Reese Witherspoon's parents in bigamy dispute

Reese Witherspoon (L) and her mother Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Witherspoon, shown here after the Academy Awards in 2006.

Story highlights

  • Mary Elizabeth Witherspoon: She learned of her husband's marriage in a newspaper
  • "I fear that he has early onset dementia," she says of her husband
  • The Witherspoons, married for 42 years, separated in 1996 but never divorced
  • Reese Witherspoon's rep says "no comment" on her parents' dispute
Reese Witherspoon's mother wants a Tennessee judge to annul her husband's recent marriage because she says she is still married to him, according to court documents.
"I love my husband and do not want a divorce," Mary Elizabeth Witherspoon said in a sworn affidavit. "We have been married for 42 years. He needs help."
The couple separated in 1996 "because of his alcoholism, infidelity, overspending and hoarding," she said.
Witherspoon, who said she speaks to her husband of 42 years "many times per week," learned through a Nashville newspaper announcement last month that John Witherspoon married "a woman named Tricianne Taylor" on January 14, the annulment petition said.
Witherspoon, 63, said her husband, 70, denied getting remarried, but a marriage license was filed, the petition said.
"When I confronted my husband, he said he didn't know who Tricianne Taylor was and that he did not remember getting married," she said.
"I fear that he has early onset dementia," Witherspoon, who is a retired nurse, said in her petition, which was filed Wednesday.
The court filing claims that Tricianne Taylor, also known as Patricia Taylor, is aware that he is still married because the first wife told her on April 30.
"She refused to talk to me," Witherspoon said in her affidavit. "I also wrote her a letter stating that John Witherspoon was married and had two children and four grandchildren. I have had no response. But she clearly knows now that she is married to a man who is not divorced."