Actress Anne Heche has become embroiled in a legal battle over the ownership of her children's sunscreen line.
The Donnie Brasco star and her actor husband James Tupper launched the Tickle Time powder sunblock last year (12) with business partners Kathleen Tracy and Nicole Tracy-Arranaga, but the relationship has broken down following a disagreement over a proposed expansion of the product range.
Tracy and Tracy-Arranaga recently filed suit against the husband and wife team, accusing the pair of breach of fiduciary duty after reportedly agreeing to use Heche's fame to promote the item, only for her to allegedly skip three public appearances.
The plaintiffs also claim Heche had "absolutely no involvement whatsoever in Tickle Time" for six months as she was busy filming U.S. Tv comedy Save Me, and then reportedly tried to force the partners to launch adult sunscreens - which would directly compete with their newly-established La Bella Donna (Lbd) brand.
However, Heche and her husband have hit back with their own lawsuit, in which they claim Tracy and Tracy-Arranaga were "actively developing" the idea for the La Bella Donna sunscreen collection for adults while the Tickle Time partners were already discussing similar products for their shared brand. They have also attacked their business partners for allegedly sabotaging Tickle Time to "make way" for Lbd by failing to stock enough of the mineral ingredients required to make the kids' sunblock to meet consumer demand.
Heche and Tupper are seeking restitution, punitive damages for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and prospective economic advantage. They are also demanding Tracy and Tracy-Arranaga sell back their 50 per cent interest in Tickle Time to the couple.