Burton wins court case against ex-girlfriend

A US judge has ended a long-running dispute between Tim Burton and his ex-girlfriend over whether the acclaimed director owes her more of his earnings.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Sanchez-Gordon signed an order finding in Burton's favour and stating that his ex, Lisa Marie, did not present a valid case.

Earlier, an appeals court had halted a trial and ordered the judge to grant a motion by Burton's attorney to dismiss the case.

Marie sued Burton in December 2006. She claimed she was cheated out of money that Burton had promised her during their relationship. The pair dated for nearly a decade and the director included her in several of his projects before their relationship ended in 2001.

The judge's ruling noted that Marie and Burton signed agreements around the time they went their separate ways that provided her with at least US$5.5m (€3.75m), rights to a New York co-op apartment and a Jaguar coupe. The judge declared those agreements "valid and enforceable".

The judge also released copies of the contracts, which divide more than just money.

Burton was granted the right to keep an Agnes Martin painting and the rights to large-size Polaroid pictures of Marie, including some of her nude. Any release or sale of those images would require her approval, the contracts say.

Marie countered in court filings that she felt coerced to sign the contracts and that Burton once told her he would take care of her "financial support and needs for the rest of her life".

Marie may now have to pay Burton's legal fees stemming from the lawsuit. The contracts signed in 2001 state that if Burton or Marie sued over the deal, the winner would be entitled to recoup his fees and costs.

Burton met Marie, a former Calvin Klein model, at a club in 1991. He cast her in several of his films, including 'Ed Wood', 'Mars Attacks' and a 'Planet of the Apes' remake.

Burton met Helena Bonham Carter, whom he is currently dating, while filming 'Planet of the Apes'. He and Carter have two children.

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