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The Custody Battle That Could Change California Law; Interview with Jason Patric; John Travolta's Still Got the Moves

Aired July 29, 2013 - 08:30   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. It is Monday, July 29th. I'm Chris Cuomo.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. We're joined by news anchor Michaela Pereira. Coming up in this half hour, actor Jason Patric notoriously press-shy but he's here and he'll be joining us today, live. He's in a bitter custody fight for his 3- year-old son. This case could rewrite California law. We're going to tell you all about it.

CUOMO: And question: is John Travolta trying to channel the Hoff? It's JB, John Berman's award of the day, and it may just leave you scratching your head. A lot of news to tell you about today, though, so let's get over to Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: You can't drop that and make me do this.

CUOMO: I tried to soften it.

PEREIRA: Here we go. Five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

At number one, battening down the hatches in Hawaii. Tropical Storm Flossie taking aim at the islands. Forecasters say it could dump as much as a foot of rain in some areas.

Mid-ast peace talks begin tonight in Washington, marking the first time in nearly three years that direct negotiations between top Israeli and Palestinian officials are taking place.

The driver of that deadly train derailment in Spain has now been charged with 79 counts of negligent homicide. The victims will be memorialized tonight at a cathedral not far from where they died.

At number four, the nation's oldest group of African-American judges and lawyers holding a press conference today with Trayvon Martin's parents addressing what they call inequalities in the judicial system.

And at number five, a busy day for the president. He'll have lunch, a private lunch, indeed, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Then he'll meet last year's World Series champions, the San Francisco Giants. You know, we're always updating the five things you need to know. Be sure to go to for the very latest.

CUOMO: All right, we've had a tough day. We have had crashes, we have bad politicians, we have bad weather. So you know what we need, right? "The Good Stuff". In today's edition, Laloni Alexander and her lost wedding ring. While taking this picture in Michigan's icy (INAUDIBLE) Falls, the rushing water took her ring right off.

Poor Laloni. Heartbroken, of course. Filed a police report. Also took to social media to get the word out. But come on, all that water and that little ring gone and falls? It's gone forever, right? Wrong. Enter 12-year-old Caden Gersky. Caden, vacationing with his family nearby, saw the social media update. What does he do? He grabs his snorkel, goes for a swim. Take a look and a listen.


JOHN GERSKY, SON FOUND WEDDING RING IN FALLS: My son likes to use his goggles and his snorkel and look for things in the water. He came running out of the falls saying, "I got it, I got it." And he showed it to me and I couldn't believe it.


CUOMO: What are the chances? That's what makes it "the good stuff". Caden's dad returned the ring to a grateful Laloni. For his efforts, Caden gets a $200 reward but, much more so, he gets the satisfaction of doing the good thing for somebody and making a difference in their lives.

BOLDUAN: Needle in a hay stack. I mean, that's amazing.

PEREIRA: It's going to be hard for his dad to keep him out of the water now. What else can we find down there?

BOLDUAN: He's scrolling social media. "What else can we find?"

CUOMO: He went in for the right reasons. Please, tell us the story about what's going on good in your world and your community. You can go to our Web site and you can tweet us or go to Facebook, use the #newday. Let us tell the good news.

BOLDUAN: All right, coming up next on NEW DAY, actor Jason Patric is involved in what really is a real-life drama. He's fighting for custody of his son, but his ex says that's not so. We'll talk to him live, coming up next.

CUOMO: And speaking of actors, John Travolta, he's got dance fever again. He gets his groove on in a new rum commercial. That's true. There he is. Does he got the moves? Of course he does.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. As we've been saying, actor Jason Patric is notoriously press shy, but he's here with us today to talk about an important issue. The 47-year-old star is in a difficult custody battle with a former girlfriend. He wants to help raise the child he fathered by in vitro fertilization, but the baby's mother wants him out of the picture.

We're going to be joined live by Jason in just a moment. But first a look at the high-profile case that could change the face of parental rights.


CUOMO (voice-over): Calling a father just a sperm donor is an insult, but it may also be the legal fate of certain unmarried dads. Actor Jason Patric says he's one of them.

