After a brief trial, a Utah probate court judge has declared that the former spouse of former child star Gary Coleman was not legally married to him when he died in 2010. The court did not issue its final ruling about who will inherit Mr. Coleman’s estate, though it now appears that his entire estate will go to Anna Gray, his former girlfriend and CEO of his personal corporation.
Mr. Coleman’s former spouse, Shannon Price, had claimed that the couple had effectively become remarried through Utah’s common-law marriage provisions. In a common-law marriage, the couple does not go through a marriage ceremony, but instead becomes legally married after meeting specific legal conditions. Utah is one of few states that allows for common-law marriage, though the judge ruled that Mr. Coleman and Ms. Price did not meet state legal requirements for entering into such a relationship.
Gary Coleman achieved fame early on as a child star on the late 70s and early 80s sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes.” In 2007, he married Shannon Price, though the couple later divorced in 2008. In 2010, he injured himself in a home accident. As a result of the accident, Mr. Coleman suffered a brain hemorrhage that led to a coma and his subsequent death. Mr. Coleman had created a will in 2005 that left all of his property to Ms. Gray.