In December 2020, “Westworld” star Evan Rachel Wood entered into a custody battle with her ex-partner, actor Jamie Bell, over the couple’s then-7-year-old son, Jack.
Initially, Bell and Wood split custody of the boy with few issues, as Bell wrote in court documents publicly released last week and reviewed by The Daily Wire.
But two months later, in February of 2021, she made explosive allegations against Brian Warner — also known as Marilyn Manson — of sexually abusing her during their relationship a decade earlier. The allegations, which Warner denies, were then repeated in Wood’s documentary “Phoenix Rising,” which aired in March of 2022 on HBO.
Wood and Bell alternated holidays with Jack, and Christmas of 2020 was supposed to be Bell’s time with his son. But on December 22 of that year, Wood did not arrive to return Jack to Bell for the holidays as agreed. She even, according to Bell, lied to him about bringing Jack back to Los Angeles from her second home in Nashville, Tennessee.
Wood allegedly told Jack in a text on December 18, 2020, that she and Jack had arrived back in Los Angeles. As Bell soon learned, this was untrue, as Wood and Jack had never left Tennessee.
For four days, Bell believed his son was in Los Angeles but couldn’t contact him on FaceTime even though he tried every day. Wood didn’t respond either, and neither did her mother, so as a last resort, Bell said he reached out to Wood’s assistant, who informed him that Jack was still in Tennessee.
Soon after, on the day that Jack was supposed to be returned to his father, Wood emailed Bell to tell him that her and Jack’s safety was at risk because she was involved in a high-profile criminal investigation and would be “staying in Nashville for the immediate future.” Her email was pleasant and cordial, but Bell doubted her story, believing that if Wood was in danger, it would be safer if Jack were with his father.
“Or she has invented or exaggerated any potential danger and is withholding Jack from Jamie to satisfy her own whims,” the court documents say.
On December 23, Wood sent Bell a letter supposedly from law enforcement who were working on the investigation. It was sent to Bell on the messaging app Signal and was not on any formal letterhead. Bell was also sent an image that the name Ilma Gore at the top. Gore is a graphic artist that Wood dated for more than a year. Wood deleted that post and sent Bell one that didn’t have Gore’s name at the top.
The letter said that Wood was involved in an investigation involving a well-known public figure and that, the “safety of Ms. Wood, her family, other victims, and of their families are of the utmost concern during this time.”
The letter contained a signature from someone who allegedly worked at the “Federal Violent Crimes Department,” a department he says doesn’t exist.
Bell continued to try to contact Wood over the next few months, but claimed she “used the global pandemic, a third-party investigation, bad faith mediation, and three separate law firms in two separate states to withhold a 7-year-old boy from his father for months.”
Bell was eventually able to regularly FaceTime with Jack, and said in court documents that “Jack has been made to unreasonably fear Los Angeles and men he does not know as Evan [Rachel Wood] continues to inappropriately involve him in whatever fears she may have as she proceeds in allegations of abuse by Marilyn Manson.”
In one FaceTime call on February 25, 2021, Bell said Jack said something like “You’re not good Daddy, you’re not here,” which broke his heart. In an earlier FaceTime call, Jack told Bell that he had drawn a picture of a man who had been hurting him. Wood, Bell alleged, jumped on the call to say it wasn’t a man hurting Jack but a man hurting Wood. Jack then said the man’s name is Brian – referring to Marilyn Manson – and that the man lives just three miles away from Bell in Los Angeles.
At some point – after a failed mediation attempt and Wood filing and retracting a restraining order against Bell – Jack was allowed to spend some time with Bell at his in-law’s home in Florida. While there, Jack repeatedly said he was worried about his safety and continually brought up the man who allegedly hurt his mom, even displaying “emotional outbursts” related to the investigation concerning Wood’s allegations. Jack also said he could only participate in future events “if Brian is in Jail.”
“I am absolutely appalled and terrified that Evan is feeding this information to our 7-year-old,” Bell said in court documents.
He also noted that the alleged abuse by Manson happened a decade ago and the abuse is not new and did not have anything to do with the custody issue.
“I know Evan loves our son but I am very concerned by how she is handling the current situation,” Bell wrote. “I do not even want to think of the short-and long-term psychological harm Evan might be inflicting upon Jack with this kind of talk and my prolonged separation from him.”
Manson has distanced himself from the custody battle, even though he has been drawn into it. A source close to the singer told The Daily Wire that “Manson has never threatened Evan or her family.”
“She’s never presented any evidence of any threats against her or her family,” added the source, who requested anonymity. “Manson hasn’t had any interaction with Evan in nearly a decade. Evan is looking for someone to blame for her family problems which, according to court documents, she’s actually causing herself. Her ex-husband asserted that she caused ‘psychological harm’ to their young son through ‘prolonged separation.’ Evan’s threat to her own family stability is very real and well-documented, unlike the alleged threats she claims to have received from Manson.”
In a Mother’s Day post last year thanking herself, Wood apparently referred to Jack, who was eight at the time, using they/them pronouns. Wood describes herself as “queer” in the post.
The custody dispute has been ongoing for two years. Last week, Wood reportedly gave Bell primary custody of Jack, according to court documents obtained by The Blast.
Some of the information contained in Bell’s court documents were also included in Marilyn Manson’s defamation lawsuit against Wood, including the allegedly fake FBI letter. Manson also accused Wood of providing the falsified letter to bolster her documentary about her allegations against the legendary rock star.
As further proof of the alleged deception, Manson included a screenshot of a purported conversation between Gore and Wood, in which they allegedly workshopped what to write in the supposedly fake FBI letter.
Wood responded to the lawsuit by saying she stands “by everything that I have said about the abuse allegations.”
Another woman who appeared in that documentary, Ashley Morgan Smithline, recanted her allegations against Manson and said that she had “succumbed to pressure from Evan Rachel Wood and her associates to make accusations of rape and assault against Mr. Warner that were not true.”
Wood responded by saying in a sworn declaration she “never pressured or manipulated Ashley Morgan Smithline to make any accusations against Plaintiff Brian Warner, and I certainly never pressured or manipulated her to make accusations that were not true.” She added that Smithline first contacted her in March 2019.
More than a dozen other women have also accused Manson of sexual assault.
Much of Manson’s lawsuit against Wood was thrown out in early May under California’s anti-SLAPP law, including a claim about Wood recruiting, coordinating, and pressuring other women to accuse the singer of abuse. Manson’s remaining claims are set to go to trial on May 1, 2024. He is also appealing the dismissal of the claims that were thrown out.
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This story has been edited for clarity. An earlier version stated the documentary “Phoenix Rising” aired in March of 2021. It aired in March of 2022.