Lita Ford says that she was recently able to see her sons for the first time in nearly 10 years.
Ford hadn't been in touch with her kids since shortly after her divorce in 2011, when she was allegedly denied contact with both of her sons. Her husband of 17 years, NITRO singer Jim Gillette, retained custody of James, who is now 21, and Rocco, who is 17. She has alleged that he had brainwashed them against her.
Ford and Gillette lived for a decade on the remote British island territory Turks and Caicos, about 600 miles southeast of Miami, with little connection to the outside world. She explained that it was when they moved back to Florida full-time in 2007 that Gillette began exerting a lot of control over her, practically smothering her while they made her 2009 album, "Wicked Wonderland", her first release of new material in 14 years.
Earlier this month, Lita made an appearance on the "Veterans In Politics" TV show on WWDBTV.com to discuss her work as an activist for parental alienation and her efforts to get through to her own children.
Speaking about her custody arrangement with her ex-husband, Lita said (hear audio below): "By the time our divorce was final and everything was said and done, it was such a joke that it didn't matter what I got on paper. There was no way I was gonna be in those boys' lives. They were such a mess by the time I left and my ex-husband left that it just didn't matter. I just needed to walk away from everything and regroup and come back with Plan B. The big problem for me was I couldn't find them after hiring four or five private investigators and them being out of the country in a Carribbean island. I really didn't have any United States… The Hague Convention, the Hague treaty was working against me with them being in a Caribbean island. And when they did come back to the United States, it took me nine years to track them down and find out that they were living in Tennessee. If somebody wants to fall below the radar, they can."
Asked what justification the courts used to deny her custody of her two children, Lita said: "They said I was not taking the medication that they prescribed for me that was absolutely ridiculous. It was just an excuse. I did everything in my power that they asked me to do. I did everything. They had nothing on me. And my ex-husband was just lying, he was just making up stuff as we went along. It was just insane. And as he made stuff up, there was no proof that I did all these things he said I did. It was just absolutely crazy. Because I really was a great mom. I put everything into being a mom. I stopped my musical career. I focused on nothing but my boys. I homeschooled my boys living on that deserted island. I mean, I spent all day every day with these kids. I had stacks of books. And then we would go fishing and we would cook dinner. We had a great, great relationship. So for them to turn around and say, 'Mom, you did this and you did that.' Like, 'Wait a minute. You guys are dreaming. You guys are being brainwashed by your dad.' And the attorneys are just feeding off of that."
Ford, who launched the Parental Alienation Awareness Facebook page a few years ago, said that she was finally able to get in touch with her sons and speak to them, although the meeting didn't go as well as she had hoped.
"I just contacted them for the first time in almost 10 years," she said. "And I was able to serve my ex-husband with papers saying that I want to see my son, my 17-year-old son. Because my older son now, being 21, there really isn't much I can do. So I was able to go in and see my kids for maybe 10 minutes in a mediation. But my ex-husband had turned them against me so badly that when I went into the mediation, all they did was accuse me of things and get angry at me and point their finger at me. It was horrible — it was absolutely horrible — because he's still sticking to the same crap stories."
Back in 2015, Gillette explained that the court-ordered custody arrangement was in his sons' best interest.
"I have sole legal and physical custody of our sons," Gillette told Metal Sludge. "Unfortunately, it goes much further than that… Lita Ford is not even allowed to see our sons by way of an agreed-upon court order. This order was signed after nearly two years of litigation, during which time the courts only allowed her supervised visitation."
Gillette also said that while his sons have urged him to "tell the world our side of the story," he didn't want to share the dirty details, explaining that "divorce is hard enough on kids and they certainly don't need to be hurt or embarrassed by an irrational parent who has an agenda."
In July 2015, James Gillette, the older of the two Ford-Gillette sons, released a statement to Metal Sludge in which he called his mother "a child abuser. She was violent, threatening, and tried to make my brother and me hate our dad. Her attempts at parental alienation were constant and never-ending. When we didn't agree with her, she would become livid and out of control. We told child services, the sheriff's department, and many court-appointed professionals that our mother was crazy, violent, and we were afraid she would someday kill us in a fit of rage."
He added: We have not been kidnapped. We live with our dad and have every right to. Thankfully we never have to see our mother again and we have the legal paperwork to prove it.
"Unfortunately, my mother has never accepted any responsibility for her actions and continues to blame anyone and everyone all while publicly playing the victim."
Jim and James Gillette appeared on SiriusXM's "Opie With Jim Norton" show in March 2016 to respond to Lita's allegations that the kids had been coaxed by Jim to attack her. You can listen to the audio of their appearance at this location (beginning at around the 44-minute mark).
Lita recorded the song "Mother" in 2013 as a tribute to her sons.
Photo credit: Dustin Jack