DURHAM, N.C. — Keith King says no amount of money could make up for his busted marriage. Nonetheless, a North Carolina judge has ordered his wife’s lover to pay him $8.8 million.
The decision revolves around an obscure law on the books in six states called “alienation of affection,” reports WSOC. In this case, the 48-year-old King claims he was in a happy marriage with 33-year-old Danielle, whom he wed in 2010, until she began an affair with a man she met on a business trip, reports WRAL and Inside Edition.
“I’ve compared it to like a nuclear bomb going on around my surroundings,” says King, who first got wind of the affair thanks to phone records.
That led to a confrontation between King and Francisco Huizar that was recorded, followed by King learning that he could actually sue his romantic rival over all this.
“My marriage was murdered,” says King. Last week, a Durham County judge agreed, ordering Huizar to pay $2.2 million in compensatory damages and $6.6 million in punitive damages.
The result is unusual, with most of the 200 alienation of affection claims filed in North Carolina each year settled out of court. But this was “a very classic case that just happened to have all of the factors,” King’s attorney tells WRAL.
Still, some argue there should be no alienation of affection law at all as it’s based on the outdated view that a married woman is her husband’s property.
It’s “archaic … and should be stricken,” says Huizar’s lawyer, who claims King was controlling of his unhappy wife. “Verdicts like these … remove personal responsibility for a person’s own marriage.” Huizar plans to appeal.
(A controversial entertainer is familiar with this kind of mess.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: He Slept With Man’s Wife, Now Owes Him $9M