The Great Tabloid Shoe Split: All's Fair in Divorce and Footwear

You know a story is a perfect tabloid story when you get not only an "exclusive" New York Post news story about it but also a dedicated rant from Andrea Peyser on the topic. Today, we get both, about a woman and her shoes.

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You know a story is a perfect tabloid story when you get not only an "exclusive" New York Post news story about it but also a dedicated rant from Andrea Peyser on the topic. Today, we get both, about a woman and her shoes. The tale, of course, is both greater and less than that. It's the story of a divorce, a lawsuit, and what happens for certain wealthy and well-shod people when surprising assets must be divided after a marriage turns sour. It is the story of Beth Shak, the pro poker player who has been a topic of articles in the Post and elsewhere previously. (She's also been on Millionaire Matchmaker and MTV Cribs, showing off her giant shoe closet, and was in a documentary about women who are "obsessed" with their shoes.)

The lawsuit was over her 1,200 pairs of shoes, which her former husband, Daniel Shak, says she kept hidden from him (despite TV appearances mentioned above, despite her shoe blog and the Louboutin tattoo she has on her pelvic bone) in a secret room in their Fifth Avenue apartment. He wanted rights to the "millions of dollars" in shoes so he could sell them, essentially. Shak fought back, claiming the shoe collection and its alleged secrecy was because it was an illness, a compulsion to fill the void of her loveless marriage. Via the Post,

“It really was a sickness, it was like a disease,” Beth Shak told The Post outside court yesterday, sporting a $700 pair of beige Yves St. Laurent stilettos.

“There was such a lack of emotion and love in my relationship that I filled that void with shopping. I was shopping endlessly, I couldn’t stop,” said Shak, 51, who’s played on the professional poker circuit since 2004.

She asked for love, and then therapy; he told her to get lost and go shopping. It's just like an Avril Lavigne song for the rich 50-something set! This was the testimony and apparently it worked: Daniel Shak "abruptly dropped the legal action yesterday after several hours of testimony," though Peyser says his claim for dropping the case was that he didn't want his stepdaughter to have to testify. At any rate, that brings us to Peyser, who uses the momentum of this story to freak out about sex and shoes in a way that only she can. (Her column is titled, hiliariously, "Hubbies, deny sex & you might pay through the toes"; in it she discusses Shak's "strappy sandals and kicky bondage-wear platforms" ad nauseam.) Her conclusion: "It’s weird, but not surprising, Beth Shak had a kinky relationship with an article of clothing. Daniel Shak should have noticed her lady parts. It’s cheaper."

In a world where shoes mean love, allegedly, it's not unreasonable to imply they also mean sex, I suppose, though for the majority of us who are not Carrie Bradshaw or her gal pals they actually mean neither—they're just things, maybe pretty things, maybe serviceable things, sometimes expensive things, that you wear on your feet. But we sort of feel bad for them after all they've been through, what with this traumatic custody battle and then being dragged through the tabloid muck of an alleged illicit relationship with Shak by Peyser. Poor shoes.

Can Shak ever look at them the same way again? Perhaps she'll have to buy some new ones.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.