Sofia Vergara's Complicated Legal Battle, Explained
Sofia Vergara's ex-fiancé is continuing his legal battle for the right to implant their two embryos, which were created when the couple was still together in 2013, in a surrogate.
Nick Loeb first sued Vergara in 2014 in his home state of California, where the embryos remain frozen at a clinic in Beverly Hills. The issue gained national attention, and shortly thereafter Loeb penned an opinion piece for the New York Times titled, "Sofía Vergara’s Ex-Fiancé: Our Frozen Embryos Have a Right to Live" in 2015. Later that year, the judge was set to dismiss their case, when Loeb himself dropped it (he had been ordered to identify ex-girlfriends who allegedly had abortions while in relationships with him, according to The Daily Beast, and refused).
Later, he established a trust for the embryos (which he has named Emma and Isabella) in Louisiana, and had that trust sue Vergara in the state, according to NOLA.com, which also reports that embryos have some rights under Louisiana law. (It is one of the most anti-abortion states in the country.)
However, the actress persuaded Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon to dismiss that case, because she was not subject to personal jurisdiction in Louisiana. Loeb then took up residence in southern Louisiana, himself, and went forward with a new suit in January in the small town (like, population under 13,000 small) of Belle Chasse. He then invoked Louisiana's Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which requires court cases over child custody to take place in the state where the child lives.
Though Vergara attempted to have the case moved to federal court—arguing that the act pertains to living children and not embryos—Judge Lemmon, this time, sided with the plaintiffs. On July 11, Vergara is expected to ask Lemmon to reconsider the ruling, according to NOLA.com.
In his NYT op-ed, Loeb raised a number of questions, treading into murky ethical waters. "A woman is entitled to bring a pregnancy to term even if the man objects," he wrote. "Shouldn’t a man who is willing to take on all parental responsibilities be similarly entitled to bring his embryos to term even if the woman objects? These are issues that, unlike abortion, have nothing to do with the rights over one’s own body, and everything to do with a parent’s right to protect the life of his or her unborn child."
In 2015, Vergara's attorney issued the following statement to People: "Vergara has never suggested that she wished to have the embryos destroyed ... She has always maintained that they be kept frozen, a fact of which Loeb and his counsel have always been aware, despite Loeb’s statements to the contrary."
While she's been ranked as the highest paid TV actress for six years running, Vergara had a modest upbrining in her native Colombia. Loeb was raised on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with ties to both Lehman and Loeb banking families. None of his suits have asked for financial assistance.
Vergara and Loeb began dating in 2010 and became engaged in 2012. In May 2014, they called off their engagement. In December of 2014, Vergara began dating actor Joe Manganiello, and they tied the knot in 2015.
The 45-year-old actress has one son, 25-year-old Manolo Gonzalez, with her first husband and high school sweetheart Joe Gonzalez, whom she married when she was just 18. They split in 1993.