Tiffany Thornton, best known as Demi Lovato's BFF on the Disney Channel's Sonny With a Chance, is caught up in a tug-of-war over her two young boys.
The actress's husband, musician Chris Carney, exclusively tells The Insider With Yahoo that Thornton disappeared a month ago with sons Kenneth and Bentley in tow. Kenneth is 20 months old; Bentley was born on March 1.
The actress, however, insists that Carney's allegations are "false and are being dealt with in the proper forum." Based on her social media activity, she is enjoying time with her family in Texas.
And Carney's own mother, Ruth, who is the mayor of Hot Springs, Arkansas, suggests that it's his problems that spurred Thornton to leave.
According to Carney's version of events, his wife took off shortly after a family dispute on Easter. "She took our car without my permission, drove my babies from Los Angeles with my mother to Hot Springs." From there, Thornton took the children to her family's home state of Texas. "She said that she's not coming back," Carney says.
After waiting several weeks in hopes of convincing his wife to return, and despite being in contact with his children via video chat, Carney filed a report with the Los Angeles Police Department. In the document, obtained by The Insider, Carney suggests that Thornton, 28, is suffering from postpartum depression and her devout religion has put her at odds with Carney's rocker lifestyle.
Thornton, meanwhile, denies any such problems. "The fact that Mr. Carney has chosen to contact The Insider to publicize these claims raises serious concerns for Ms. Thornton, who does not believe that Mr. Carney's desire for media attention, is in the best interest of the parties of the children, the two young children," her lawyer says in a statement.
Meanwhile, Ruth Carney tells The Insider that her son has to work through some issues.
"Chris has known the whole time where the children are. In fact, it was a planned trip," Ruth Carney explained. She said Thornton and the children spent two weeks in Little Rock and his wife "Facetimed him every day with the children."
"Tiffany said she would be back when he stopped drinking," Ruth continued, adding that her son spent time in rehab before meeting Thornton. "Chris is dealing with addictions really severely and he's not willing to get help right now." (Carney admits to drinking beer but denies having any sobriety problems.)
The actress, who most recently appeared in the straight-to-video The Dog That Saved Easter earlier this year, has been posting regularly on Twitter and Instagram, sharing pictures of the boys and her life in Texas, and retweeting Bible passages and inspirational messages from the group Follow Jesus.
Although he filed a police report, Chris Carney acknowledges the case falls out of LAPD jurisdiction and he has since contacted the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services.
Asked if he plans to reach out to Lovato, who gave a speech at the couple's 2011 wedding, or his wife's other actor friends, Carney says no.
"I don't need them, I don't need anybody, because I have the law on my side, and that's the bottom line," he tells The Insider. "I just want my babies back in California."
But Ruth Carney insists the children will return once her son shapes up:
"We want him to get help. Tiffany wants to work it out. … She doesn’t want a divorce she wants him to get help. He is such a wonderful person when he is not controlled by his addiction."
[Originally published May 22, 2014 at 4:10 p.m. PT; updated May 23, 2014, at 10 a.m. PT with Ruth Carney's statements and Chris Carney video.]
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- Tiffany Thornton
- Chris Carney