James Brown may be back in the public eye, thanks to a new biopic, but the late music icon is far from resting in peace, according to his widow.
In an interview with MailOnline.com, Tomi Rae Brown detailed for the first time just how complicated things are with Brown’s family as she touched on the battle for the soul legend’s $65 million fortune as well as how a paternity suit resulted in the dismembering of his body which has been moved 14 times since his death.
Although Brown’s biopic, “Get On Up,” “gives a good depiction of my husband’s life,” Tomi Rae feels all the drama since the singer’s death is “is more painful and outrageous than anything a scriptwriter could dream up.”
“James would be spinning in his grave if he knew the hell I’d gone through over the past eight years,” she told MailOnline.
Since Brown’s death on Christmas Day 2006, feuding among the entertainer’s children has left Tomi Rae “virtually penniless” as the children – legitimate and otherwise – have launched legal claims on Brown’s estate along with lawyers, hangers-on and business associates.
In addition, there’s the situation with Brown’s will. According to Tomi Rae, a will leaving half of Browns’ fortune to her and the rest to a charitable foundation to help underprivileged children ‘mysteriously disappeared’ in the days following the legendary entertainer’s death. On the flipside is a will Brown signed in 2000 that his children are standing by. That will, which was made before the singer married Tomi Rae and their son James Jr.’s birth, lists Brown’s six adult children as the beneficiaries.
“He thought he had provided for me and Little Man, as he called our son. But every piece of scum and slime came crawling out of the woodwork the day he died,” Tomi Rae said. ‘There have been lawsuits and countersuits… I know I will prevail eventually, but I’m in a living hell.”
The legitimacy of James Jr. as the elder Brown’s son has been questioned by the singer’s other children, who claim Brown had a vasectomy in the 1980s.
The squabbling ultimately resulted in a judge ordering a DNA test, which confirmed that Brown was James Jr.’s father. Despite the verification, the way in which the result was reached is an issue that Tomi Rae gets emotional discussing.
“They couldn’t do the normal DNA test because of all the embalming fluid in his body. So they had to cut off his legs to get to his bone marrow,” she revealed. “I wept uncontrollably when I found out. My husband, the greatest dancer in the world, had his legs hacked off in death.”
As if enough damage hadn’t been done, Tomi Rae goes on to reveal that in the six months after Brown’s passing, the singer’s body was moved 14 times. It eventually ended up in a temporary grave in the garden of Brown’s oldest daughter Deanna’s home in Georgia.
‘That is the final insult to James,’ said Tomi Rae, who was hired by “Get On Up” executive producer Mick Jagger to be a consultant for the film. The Rolling Stones frontman and Tomi Rae are currently working on a two-hour documentary that will shed light on the story of the drama over Brown’s estate.