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Padma Lakshmi's custody fight with Adam Dell heats up

January 27, 2011 |  4:22 pm

PadmaThings are heating up between "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi and old flame Adam Dell over custody of her daughter Krishna.

Baby daddy Dell, who has some visitation rights, has decided to fight for more. Meanwhile, Lakshmi is telling little Krishna to consider Mom's current beau, 70-year-old Ted Forstmann, as her papa.

Dell, 41, a venture capitalist, filed a lawsuit in New York on Wednesday claiming that a paternity test proved he is the 11-month-old's biological father and that he and Lakshmi should work out a co-parenting agreement. He also pointed to the former model’s jet-setting lifestyle being less than ideal for taking care of the infant.

Dell said that the Lakshmi, 40, of "please pack your knives and go" fame, who proudly bore her baby bump during the show, isn't willing to prioritize Krishna before her Emmy-winning career.

Dell "is the parent who can be relied upon to put Krishna's needs before his own," the lawsuit said.

But Lakshmi's "career as a television personality and her commitment to celebrity status involve a hectic, irregular schedule and requires frequent and distant travel."

Dell, whose brother is Michael Dell -- you know, of personal computer fame -- is allowed to see the child nine days each month under the terms of an earlier agreement.

The couple dated for two years before they split in September 2009. Lakshmi claimed he was "unambitious" and his career as a technology firms investor was "uninteresting," according to his lawsuit. She then told him she was pregnant and Dell said a paternity test dubbed him the child's father.

But Lakshmi, who was once married to novelist Salman Rushdie, is encouraging her daughter to refer to Forstmann -- IMG's chief executive of sports and entertainment marketing -- as "papa."

Um, yes. And Dell is also ticked off that Lakshmi gave the infant the middle name Thea, which he thinks is a nod to Forstmann's full name of "Theodore." Mmmhmmm.

The reality TV star said she didn't find out about the lawsuit until it was reported in the New York Post.

"Twenty-four hours after the New York Post was told about Adam Dell's lawsuit, neither Padma Lakshmi nor her lawyers has received a copy of it; they only learned of it through a statement Mr. Dell provided to the press," one of her reps told Us Weekly.

Her lawyer Jay D. Silverstein said Dell's claims are "inaccurate and misleading."

"Ms. Lakshmi's sole interest lies in preserving the privacy and welfare of her daughter and in working out a fair and amicable agreement out of the media's glare," said spokeswoman Christina Papadopoulos.

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-- Nardine Saad

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Padma Lakshmi at the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

 

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