Children of guitarist Robbie Robertson sue his widow over $6-million home

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA--Oct.31, 2019--Robbie Robertson is chief songwriter for The Band and an esteemed rock guitarist. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Photographed in his recording studio in Santa Monica, California on Oct. 31, 2019. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)
Robertson in his studio in 2019. The guitarist for the Band died in August 2023, a few months after his marriage. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

The children of Robbie Robertson, the guitarist of the Band who died last year, are suing the woman he married shortly before his death, claiming she took advantage of the musician's declining health to have him sign documents that would favor her in the event of his death.

Robertson's three adult children — Alexandra, Delphine and Sebastian Robertson — filed the lawsuit Wednesday night in Los Angeles Superior Court against Janet Zuccarini, a well-known Toronto restaurateur who recently opened Stella West Hollywood. Robertson died in August, just months after he was married to Zuccarini.

A lawyer for Zuccarini called the complaint "meritless fiction."

The main claim in the lawsuit stems from Zuccarini and Robertson's joint purchase of David Geffen's Beverly Hills home on Gilcrest Drive in 2021 for $6 million. The couple each owned 50% of the house, but Robertson put down all of the $1.8-million down payment, according to the suit.

While Robertson's intent upon his death was for his children to become owners of 50% of the house with the ability to sell it to Zuccarini, buy Zuccarini's share or jointly sell the property with Zuccarini, that is not what happened, the suit said.

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Following Robertson's death, Zuccarini informed the family that "she was entitled to reside in the Property until her death — and that [Robertson's heirs] were required to pay, from what would have been their modest inheritance, the mortgage, property taxes, insurance, and half of the daily property maintenance expenses for the duration of her life," the suit reads.

Her claim stemmed from an amendment the couple had made to their "Tenant in Common" agreement from 2021, when they moved into the house.

The couple signed the amendment in March 2023 — months before Robertson died in August — agreeing that if one of them died, their estate would be responsible for continuing to pay off their half of the mortgage, according to a copy of the agreement.

Robertson's heirs argued in the lawsuit that after a 2022 surgery for cancer, Robertson never fully recovered. He began using powerful opioids, THC and antipsychotics to manage his pain and stimulate his appetite, according to the suit.

"Robertson’s mental state was severely impaired," the lawsuit said. "These drugs he was taking, in the period of time when Zuccarini was arranging the secret wedding and having him sign oppressive documents, are known to have significant effects on cognition, including confusion, hallucinations, torpor, depression, memory loss, and dissociation."

The heirs claim in the suit that Zuccarini committed elder abuse by having Robertson sign documents when she should have known he was not mentally capable of understanding what he was signing.

The suit calls for the cancellation of the agreement that split ownership of the house between Zuccarini and Robertson.

"This lawsuit is a meritless fiction and the truth will prevail," said Gabrielle A. Vidal, an attorney representing Zuccarini, in a statement to The Times. "This is a gross and exploitative attempt by Robbie Robertson’s children to eviscerate their father’s expressed wishes for his beloved wife Janet."

Robertson's children did not immediately comment through their attorney.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.