Patric, known for roles in "The Lost Boys" and "Speed 2" is now in a heated dispute with his ex-girlfriend, Danielle Schreiber, over their 3-year-old son, Gus. He says they tried for years to have a child and Gus was eventually born through in vitro fertilization using Patric's sperm. Despite scores of photos and home videos showing them a happy family, Schreiber now says she never intend Patric to be more than a sperm donor.

DANIELLE SCHREIBER, PATRIC'S EX-GIRLFRIEND: Jason never did anything to raise Gus. He never changed a single diaper.

CUOMO: As proof, Schreiber points to this letter Patric wrote saying he wasn't ready to be a father and she says he asked to be left off the birth certificate.

For his part, Patric points to a stack of documents listing him as father and showing financial support -- and those photos, all of which, he says, show the obvious. He is Gus' dad.

But here's the catch. Under current California state law, a man whose sperm is used by a fertility clinic must have a signed agreement stating plans to co-parent; otherwise, he does not have parental rights.

LYNN SOODIK, FAMILY LAW EXPERT: The men who are currently at risk are men who donate their sperm and it's some time after the conception, that man and the mother agree that they're going to hold him out to be the father.

CUOMO: California State Senator Jerry Hill, who wrote the original law, is now leading the charge to amend it, to allow for a donor who says he intended to be a father but had no signed agreement. The opportunity to gain parental rights.

Patric says there will be others like him, but his immediate concern right is for little Gus who he says needs his father.


CUOMO (on camera): So, basically, you're unmarried, you decide to have a kid. It doesn't go the right way early on. You use fertility. If you don't have an agreement, in California and other states, the father could be cut out. Simple as that.

JASON PATRIC, ACTOR FIGHTING FOR CUSTODY OF SON: Yes, that's what happens. I mean, and that's what happened to me. I certainly didn't know at the time, but when we split, that's what happened.

CUOMO: You wanted us to blur Gus' face. You're still protective of him. When was the last time you saw him?

PATRIC: Twenty-three weeks today.

CUOMO: Twenty-three weeks. Why, even though there's this fight about your role, why is your understanding of why the mother won't let you see your boy?

PATRIC: I have absolutely no idea. I mean, she was on television, on the "Today" show a couple weeks ago saying that she has no problem with me having a relationship. I actually addressed the camera and said, "Call me, Danielle, be anywhere in the world." Not a word. My lawyer wrote a letter. She's been ignoring me now for 23 weeks.

CUOMO: Did Danielle ever tell you, "Listen, we both know this relationship between us is not what it needs to be. I'm the sole parent?"

PATRIC: No, never.

CUOMO: Did she ever say, "Look, there's this law. Under the law here, I've already protected myself?"

PATRIC: This law is something that her lawyers found, this statute, two months into our separation and just perverted it and slipped me into it. I was as shocked as can be when they hit me with those papers.

CUOMO: So you were already in court kind of having the typical battle -- how much money you were going to give, how much time you get with the kid.

PATRIC: Absolutely. Asking for my financials. We spent seven hours with a mediator, both sides, and in that seven hours' time, which is a long time, the word donor was never raised at all. They had not located this statute yet until they slapped me into it.

CUOMO: Now, the relationship was not what it needed to be, right? I mean, the idea of you guys had the perfect relationship, you don't know where this is coming from, that's not your case. That's not what you are saying. You guys had your problems. The letter she points to, that you're not on the birth certificate, those are bad facts. How do you explain them?

PATRIC: I think they're facts. I don't know if they're bad facts. I mean, the letter, which they just show excerpts of, is really a break- up letter, a love letter of frustration. I mean, we tried to have kids for years. She had a bad miscarriage. And you do all those things and you watch how the nature of the relationship changes with that pressure and you doubt everything. You doubt yourself. I mean, I talk about my life, my career, everything in that letter, and can one be a father? But, certainly, I wanted to. And months later when we went in, you know, I signed these papers, which I thought were protecting me.

CUOMO: The birth certificate. You're known as a private guy. That's your reason for why you're not on the birth certificate. She said, "No, he was keeping this kid a secret. He didn't tell his own family. People didn't know that he was the father." What do you say?

PATRIC: None of that's true. I never had a child before. It's a first child, and I think anyone who's had a first child, you get very overprotective I think with the first child. And in my way, because I grew up certainly with a little bit of -- my father had some fame and I had bad memories of a lot of that. And I had bad situations with the press. So if I could give Gus two years of anonymity and protect him, and since I wasn't in a conventional relationship with Danielle, when I was away, make sure people weren't there, I'd do it. And did it. And I think I have every right to do that.

