Teen-age pop star Tiffany dropped her petition to emancipate herself from her mother's legal guardianship Thursday, but it is doubtful that she will be returning home anytime soon.
According to attorneys for the mother, Janie C. Williams, the only reason the 16-year-old singer tentatively agreed to settle was that Williams threatened to force an expensive trial on the question of whether Tiffany can act as an adult.
"Our biggest regret is that the settlement, which Mrs. Williams proposed immediately upon (Tiffany's) filing of the petition of emancipation, could only be consummated upon the threat of trial," said Williams' attorney, Neal Goldstein.
While the half-dozen attorneys met privately in Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Hubbell's chambers to hammer out final details to end the 3-month legal battle, the two sat on opposite sides of the courtroom and would not look at each other.
Hubbell said he wanted the agreement in writing by today, but it will not be completed until next week, according to attorneys.
The agreement will not sever relations between mother and daughter, but it will keep them at a legal distance from each other in financial, contractual and personal matters, lawyers said.
Williams is recognized as Tiffany's legal guardian under the settlement, but points of disagreement between the two still must be resolved by three attorneys: one chosen by Tiffany, one selected by her mother and a third neutral attorney nominated by the two lawyers who represent mother and daughter.
Williams alleged in court declarations that George Tobin, the producer of her daughter's debut MCA album, which has sold over 5 million copies, has tied her daughter to unfair management and production contracts that give the bulk of her profits to Tobin.
She also alleged that Tobin urged Tiffany to petition for emancipation. Tobin, who was not in court Thursday, has denied the allegations.
The red-haired pop singer--whose full name is Tiffany Renee Darwish--has been living with her paternal grandmother in La Mirada since leaving home last March 7. She will continue to have the option to stay in La Mirada or go home to her mother's Norwalk apartment under the agreement. But neither side believed the gap between mother and daughter would be repaired anytime soon.
Tiffany's traveling companion when she is out of town on her frequent personal appearance tours has been her aunt and temporary guardian, Julie Abbas. While Williams will resume the status of legal guardian, Abbas will continue to travel with the singer, according to Tiffany's attorney, John Frankenheimer.
Because part of the settlement agreement between mother and daughter is that no specific terms be disclosed, Frankenheimer said he could not reveal money, custody or contractual details.
"She's pleased with the result," Frankenheimer said of the young recording artist.
According to Frankenheimer, the settlement calls on Tiffany to hire her own financial and legal advisers, separate from her mother's advisers.
"She sought a stable and orderly environment in which to conduct her business, and she's satisfied that she has that in place," he said.
"Jane Williams believes that the agreement will foster reestablishment of a relationship with her daughter, which she believes was only interfered with because of the intervention of outsiders," Goldstein said.