Jesse James cheated on Sandra Bullock with many women but RadarOnline.com has learned that when one of those women wanted him to leave his wife for her, Jesse panicked.
Merilee Gerth, who RadarOnline.com was first to reveal as mistress number 5, had deep feelings for Jesse, a close friend reveals. And before their relationship ended up in a tangle of threatened litigation, Merilee was crazy about Jesse and wanted to be with him full time.
But Jesse had no intention of leaving Sandra.
"Merilee genuinely cared for Jesse. Would she have made a life with him and married him? Sure," a friend close to Merilee told RadarOnline.com exclusively. "Once she realized she wasn't anything special to him she was devastated.”
Jesse’s relationship with Merilee is perhaps the most complicated of all his extra marital affairs. She worked for him and eventually hired attorney Gloria Allred and threatened to sue him for sexual harassment. Court papers were never filed and Jesse settled for approximately $700,000. He was desperate to keep things quiet and not let his wife find out about the situation.
Merilee and Jesse had a flirtatious, hot relationship at first, the source revealed. She later told her friends that she just did what she had to do to get along at her job, and that included enduring what she described as sexual harassment.
Emails obtained exclusively by RadarOnline.com show an extremely friendly and flirtatious relationship at the very least, and contain overt sexual references that back up assertions from multiple sources that it was indeed sexual and serious at one point.
Gerth has refused to comment publicly and it is suspected that she signed an agreement that she would not discuss the situation when she reached a financial settlement with Jesse.
Some people close to Gerth do not view her fondly. "She's very calculated and manipulative,” said a source who has known her for years and wonders if Merilee got to a point where she encouraged Jesse’s bad behavior so she could cash in. "Merilee has always been star struck and always wanted to be in the limelight. Even for something as horrible as this, she'll take it."
RadarOnline.com has discovered that once Jesse settled the lawsuit with Merilee out of court, it became a black cloud that lingered over him. "I don't think Sandra ever knew that Jesse paid Merilee off,” a source who knows about the situation said. “He hated having this hanging over him and was constantly worried about it coming to light. He tried everything to get Merilee to not file a lawsuit."
Jesse, sources agree, had no intention of leaving Sandra. He cheated on her repeatedly but even now, while in sexual rehab treatment, he has made it clear he wants his marriage back.
As RadarOnline.com first exclusively reported, Merilee worked for Jesse at West Coast Choppers but ended her relationship with the Monster Garage star in 2007. That’s when she hired Allred and threatened to sue for sexual harassment. Sources told RadarOnline.com that Merilee, in a Monica Lewinsky-like move, had a shirt with Jesse’s DNA from a sexual encounter