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Estranged wife of Il Divo tenor sues him, alleging sexual and physical abuse

Il Divo tenor Sébastien Izambard performs in Doha, Qatar, on Apil 8, 2017.
Il Divo tenor Sébastien Izambard performs in 2017 at the grand opening of the Mall of Qatar in Doha, Qatar. A lawsuit filed Monday by his estranged wife, Renée Izambard, accused the singer of repeated sexual abuse, assault and coerced control.
(Ian Gavan / Getty Images)

The estranged wife of Il Divo tenor Sébastien Izambard filed a lawsuit Monday accusing the singer of repeated sexual abuse, assault and coerced control.

In the suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Renée Izambard calls the tenor a “duplicitous domestic abuser” who is a “coercively controlling, cruel, sexually depraved spouse abuser.”

Renée Izambard is seeking damages for sexual battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress. At the heart of the lawsuit is the use of a new California statute that broadens domestic violence protections to include coercive control in which a person’s “pattern of behavior ... unreasonably interferes with a person’s free will.”

The court documents include allegations of years of sexual and emotional abuse that began when the couple started dating in Australia in 2005 while Renée Izambard worked as a publicist for Sony Music. On their first trip together to Thailand, according to the suit, he made her watch him get sexual services from prostitutes.

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In Philadelphia in 2006, according to the suit, Sébastien Izambard flew into a rage at a restaurant. Back at the hotel, he allegedly “dragged Renée across the hotel room floor by her arms and clothing, swearing, yelling, pulling and pushing before tearing her clothes off. Renée quickly fled the hotel, with no money, with just a T-shirt and track pants in a foreign country.”

The suit alleges the tenor was a sex addict and even joined a sexual addiction group. The singer, the suit alleges, operated total control over Renée Izambard’s life, often calling more than 20 times a day if she did not answer her phone immediately.

In September 2017, during his Las Vegas tour, the suit says, the tenor “requested and began pressuring Renée to have a breast enlargement” and reintroduced his demands to have sex with prostitutes and for a male prostitute to have sex with Renée while he watched.

The suit alleges he exercised “a textbook example of coercive control,” denying “Renée her independence, financially and otherwise.”

The family moved to Malibu in March 2014. According to the suit, the singer told Renée Izambard that she was mentally ill and pressured her to make pornography, among other demands.

On Nov. 1, 2018, Renée Izambard separated from Sébastien Izambard while he was away on tour. Eight days later, she and her children evacuated their $13-million Malibu home because of the Woolsey fire. The wildfire destroyed all the structures on the property and all their personal belongings. She has already sued Sébastien Izambard and the insurance company after the fire left her and her children living in a mobile home.


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