Court Cases & Orders Property Division, Sharing & The Matrimonial Home

Husband Gets to Keep Wife’s Nude “Boudoir” Book Post-Divorce – For the “Memories”

boudoir nude
Written by Russell Alexander / (905) 655-6335

Husband Gets to Keep Wife’s Nude “Boudoir” Book Post-Divorce – For the “Memories”

Everyone knows that a divorce requires former spouses to split up their matrimonial assets.  And this sometimes devolves into a battle, especially when it’s the possession of certain sentimental items that is at stake.  

But in one recent U.S. divorce case, the wife was ordered to hand over nude photos of herself, so that her now ex-husband could keep them for “memory’s sake”.  It was apparently the only item he fought for, as part of their divorce proceedings. 

The former couple had been married for 25 years when they applied for a divorce in 2021. As part of that process, the husband provided the court with a list of those items that he wanted to keep.   The wife was shocked to learn that his list included an album of nude “boudoir”-type photos of her, that were taken early in their marriage.  They had been commissioned from a photographer who was also a close friend.  

Those pictures had captions that were described as “loving,” and included intimate messages that the wife had written to the husband at the time. In defending this request, the husband described the books as being “not inappropriate”, but rather full of memories, photos and inscriptions.

I cherish the loving memories we had for all those years as part of normal and appropriate exchanges between a husband and wife, and sought to preserve that in having the inscriptions.

From the wife’s standpoint, the problem was that those inscriptions also included nude images of her.   She suggested a compromise:   They could be taken back to the initial photographer to have the book copied, but with the images of her body edited out.  But this suggestion was rejected, on the basis that the images were “art” that should not be altered.

The court was asked to make ruling.  Over the wife’s vigorous objections, she was ordered to hand the book over to the husband – but only after a significant adjustment had been made:  It would be sent to a third-party photographer who would edit out the images of the wife. The judge wrote:

That person is to do whatever it takes to modify the pages of the pictures so that any photographs of [the wife] in lingerie or that sort of thing or even without clothing are obscured and taken out … But the words are maintained for memory’s sake.

By the wife’s later account to media sources, this court ruling was even more traumatizing for her, since it meant her intimate photos were being handed to a third party, that she did not know, and without her consent.  She said the order and the entire scenario was “violating and it’s incredibly embarrassing and humiliating”.

On the upside, with the court order in place the original photographer/friend agreed to be the one to alter the photos, putting large black boxes over any part of the wife’s body.  The messages would remain untouched.  

The wife was also ordered to keep the originals for 90 days, in case her ex-husband objected to any of the edits. Once that deadline has expired, she said she planned to hold a burning party, and throw the books and photos into a fire.

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.