Olivia Wilde is opening up about being served child custody papers in April while onstage at CinemaCon, where she was introducing her forthcoming film Don’t Worry Darling.
In April, Wilde was presenting the psychological thriller to an audience of 3,000 exhibition industry insiders and press when an unidentified guest approached the stage to interrupt her as she read from the teleprompter. The guest placed a manila envelope on the main stage inside the Colosseum theater at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
“This is for me?” Wilde asked the woman as she picked up the envelope. She pulled out the envelope’s contents and read the top page, said “thank you,” and then went back to her prepared comments.
It was later revealed that inside the envelope were child custody papers from Wilde’s former partner Jason Sudeikis. The pair, who split in 2020 after nine years together, share two children: Daisy, 5, and Otis, 8.
“I hated that this nastiness distracted from the work of so many different people and the studio that I was up there representing,” Wilde recently told Variety of the incident. “To try to sabotage that was really vicious. But I had a job to do. I’m not easily distracted.”
She likened the incident to an employee getting served at their company office and called the security breach “really scary.”
“It was my workplace,” Wilde said. “In any other workplace, it would be seen as an attack. It was really upsetting. It shouldn’t have been able to happen.”
Wilde also expressed her incredulity that the person who handed her the envelope was able to even get into the venue at all and suggested that it took a significant amount of planning — from being credentialed “with several badges,” taking COVID tests days in advance and securing wristbands to get access inside. “This was something that required forethought,” she said.
Wilde also said she felt the real victims were her children, calling the incident both “sad” and “deeply painful.” She went on to say that “sadly, it was not something that was entirely surprising to me. I mean, there’s a reason I left that relationship.”
For his part, an insider said at the time that Sudeikis was not aware that the paperwork would be served at the event.
“Papers were drawn up to establish jurisdiction relating to the children of Ms. Wilde and Mr. Sudeikis,” an insider told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. “Mr. Sudeikis had no prior knowledge of the time or place that the envelope would have been delivered, as this would solely be up to the process service company involved, and he would never condone her being served in such an inappropriate manner.”
In the wake of the event, CinemaCon organizers said they were re-evaluating security measures.
“To protect the integrity of our studio partners and the talent, we will re-evaluate our security protocols,” Mitch Neuhauser, managing director of the National Association of Theatre Owners and head of CinemaCon, told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. He emphasized that “never in the history of the event” had an incident, specifically a star being randomly approached onstage, ever occurred.
Wilde previously addressed the incident in her own court filing in July, referring to the “outrageous legal tactics.”
“Jason’s actions were clearly intended to threaten me and catch me off guard. He could have served me discreetly, but instead he chose to serve me in the most aggressive manner possible,” she claimed. “The fact that Jason would embarrass me professionally and put our personal conflict on public display in this manner is extremely contrary to our children’s best interests. Since Jason has made it clear that we will not be able to work this out for our children’s sake outside of the court system, I filed a petition for custody in Los Angeles.”
Earlier this month, she won a legal victory over Sudeikis when a judge decreed that the kids’ home state is California, not New York, as Sudeikis had argued.