James Bergener is not willing to go down without a fight.
The personal injury attorney and estranged husband of Real Housewives of Orange County newbie Noella Bergener has decided to put out a hefty statement in response to the numerous allegations his ex has made about him on both the Bravo show and social media in recent weeks.
After attempting to fact-check Noella in a three-part video series he posted to his Instagram, James decided to have his legal team draft up a timeline of events that pertain to the estranged couple's relationship, marriage, separation and divorce.
Unsurprisingly, their stories differ quite a bit.
"In our modern world, people often exploit television and social media to twist facts and influence opinions," began the statement put out by Marissa A. Oxman and Simon Aziz Budhwani of Core Law Group on Wednesday night.
"Sadly, online public shaming can be a tool for emotional and financial leverage. Noella Bergener has used social media and television to do just that," they went on. "Our goal is to provide the public with the facts related to James Bergener's ongoing divorce from Noella Bergener."
Despite Noella's claims, James has allegedly "not and will never abandon his son. He loves his son dearly. Any insinuation to the contrary is a lie."
"James hopes this public release speaks truth to the derogatory statements Noella continues to spread," the statement read. "James will not tolerate Noella exploiting their son for fame or financial leverage. James asks everyone to, please, respect his son's privacy and to not believe everything they see on social media and Real Housewives."
According to his attorneys, James and Noella dated for five years and were legally married on June 18, 2020. The statement makes no mention of the pair's very public wedding ceremony that took place on Dec. 3, 2017, when James was allegedly still married to his first wife of 18 years.
James' team claims he and Noella moved their family to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in late 2020 and were granted permanent residence in January of this year. They apparently both signed legal documents stating that they intended to live there permanently.
Additionally, his team says the "only house they own is in Puerto Rico" and that "Noella made several social media posts in 2021 sharing the family's excitement" about living there.
About four months later, in May, Noella allegedly "left the family home in Puerto Rico and returned to California to pursue a television role on Real Housewives of Orange County."
James previously accused Noella of "changing" after she got cast on the reality show and that she began to put it above her family.
The statement claims James did not move back to California with Noella and that he still resides in Puerto Rico today.
"In late July 2021, James told Noella he did not want their son to be part of the Real Housewives television show," claim his lawyers. "James does not want their son exploited for fame and ratings. (We aren't mentioning their son's name for the same privacy concerns.)"
As Radar has reported, their 2-year-old son, James Jr. – who they call Junior – was recently diagnosed with autism. Noella is adamant that James has abandoned their child physically, financially and emotionally.
James' attorneys say that Noella's legal team "told our firm that Noella was going to file for separation from James." That is why, they claim, James "filed for divorce the next day in Puerto Rico."
The statement makes no mention of James' financial/legal troubles, which Noella has said came as a shock to her and prompted her to lawyer up in the first place.
"After multiple hearings, a Puerto Rico judge ruled Puerto Rico is the appropriate jurisdiction for the divorce proceeding," claims James' legal team. "James and Noella both appeared, represented by Puerto Rico lawyers, and made their respective cases. Noella's public claim that there was a 'fraudulent divorce' is simply false."
According to James, a Puerto Rico court granted their divorce on Dec. 8, "making them single people."
"Custody and financial issues will be addressed separately if a settlement is not reached," reads the statement, going on to claim that the estranged twosome have both "participated in mediation and ongoing settlement discussions about custody and financial issues of the one-year marriage. A retired judge acted as mediator. James and Noella have both been represented by lawyers during settlement discussions. James believes his proposals are fair, generous, and within the bounds of the law."
Additionally, James' attorneys insist he has "repeatedly asked to see his son" since Aug. 1" and that he's "paid substantial sums in childcare, housing, therapy, health insurance, food, other expenses for his son, and amounts that supplement Noella's lifestyle," despite her claims. "James feels Noella is withholding their son and using the media to get more than she is entitled. James feels extorted."
Not only did James post screenshots of the above statement to his Instagram Story, but he also dug up some public comments Noella's made in the past that he feels "prove" she and their child did in fact live in Puerto Rico with him as a family unit.
About 35 weeks ago, which would have been April, a curious Instagram user asked Noella, "I'm confused, does your son live in Puerto Rico and your daughter here in the states?"
She replied, "To call it confusing is saying the least. My daughter is from my previous relationship and in an effort to support her relationship with her bio dad I make the commute."
The following week, Noella wrote to another commenter, "We're 3 months in Puerto Rico and have never felt more at home." At the time, she referred to James as her "hubby."
Your move, Noella.