Billie Jean King's former lover, Marilyn Barnett, lost a...

By JAMES DOYLE  |  July 8, 1981
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LOS ANGELES -- Billie Jean King's former lover, Marilyn Barnett, lost a bid Wednesday to remain in a Malibu beach house she says the tennis star promised her during their love affair -- but another hearing is needed before she can be evicted.

Superior Court Judge Leon Savitch denied Miss Barnett's request for an injunction that would have kept Mrs. King and her husband, sports promoter Larry King, from evicting the tennis star's former lover from the house.

Judge Savitch, in a long, argumentative hearing with attorneys representing the two sides, referred to the now famous Marvin versus Marvin case, based on a landmark California Supreme Court decision permitting actor Lee Marvin's live-in companion, Michelle Triola Marvin, to sue him for support.

Dennis Wasser, attorney for Mrs. King, contended the Marvin case was being considered by a federal appeals court and Judge Savitch should not make a decision based on that case until the Marvin appeal decision is in.

Attorneys for the Kings did win the right to proceed with their attempt to evict Miss Barnett from the Malibu beach house where she has lived for seven years and said a hearing would be scheduled on their eviction attempt.

Mrs. King at first denied and then admitted her lesbian relationship with her former secretary. Miss Barnett filed suit in April alleging Mrs. King had promised to support her for the rest of her life. The suit asked for lifetime support for Miss Barnett and title to the beachfront home, both of which Miss Barnett claims Mrs. King promised her.

Mrs. King admitted the romantic relationship, calling it 'a mistake,' in an emotional news conference after the suit was filed. She denied ever promising Miss Barnett financial support or a home.

Miss Barnett, 33, is a paraplegic from a fall she took from a deck at the beachfront house. She and Mrs. King had a brief affair in the early 1970s, Miss Barnett giving up her job as a hairdresser to become secretary, confidante and companion to the tennis champion. She claims she is entitled to property rights under the Marvin decision.

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