CUOMO: I have different documents from the lawyers in the case. The school forms. You're all over the school forms as the parent.


CUOMO: You know that. You were part of this process, you were put in as the dad. Was it just to help him get into school or is this just a statement of what it was?

PATRIC: Well, when I'm sitting there with Danielle Scheiber and with the school director, and we're talking how much we'd like our child to come, and her handwriting is writing my name down as father, and I'm paying for the school. It was only when this went down, seven months later, did I find out she said she put me down purely as an actor to try to get her son into a school.

CUOMO: There is a note on the form here where it says there is only one legal guardian at present. Jason is establishing his right, it's dated 6/30/12. You say that was after the fact.

PATRIC: That's our initial interview process was in February 2012. When we split up she went back and she changed documents. She actually took me off the emergency list and put a nanny in place. She took his father off the list and put a nanny there.

CUOMO: All right and then it comes down to this. There is this law that says you need to have an agreement? Why, we want to protect women from people who are just sperm donors that they don't come back and try to get involved in a life that they have waived their rights to, to protect women and their families. This law you're saying can catch up unmarried man who don't have a contract for being parents. You go to the clinic there are two different forms you can sign.

PATRIC: Right.

CUOMO: One is signed by the mom that says I'm just using a donor here and that's what this situation is. That person will have no more rights.

PATRIC: That's right.

CUOMO: Do you know if this form was ever signed by Danielle?

PATRIC: Definitely not.

CUOMO: It was never used?

PATRIC: No. That's a known donors sperm form which means you waive all your rights, if you have a known donor.

CUOMO: Right but what was signed by you and Danielle is an intended parent sorry -- parent form --

PATRIC: Right.

CUOMO: -- that's like 20-plus pages.

PATRIC: That's right.

CUOMO: -- of your signatures. It says in here that, obviously, you're intended parents, that you have to notify the state, if you change your partnership.

PATRIC: That's right.

CUOMO: And if the -- God forbid something happens to the mother, the embryos would go to you.

PATRIC: That's right.

CUOMO: And all this was signed by you and Danielle?

PATRIC: And a witness at the fertility firm, yes.

CUOMO: And to you what does that mean?

PATRIC: That I intend to parent this child, the word "parent" means to beget birth, nourish or raise a child. So if I'm signing Jason Patric intends to parent and Danielle Schreiber signing intended parent next to me, not only are we the parents but she's in effect confirming that she wants to raise this child with me.

CUOMO: But the judge like kicked you right out of court. He didn't -- he didn't -- why didn't he judge regard this as the contract for parenting?

PATRIC: Because he misinterpreted this and that's the whole point of this bill that Senator Hill is putting out. It's not really a new law it's a clarification of the law's original intent. It was never meant to stop someone who just wasn't married and have to use IVF from proving he's a father in another way.

CUOMO: It was drafted before, these unconventional relationships as we call them today. PATRIC: Absolutely.

CUOMO: And that's your concern going forward. But you know we see these pictures and we see these videos. You showed me other ones of you teaching him to how to sing songs and stuff like that, it does seem that you have a real connection with this kid and now he's not in your life at present. What is that like?

PATRIC: He's my son. And I'm his father and always have been. And it's beyond devastating. It's beyond devastating. I want to make sure this never happens to anybody else. Will it help me? The law going through to get Gus? God I hope so. But if anything, when I can't have him and I think this idea that if I can stop any other man or any other child to go through this, it's important because it's really about him. It's about Gus. It's about his rights and he can't speak and his father is gone now and he has absolutely no idea what happened. You cannot do that to a child.

Look people break up, they break up bad. I wasn't a perfect boyfriend but I was a good committed father all the time, you cannot use a child as a pawn. And we have laws for married people that prevent that. But unmarried people in this situation I fell into a quirk where someone look relationships end bad and so someone is now using a situation to hurt me, but it hurts the child and that's -- I just want Gus to have the most love he can have in his life, period. That's what every child deserves.

CUOMO: What is it like not having him in your life?

PATRIC: It's unthinkable. I mean, it's unthinkable, I mean how -- how do you sleep? What's he doing right now? When Sandy Hook happened, you just break down. You want to go hug your child and you can't find your child. You want to do everything that you did.

