Judge slaps Jack White with restraining order, bars contact with estranged wife

Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 5:55pm
By Bobby Allyn, special to The City Paper

Two years after Nashville’s Jack White and Karen Elson threw a party to celebrate the pair’s ostensibly friendly break up, Elson has sought and received a restraining order against rock star White after a flurry of harassment allegations.

“Wife fears for her and the children’s safety as a result of this harassment,” the order read, describing how White contacted his ex-wife’s paralegal “in an inappropriate and aggressive manner.”

Elson, who cares for the pair’s two children, has been tussling for months with White over parenting rights. White wants to help raise the children, although Elson maintains that White is not fit to be a parent.

White, according to the restraining order affidavit, has a violent temper and a tendency of sending harassing emails and text messages.

Elson has contacted White’s attorney about the number of phone calls and emails he was allegedly sending “pressuring her about the settlement terms for divorce.”

In one email, White wrote: “I’m not extending this anymore,” referring to a settlement. “And we’re not getting lawyers involved to rip me off.”

Recently, according to the filing, White wanted Elson to contact their kids’ private school in an effort to get their kids out of a class in which another entertainer’s child was present. White said that he feels that entertainer “ripped off” his music, the order said.

In another incident, White berated Elson when she attended the wedding of a rival musician. Again, he was upset because this entertainer also “ripped off” his music, according to the order. The musician was unnamed in the court filing.

Elson has on multiple occasions asked White to attend family counseling, but Elson says White has refused.

Elson’s attorney Rose Palermo said both sides have been working to settle the dispute privately. She had no further comment.

Cathy Speers Johnson, attorney for White, could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

White, the order said, contacted the duo’s business manager and made derogatory comments about Elson. “This was done to harass and embarrass wife.”

“This pattern of husband’s bullying wife into submission was a contributing factor in the demise of their marriage."

Palermo has filed a motion for a custodial psychological evaluation, which is still pending results.

White was served the restraining order on July 22. It was signed by Circuit Court Judge Philip Robinson. White is barred from having “any contact with wife whatsoever except as it relates to parenting time with the parties’ minor children.”

Furthermore, White is only allowed to communicate with Elson over email.

The two have a hearing Aug. 29 over a dispute over their two children.

21 Comments on this post:

By: bobabrett on 8/1/13 at 7:42


By: bebop210 on 8/2/13 at 12:20

doushebag.. this says he laid into her for being friendly with musicians who "ripped off his music"... Does that mean Neil Michael Hagerty and Jon Spencer can whip his sorry no talent ass? I always knew he was a scumbag and I think the nation owes the Von Bondies an apology... oh by the way I hear one of the musicians involved, well his band's name starts with "black" and ends with "keys"... sounds like "back bees".. shhhh....

By: courier37027 on 8/2/13 at 6:40

Bishop Choby, this is one of your flock. Will you offer guidance or let this pass? I am guessing a pass since there is zero political clout in this matter.

By: Bayard on 8/2/13 at 8:18

Commenters who live in glass houses... And why is this "news?" In the future, I hope both Mr. Allyn and Southcomm will return to more journalism and less TMZ-ism, bless your hearts.

By: Libertine on 8/2/13 at 8:36

Looks like Icky got Thumped.

By: girliegirl on 8/2/13 at 9:37

John Anthony Gillis, Jack White's real name, is a sad character.

By: courier37027 on 8/2/13 at 10:12

It appears twice Karen Elson's biological clock was louder than common sense voice.

By: Jughead on 8/2/13 at 10:30

Restraining orders are issued based on one side of the story. Dude will have his day in court soon, and it may be dissolved.

By: bebop210 on 8/2/13 at 10:46

Glass House? I've never domestically abused anyone in MY LIFE! Go listen to some RTX as penance for your lies!

By: pswindle on 8/2/13 at 11:31

How will Music City take this guy? He sounds finished to me.

By: Jughead on 8/2/13 at 11:44

Jack White rocks. Divorces are ugly, and we do not know the truth.

You idiots who want to crucify him now a dirtbags.

By: Jughead on 8/2/13 at 11:44

are, that is....

By: bebop210 on 8/2/13 at 11:49

Dirtbag? The emails are on TMZ now.. you judge but for jack white to hate on the black keys as much as he does is a joke joke joke...

By: Jughead on 8/2/13 at 1:51

Black Keys are posers. They are not worth to drink Jack White's urine.

By: Jughead on 8/2/13 at 1:52


By: govskeptic on 8/2/13 at 2:19

Palermo's client's often get restraining orders. Maybe that helps push the
settlement in favor of that particular client. That hasn't worked as well with the
retirement of our former high octane long serving Divorce Judge.

By: bebop210 on 8/2/13 at 2:28

govskeptic: Now that's the scoop I need...
and yeah jughead: BLack Key's and White Stripes et al are both poseurs next to Royal Trux and Boss Hog and Jon Spencer.. but at least the Keys are nice guys... and they actually studied blue down in the Mississippi delta, where as jack just loves his vinyl and apparently ONLY his vinyl

By: mistyroe on 8/2/13 at 7:50

Please keep in mind that this is only HER side. Anybody can go and file a restraining order with merit-or not. Many people employ this strategy during divorce simply to assist with custody disputes, etc. This type of allegation is harmful and damaging to a person's reputation. Her complaint laughs in the face of legit abused women.

By: abcdefghi on 8/2/13 at 9:36

Jack White stole Billy Childish's act. End of story.

By: compo1980 on 8/5/13 at 1:44

Some of the comments are completely irrelevant to the article. Fact: The truth lies with the couple divorcing. It is common knowlege that it is tough to go through a divorce as it is but to go through a divorce In the spot light is even harder. This complaint is truly a slap in the face for those who file for legitmate reasons. We can all make assumptions but bottom line the marriage is over and for many reasons I am sure. Regardless, it is tough for all of them and they will eventually come to an agreement once they realize it is unhealthy for everyone especially the children.

Thanksgiving Day Parade

By: localboy on 8/6/13 at 8:04

And this is considered an appropriate story for some of the City Paper's final hours...ah, legacy...