Gary Coleman and Shannon Price were allegedly divorced at the time of the star’s death on Friday, according to Randy Kester, Coleman’s former lawyer.
The two divorced on August 12, 2008, Kester told Access Hollywood on Wednesday, stating that he handled the divorce. However, on Thursday, Access learned that Price was legally allowed to make decisions regarding his medical condition.
“They were, I’ve known all along,” Kester told Access.
He added that he was coming forward to confirm the split because the news had been made public. With this development, the status of Coleman’s estate is complicated – Kester was unsure if the star had a will, and said he didn’t compose one while working with the actor.
“I tried to make appointments for him to come in and sit down to discuss it, as recently as a few weeks ago, but it never happened,” Kester added. “I think Gary wasn’t always very trusting of the legal system.”
According to Kester, the star’s parents — with whom Coleman had a bitter legal battle in 1989 over his multi-million dollar childhood trust — will file an action for a probate hearing within the next 48 hours to determine what their son left behind and who will execute the estate, themselves or Price.
Coleman died on Friday at age 42, after being brought to the hospital days earlier for an intracranial hemorrhage. His marital status matters due to the circumstances of his death – he was taken off life support reportedly upon Price’s permission, which, if they were, in fact, divorced, she may not have been legally been qualified to give.
“We can’t comment on specific details in Mr. Coleman’s case, but in general, any patient on life support is thoroughly evaluated medically before life support is ended,” a spokeswoman for Utah Valley Regional Medical Center told People. Similarly, the hospital did not share details with Access of how Coleman was taken off life support in its previous announcement of his death.
However, on Thursday, the hospital issued a clarification to Access stating that Price did indeed have the appropriate legal rights.
“Mr. Coleman had completed an Advanced Health Care Directive that granted Shannon Price permission to make medical decisions on his behalf if he was unable to do so,” the medical center said in a statement to Access.
“An Advanced Health Care Directive remains in effect regardless of a patient’s marital status, unless modified by the patient. It is a private medical document which the hospital does not have permission to release. However, we received permission to confirm that the document was in effect at the time of Mr. Coleman’s death.”
Coleman and Price were living together in Santaquin, Utah, and it was Price who made the 911 call that brought Coleman to the hospital on May 26.
“He just got home, I heard this big bang, I went downstairs. Blood everywhere,” she said in the call. “There’s blood all over the floor.”
In the call, she identified Coleman as “my husband.”
Price continued, telling the operator she was “going to faint” if she went to him, though she could later be heard saying, “Gary, are you OK?” and asking him to put pressure on his wound.
“I just don’t want him to die – I’m freaking out, like, really bad,” she said toward the end of the call.
Coleman married Price in 2007 after the two met in 2006 on the set of the film “Church Ball.” They revealed their marriage in February 2008.
Coleman referred to Price as his wife in an interview with The Huffington Post upon the 2009 release of his film “Midgets Vs. Mascots.”
CLICK HERE to hear the 911 call.