Sofia Vergara’s former fiance Nick Loeb has accused The Modern Family star of violating his First Amendment rights by trying to stop him from bringing the frozen embryos they made together to life.
Loeb’s latest move is the most recent development in the long-winded legal saga over the two fertilized eggs which the pair created together while they were engaged in 2013.
The pair broke up in May 2014.
Loeb, 41, wants to see the frozen embryos, which he has named Emma and Isabella, grow to term and become his daughters whereas 44-year-old Vergara, who is now married to Joe Manganiello, wants to see them remain frozen.
The estranged pair have been locked in a legal battle over the issue since 2014 when Loeb filed a lawsuit trying to establish his rights as a parent to the embryos.
On May 11, Loeb will attend court in LA to accuse Vergara of trying to ‘chill’ and ‘punish’ his unrelenting attempts to become a father.
Vergara fought the original 2014 lawsuit, pointing to a fertility clinic agreement the pair signed which said neither one of them could claim them without the other’s consent.
He claims it’s not valid for anything beyond medical procedure and should not be considered a contract.
Loeb dropped the original lawsuit last year after being told he would have to reveal the identities of two former girlfriends who’d had abortions while with him 20 years ago.
In December, Loeb launched his second legal attempt to see the embryos brought to term – a lawsuit filed in Louisiana by a pro-life group on behalf of the frozen eggs, claiming they had a right to life.
Vergara batted that motion away in Californian court with her own counter-suit.
The most recent development is a motion filed by Loeb’s lawyers in Los Angeles to have that counter-suit dismissed on the grounds Vergara is restricting his right to free speech by filing it in the first place.
He said she is trying to ‘chill’ his rights and is ‘punishing’ him by trying to moot his claims to the embryos.
‘The sole purpose of Plaintiff’s Complaint is to punish Loeb for, and prevent him from engaging in, protected speech by initiating legal proceedings to establish and exercise his legal rights to Female Embryos,’ the lawsuit states.
Vergara’s lawyers are yet to respond to his most recent accusation.
The pair’s very public spat has drawn attention to the issue of reproductive law.
The embryos the pair made are technically ‘pre-embryos’ meaning the eggs have been fertilized and frozen but have not begun to develop.
Vergara, who has said in the past that she wished the issue could have remained private, believes they should not be brought to life under such hostile relations between the two people who created them.
She believes Loeb, a wealthy business scion and part-time actor, is trying to use their spat to keep his public profile alive.
‘This latest maneuver is nothing more than another attempt on the part of Loeb to keep himself in the public eye by keeping himself linked to Ms. Vergara,’ Fred Silberberg, her lawyer, said of the Louisiana lawsuit in Dec.
The Modern Family actress has also spoken on the issue, sharing her anger that it ever became public.
‘I don’t think it’s fair. I’ve been working very hard for 20 years to get to this point where I am. I promote my movies, I promote all my work but I don’t like promoting my private life and I don’t want to allow this person to take more advantage of my career and try to promote himself, to get press.
‘This shouldn’t be out there for people to give their opinion. There’s nothing to talk about, there’s papers signed,’ she told Good Morning America.
Loeb claimed to have wanted to keep the issue private in a NYTimes op-ed.
‘I wanted to keep this private, but recently the story broke to the world.
‘When we create embryos for the purpose of life, should we not define them as life, rather than as property?’ he wrote in the April 2015 piece.
‘I asked her to let me have the embryos, offering to pay for all expenses to carry our girls to term and raise them.
‘If she did not wish to share custody, I would take on full parenting responsibilities and agree to have her declared an egg donor. She has refused,’ he continued.
Vergara married Magic Mike actor Joe Manganiello in a lavish Palm Beach ceremony in November 2015.
She and Loeb were dating for four years before they broke up in May 2014. She and Manganiello became engaged that December.
She has an adult son, Manolo, from a previous relationship.