Don Cornelius, producer and creator of Soul Train, passed away on Wednesday after a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Cornelius, a legend in the music industry, was 75-years-old.
After the dust settled from news of the tragic suicide, attention turned to his ex-wife, Viktoria Chapman Cornelius, with whom he had a troubled and turbulent relationship. After domestic violence issues and restraining orders, the two finally severed ties in 2010 after their divorce was legally granted.
In a freak foreshadowing during divorce proceedings in 2009 Don Cornelius said, I am 72-years-old. I have significant health issues. I want to finalize this divorce before I die. He wanted the rocky relationship to be behind him.
However, with Don's passing, Viktoria is set to inherit $300,000 in benefits from two life insurance policies he had purchased, according to TMZ.
Under California law, if a policyholder commits suicide within two years of the policy being issued, the company can refuse to pay out. However, since Cornelius had the policies for more than two years, the money will be paid.
Who is Viktoria Chapman Cornelius?
Viktoria Chapman Cornelius has had quite a colorful past. Viktoria is an ex-Russian model. At one time she held the title of Miss Ukraine.
However, her past was a bit speckled. According to GlobalGrind, a pop culture news Web site owned by Russell Simmons, Viktoria Chapman Cornelius was a one-time actress who starred in two soft-core skin-a-thon flicks: 'Club Vampire' and 'Women of the Night.' The Web site features a NSFW still-shot photo of Viktoria in one of the aforementioned films.
Not much else is known about Viktoria, who is set to be $300,000 richer. She had been photographed with Don out at celebrity events, such as in 2008 at a tribute honoring Motown founder Berry Gordy in Beverly Hills.
Viktoria and Don's Rocky Marriage
Viktoria married Don in 2001. She was his second wife. Don had two sons with first wife, Dolores. He and Viktoria had no children together.
After six years, Viktoria filed for divorce in 2007. She had filed two restraining orders against her husband, reported The Daily Mail.
In 2008, Cornelius was arrested at his Mulholland Drive home on suspicion of domestic violence. According to the police report, she pepper sprayed him multiple times.
In November 2008, he appeared in court, charged with spousal abuse. He pleaded not guilty before later pleading no contest the next year. He was placed on a 36-month probation. He was also ordered to complete a 52-week domestic battery violence treatment, 300 hours of community service and stay 100 yards away from where the attack took place. This three-year probation period had just recently ended.
The couple became legally divorced in 2009. During final divorce proceedings that year, Don Cornelius had voiced the emotional toll the relationship had taken on his life as well as his declining health.
He told an L.A. judge he was suffering from significant health issues and wanted to finalize this divorce before I die, according to TMZ. Sources told TMZ that he had suffered a stroke in recent years and had brain surgery.