And the hardest thing is staying present. Because I've got stay present I have to do things like this, I have to make people aware of this. But being present also puts you in the pain of what it's like not to have him with you and -- and just, the bewilderment of how someone you were with for all these years can do this to you and can do this to the child.

CUOMO: And the truth is, no matter how good a father, how real a father you were, it doesn't matter under this law.

PATRIC: Under this law if you interpret it like this judge did, I could have been with Danielle Schreiber for 16 years and she could have met someone tomorrow and taken my child away and I would have no recourse whatsoever.

CUOMO: And it's not just California?

PATRIC: No, it's other places. And that's why it's important to go through. You know it really is. And as I said, it's a -- it's a clarification of something that was always meant to be. But this is a new -- this is a new age of different relationships. People have children later and so many people are availing themselves of this reproductive technology that this has far-reaching implications way beyond me.

CUOMO: Politics are ugly and we know that the same lawmaker as we said who proposed the original law wants the amendment. We're going to follow the story and we're going to see what happens with the law because there a lot of other fathers who can be involved in this. I know it's not easy for you to talk about this. I know it's painful, but thank you for bringing up the issue. Thank you for joining us.

PATRIC: Thank you, Chris. I appreciate it too.

CUOMO: Jason Patric.

Kate -- over to you.

BOLDUAN: All right, Chris, thank you.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, John Travolta, strutting his stuff in a new rum commercial. Why, oh, why? John Berman is here to explain.


CUOMO: And now the music is back. JB is back. It's that time of the morning the NEW DAY award of the day award. Look at you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's great to be here guys. Thanks so much for having me I really appreciate it.

PEREIRA: We missed you.

BERMAN: I have something a little --

BOLDUAN: You can go now.

BERMAN: -- I have something a little alarming for you this morning. You know how big American celebrities go overseas and star in ads for big money. See if you can guess who this big-time actor is in a Brazilian rum commercial.


JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR: No don't you touch this video. Don't you skip this video.


BERMAN: Wow I had no idea he spoke English there. before that it was apparently Portuguese for look who's talking. It's unclear what happened there. You guys ok after seeing that?


BERMAN: That was John Travolta. And you know what that ad did for me?

PEREIRA: What? BERMAN: It made me appreciate talent, it made me appreciate integrity and it made me appreciate David Hasselhoff. Remember David Hasselhoff in this ad for iced coffee. This -- this John Travolta, is how you do it. Look at this.

BOLDUAN: I mean that's talent.

BERMAN: All right so today's award of the day award is the "I'm David Hasselhoff and John Travolta is not award." This is history by the way because David Hasselhoff is our first two-time winner of the award of the day award. He's like the Daniel Day Lewis of NEW DAY.

BOLDUAN: Oh, we have David Beckham.

BERMAN: Yes, imagine that.

PEREIRA: It did make me want to have --

BERMAN: Is that what he said?

BOLDUAN: It takes much less than John Travolta.

BERMAN: It's morning. I want to have a drink, yes.

CUOMO: I just like to watch him dance though.

BERMAN: He's very talented. He's very talented just like you, Chris Cuomo.

CUOMO: Oh, go on. My mom tells me I look like John Travolta.

BERMAN: Really?

CUOMO: Yes that's right. Is my mom wrong?

BERMAN: Never -- never wrong.

CUOMO: Better watch it.

PEREIRA: You do not say that. On that note, we'll be right back after this. Welcome back, J.B.


BOLDUAN: Perfect way to end the show.

PEREIRA: Mama Cuomo was right.

CUOMO: "I spent a lot of time on my hair and then you hit it." That's from "Saturday Night Fever".

PEREIRA: You decide -- that's Cuomo.

CUOMO: All right. That's it for NEW DAY, Michaela, Kate -- Kate, Michaela -- I was confused by the camera.

Carol Costello, time for you to begin your show. Good morning, my friend.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I don't know what that was.

BOLDUAN: Every day we try to stump you, that's it.

CUOMO: you have to watch the show, Carol, otherwise you'll be confused.

COSTELLO: I'm a little busy five minutes before your show. Ok. Well, have a great day. You always make me laugh, though, I like that.

"NEWSROOM" starts now.