Can AP describe a nasty interpersonal train-wreck in terms of a cooking show? Of course they can:

"Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi is steeped in a custody fight, and the ingredients are plenty complex.

 Venture capitalist Adam Dell sued Wednesday for custody of Lakshmi's 11-month-old daughter. He says a paternity test has shown he's the infant's father, but Lakshmi is sidelining him and trying to cast her current flame, financier Ted Forstmann, in that role.

 Dell wants custody of the baby, and he's pointing sharply to Lakshmi's career and globe-trotting lifestyle as a reason, saying she's "either unable or unwilling to moderate either her social or business travel" for the child's sake.

 A lawyer for Lakshmi, Jay D. Silverstein, called Dell's claims "inaccurate and misleading," and her camp blasted the public airing of her and her daughter's personal life.

There is some airing going on, it’s true:

Lakshmi and Dell began dating in November 2007 and remained romantically involved until she dumped him in September 2009, telling him he was "unambitious" and had an "uninteresting" career, his lawsuit said.

 She then told him she was pregnant, and a DNA test showed Dell was the father, according to the lawsuit.

She’s 40. Dell, 41, is the brother of the computer Dell guy - not the stoner in the ads! Michael Dell, the founder. He’s a tech investor. The other guy she wants the baby to call “Papa” is the CEO of a big sports & marketing film, IMG, and he’s 70 years old. Also worth about $1.5 billion.

 By the way, here’s what the Daily News was reporting in 2007:

Their mouthpieces maintain that the two are not dating. But that hasn't stopped some from noticing that Forstmann has appeared in Lakshmi's life just as her husband, author Salman Rushdie, is leaving it. Reps say the 67-year-old tycoon and the 36-year-old host of Bravo's "Top Chef" have been meeting simply because she's become a client of Forstmann's International Management Group, the sports and entertainment marketing giant.

 As early as this week, we hear, IMG is due to announce a slate of endorsement and licensing projects for Lakshmi. "IMG is global, and so is Padma's appeal," says one insider. "It's a good marriage."

But not in the actual marriage sense. Maybe Dell was just a vacation break from Mr. Moneybags; who knows? Wouldn't matter except there's a child involved. More here - People manages a sympathetic story, which I’m sure has nothing to do with the fact that she’s pretty and on TV, and he isn’t. It’s one of those stories in which a “pal” just calls the magazine and tells us how “devastated” her friend really is, poor dear.

 

The people in the comments sections are not, shall we say, burdened with a surplus amount of sympathy.

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