A few days ago Peter Cook and Christie Brinkley’s relationship came back into the limelight after an interview on the Today Show with Christie Brinkley hit the national airwaves. I wrote a brief blog post a week ago saying that I thought the two of them needed to stay off the television set when it comes to their divorce and that the public drama needs to end. As a child of divorce, I have strong feelings rise up in me when I see two people going after each other any way they can during a divorce.
This week I invited Peter Cook into our office in Southampton at the Danshamptons.com and Dan’s Papers headquarters to tell me why he simply had to respond to the recent media storm surrounding his marriage and divorce from Christie Brinkley. Below is an edited version of our conversation.
DR: I’m glad you’re here because it’s always a good story for a writer to get an exclusive interview on something that is of national interest, but why are you here? Why did you come in today?
Peter: I just find it just so offensive that people take such casual stabs at my family and personal life. And I read your post online and felt that I had to speak to a local outlet. I’m being painted to the world and, more importantly, our community, that I’m this horrible person and it is just not true.
DR: Okay. So what do you want to say?
Peter: The truth is that at the end of my marriage I was not a faithful husband. I admit what I did and I accept the consequences for it, I regret it completely, I really do, but when I read or hear somebody saying that I’m a deadbeat dad or bully or some other horrible and completely untruth, I have to say wait a minute, enough’s enough. The only thing I try to do in life is make sure I can spend as much time with my children, be a good father and deal with the media machine when my divorce enters the news cycle and I start to get beaten up in the press. The truth is that I just want to make sure that I can see my kids. Everything else is secondary to me. I just want to keep the peace too. But it’s not keeping the peace going on national television and being completely dishonest.
DR: What specifically are you saying is not true?
Peter: It’s an outright lie when it’s said I’m behind on child support. It’s simply not true. I mean, how can I read something like that and not react? Not only do I pay child support directly to Christie, but of course I spend my money directly on my children when I can see them or when they ask for things. I want to support my kids, I love my kids, that’s who I am, I can’t make that any clearer. I can’t believe that I actually have to state this publicly in order for people to know that. My kids, as well as anybody who knows me or my family know that. That’s how bad my character has been damaged in all of this. Yes, I obviously damaged my own character when my affair became public, but for my reputation as a father to now be attacked…I can’t just sit idle. And to be called a bully when I haven’t had a conversation with Christie in over 4 and a half years, I just don’t get it. We exchanged some e-mails 2 years ago. That’s it. We don’t see each other or speak to each other. She is drudging this all back up for what? It’s also not true that I haven’t been private about this. She went on national television asking for privacy and peace. How can there be privacy and peace when you do that?
DR: You went on television afterwards.
Peter: Yes because this time around I felt that I had to. I went on NOT to attack her as she did me, but to defend myself. I don’t want to go on television, but I’m not going to sit back anymore and not let the world hear my side of the story.
DR: Does all of this media attention benefit you?
Peter: Of course it doesn’t. The media beats up on me any chance they get because I usually just say no comment and keep things private, and it has been private up until recently. Why would I start this again? I’m a high-end architect, I work for very discreet clients that are very private people, I don’t even publish my work half the time because my clients don’t want people to know what kinds of houses they live in. I don’t do my job because it’s a hobby, this is my livelihood and I don’t want to damage that. I don’t want this attention. I live my life quietly, I’m not a celebrity, I don’t hire a public relations firm looking to land me time on television shows, I do my job, I go home and I make arrangements to spend my fair share of time with my children. That’s it. I wasn’t the one bringing up our divorce on national television a week ago, she was, but somehow I’m being blamed for bringing this back into the public spotlight. How do I benefit from this type of attention? I don’t in any way. It just upsets me and I try to deal with it and I’m in here talking to you right now because I feel like I have to respond to it. You’re a well known writer, people out here respect the publication you write for and what you say and my clients are local, so I have to at the very least defend myself.
DR: Does the attention benefit Christie?
Peter: Of course it does. That’s a big part of the dilemma.
DR: Do you regret your affair? Are you sorry for it?
Peter: I deeply regret what I did to Christie with my affair. It was a selfish thing to do, it was stupid and was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made. I wish I could go back in time and change it and I’m sorry for it and the damage it has caused my family. She says she wants this to end and wants civility and peace. That’s all I want too, really that’s all I want. I don’t want my kids to go through this kind of thing again. It’s awful. I agree with what you wrote, if I could have it my way, my family life would not be in the media, but I guess that’s impossible.
Editors Note: The following PDF documents were provided by Peter Cook and are two letters from Peter Cook’s attorney to Christie Brinkley’s attorney in regards to child support, as well as an accounting record provided by Mr. Cook that he claims shows he paid the child support for the five months that he was with his kids and parenting them full time while Christie Brinkley was away on Broadway during the months of March 2011 to the end of July, 2011. The total payment for five months of child support is $6,250 and was paid on November 15, 2011 according to the quickbooks statement provided by Mr. Cook.
We invite Christie Brinkley to respond.
Peter Cook’s Quickbooks Statement