Hallyday's children challenge will

PARIS • The daughter of French rock legend Johnny Hallyday is confused over a turn of events.

In an open letter, Laura Smet, an actress, wrote that she found out a couple of days ago that the singer - dubbed the French Elvis Presley - had rewritten his will to totally disinherit her half-brother David and her.

But "it was only a few weeks ago that we were having a meal together and you said to me, 'So when are you going to have a child?'"

Smet, 34, is challenging Hallyday's will after he left everything to his fourth wife, Laeticia, who was 32 years his junior.

His death in December last year of lung cancer at age 74 plunged France into mourning and brought hundreds of thousands of his fans onto the streets of Paris for his funeral.

Smet said she was "hurt" after learning that she and David, 51 - the singer's only two biological children - had been left nothing.

Instead, all his wealth and remaining rights to the 110 million records he sold will eventually go to Jade and Joy, the girls he adopted in Vietnam with Laeticia.

Smet also hinted that Laeticia, a 42-year-old former model, had prevented her from seeing her father before he died.

Smet's lawyers said David is also contesting the will. His mother, 1960s pop star Sylvie Vartan, was the singer's first wife.

Under French law, a wife does not automatically inherit all her husband's estate and generally must share it with his children.

In the letter, Smet, whose mother is actress Nathalie Baye, said her father comes to her in her dreams every night. "You are handsome, with no tattoos, you are finally free..."

He began getting tattoos in the 1990s, around the time he met Laeticia in Miami, marrying her just after she turned 21 in 1996.

"I would have preferred if all this had stayed within the family," Smet wrote, "but unfortunately, in our family, this is how it is."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2018, with the headline 'Hallyday's children challenge will'. Print Edition | Subscribe