to any part of the second amount.
In December, Wilson’s attorneys offered Wilson-Rutherford about $3.3 million to settle “all issues.”
“This is a business dispute between Brian and his ex-wife over who owns the ‘copyright termination rights’ to the songs that Brian wrote or helped write during their marriage,” they wrote. said Wilson’s attorneys. rolling stone.
“With this filing, we are simply asking that the dispute be resolved in federal court, where we believe it should be. We will have no further comment on this and let the documents speak for themselves. “
Brian and Marilyn had two daughters together – Carnie and Wendy – who made up two-thirds of the Wilson Phillips band.
He married Melinda Kae Ledbetter in 1995 and the couple adopted five children – Daria Rose, Delanie Rae, Dylan, Dash and Dakota Rose.