Arenas: “If She Can’t Have Me, She’ll Destroy Me”

A month ago I relayed dubious details of the breakup of Gilbert Arenas and the mother of his three children - with another on the way.

Card Sharks With Gilbert Arenas

(If only the kids had a card to play. Ugh.)

Laura Govan, who was with Arenas for nine years, claimed in late December (through her publicist) to Amy Argetsinger of the WASHINGTON POST that Arenas had “abandoned” their children and left her without money to buy their kids Christmas gifts.

Last week in a Washington Post piece co-authored by the same reporter who published Govan’s earlier claims, Argetsinger, more sordid details of the relationship seemingly surfaced. But the bizarre nature of the provocative information can’t help but call into question the veracity of the details.

As part of the Post’s gossip column The Reliable Source, Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts published the following on Jan. 27:

That might have been the end of the public drama. But then Govan contacted Trope and Trope, a high-profile family law firm in Los Angeles, and met with an attorney from the firm. Somehow, nine pages of typewritten notes from their meeting ended up in the midst of a court filing in another, unrelated case handled by the firm. All the pages were filed in a public docket in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Trope and Trope did not return calls for comment. According to a court order allowing the firm to remove the notes from public record because they contained “confidential attorney-client privileged communications,” the firm “inadvertently copied and submitted” them due to a “clerical error.”

Perhaps not coincidentally, the content of those documents portrayed Arenas in an extremely negative light, including what the Post reporters called his “profligate spending.” Excerpt:

In confidential notes, Govan — who is expecting her fourth child with Arenas — describes fights where he repeatedly threw her out of the house, his profligate spending (including a shark tank/pool/grotto complex said to cost $1 million), lavish vacations and spending sprees at toy stores.

And yet they never had a nanny, Govan complains, according to the notes: “he would state ‘you had them you watch them.’ “

If Trope and Trope sounds familiar, it’s because Sorrell Trope is perhaps the leading celebrity divorce attorney on the planet. But don’t take my word for it, you can read all about him on a TMZ.com page dedicated solely to Trope. The L.A. attorney has most recently repped Oksana Grigorieva, the estranged girlfriend of Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen’s beleaguered ex-wife Brooke Mueller.

And now Laura Govan.

It isn’t impossible to believe that Trope’s firm could’ve committed such a colossal gaffe in mistakenly including notes from the Govan-Arenas spat in a court filing for another of the firm’s cases. But for those notes, which included incredibly damaging claims against Govan’s legal adversary, to go from being buried in a random Los Angeles Superior Court civil case filing to the direct email inbox of the same Washington Post reporter who previously gave Govan a pre-Trope outlet for her abuse claims against Arenas is a coincidence defying belief.

Trope’s business model is to massage public and media perception of his client in order to win financial rewards for them. The leakage of the Arenas docs certainly fits that profile. There’s always a chance the file fumble was a completely unintended mistake on the part of Trope’s firm.

Or not.

This week, for the first time, Arenas himself was confronted on the record about his breakup with Govan.


Appearing on 106.7 The Fan in DC with Mike Wise and Holden Kushner, Arenas first addressed the well-being of the sharks he was notoriously known to keep in the DC-area home most recently inhabited alone by Govan and his three children.

When asked if the animals were alive, Arenas said, “unfortunately not.” He then claimed “something as simple as pennies in a fish tank” were to blame for the demise of the sharks.

Arenas then made clear that the nature of the allegations leveled against him by Govan in the Washington Post were calculated and exaggerated:

“From the last couple breakups of any NBA athlete, you’re going to get the same type of stories. ‘He left the kids, he took us off of this, he mentally abused us,’ it’s a format they (spurned NBA girlfriends) all go by to get more child support money.

“All this is is since she (Govan) can’t have me, she’s going to destroy me. And my image. I told her if she destroys my images and I can’t get paid, how will she get paid? So that’s not the smartest thing to do, I guess she wasn’t thinking on that one.

“The only thing (in court documents leak) that was accurate was the $5,000 (per month) to feed the sharks.”

Arenas on his three children with Govan:

“That’s the biggest thing and the reason I never really talked about it. When she made these outlandish comments. Our kids have to read this one day. Just so she (Govan) can get some attention, this is what she’s going to do? This is not the Basketball Wives show, these girls need to stop living in a fantasy world.” (ed. note: Laura Govan’s sister Gloria is a Basketball Wives cast member)

“We make bad choices as adults and we pick the wrong women sometimes and you don’t know it and you try to look past it. I was trying to have a family because I didn’t have one. Actions like what she did (leaking allegations against Arenas) is the reason I didn’t go back home.”

Before the radio interview on 106.7 The Fan in DC, I didn’t think Arenas could sink any lower. But somehow, with the above statements, he did. With his comments, Arenas did exactly what he accused Govan of doing: Making shameless, irresponsible claims about his former partner, embarrassing himself in front of his children, who will read all about this some day, and turning a serious family matter into a childish-sounding spat. (See Basketball Wives.)

In situations like these, the kids are all that matter. But usually one side elicits at least some manner of sympathy.

This situation?

Excuse me while I go light a candle or six for the kids.

Follow Brooks on Twitter for real-time updates.