US

Sandra Lee’s new fiance Ben Youcef is STILL MARRIED and is going through a messy custody battle

Sandra Lee, the ex-girlfriend of disgraced Governor Andrew Cuomo, got engaged last weekend – but she won’t be going to the altar anytime soon because her new fiancé is still married, DailyMail.com can reveal. 

Lee, 55, accepted the proposal of actor Ben Youcef, 46, during a romantic Paris vacation. But Youcef has been married to real estate broker Apryl Stephenson since 2015.

When contacted by DailyMail.com Apryl confirmed: ‘Yes, Ben and I are still married. 

‘We are going through a divorce and I wish Ben and Sandra the best of luck. But I have nothing more to say.’ 

But a friend was not so tight-lipped. She told DailyMail.com, ‘Ben is an opportunist. I’m sure he is loving the media attention he is getting. He craved this sort of attention for several years and now he has it. Months ago, he told people he is dating a ”celebrity,” he was so proud to say it.’

‘Poor Sandra,’ added the friend. ‘She’s gone from a sexual predator in Andrew Cuomo to Ben, an opportunist. He has his own agenda.’ 

Youcef is an Algerian actor who is said to have been discovered by director Steven Spielberg in Munich and then moved to LA where he’s landed guest spots in popular police shows Law & Order, NCIS and Chicago P.D and starred in The Algerian, based on a story he wrote. 

Sandra Lee and actor Ben Youcef were seen strolling around the streets of St. Tropez earlier this month. They are now reportedly engaged, with Lee spotted wearing her ring in Paris 

DailyMail.com can reveal that Youcef has been married to real estate broker Apryl Stephenson since 2015. Stephenson told DailyMail.com exclusively, 'Ben and I are still married'. The couple are pictured at their wedding

DailyMail.com can reveal that Youcef has been married to real estate broker Apryl Stephenson since 2015. Stephenson told DailyMail.com exclusively, ‘Ben and I are still married’. The couple are pictured at their wedding 

The couple wed in Murrieta, California on June 7, 2015 and in July 2018 Apryl filed for legal separation after three years. Their twins, a boy Harris and girl Hannah, were born in December 2015

The couple wed in Murrieta, California on June 7, 2015 and in July 2018 Apryl filed for legal separation after three years. Their twins, a boy Harris and girl Hannah, were born in December 2015 

Divorce papers exclusively obtained by DailyMail.com confirm the couple are still legally married and their divorce is anything but amicable. Youcef wants joint legal and physical custody of their twins and Apryl is fighting him and refusing to give in.

The couple wed in Murrieta, California on June 7, 2015 and in July 2018 Apryl filed for legal separation after three years. Their twins, a boy Harris and girl Hannah, were born in December 2015.

'We are going through a divorce and I wish Ben and Sandra the best of luck. But I have nothing more to say,' Stephenson said

‘We are going through a divorce and I wish Ben and Sandra the best of luck. But I have nothing more to say,’ Stephenson said 

Then on January 7, 2020 Apryl filed for dismissal of the legal separation and filed for divorce on the same day.

Court records from Riverside County show that Apryl acted as her own attorney against her husband, using his legal name Abdelwahab Benyoucef when she filed the paperwork.

Court declarations filed by Apryl’s parents accused Youcef of not being a responsible parent regarding their children’s hygiene and failing to establish boundaries. They claimed he’s more of a ‘playmate’ to them than a parental figure. 

Youcef’s mother-in-law Beverly Stephenson said in her declaration that her daughter’s marriage to Youcef had serious issues from the beginning, that he never moved permanently into the marital home in Murrieta but rather stayed in his apartment in Santa Monica and would visit on the weekends.

The friend said, ‘Apryl and Ben lived a short time together as husband and wife, they never really lived together as husband and wife after the twins were born. Ben always maintained his 2- bedroom 2 -bathroom rent controlled apartment.’

Beverly said in her declaration, when the twins were of toddler age, ‘Ben was little assistance to Apryl in caring for the children other than holding them.’

After the couple separated Youcef would reportedly spend his weekends with his children at a guest house on his in-law’s property in Murrieta. Beverly wrote that when Youcef asked her if he could stay at their place with his two children they agreed, she said, ‘My husband and I deemed it was safest for the twins.’

But over the few years that Youcef would visit his children at their house, she claimed she had observed ‘he was ill-equipped to properly care for them. He did not honor a routine. He did not bathe them or brush their teeth or take time to change their clothes or comb their hair.’ 

Lee was seen sporting what appeared to be a sizeable engagement ring in Paris last weekend

Lee was seen sporting what appeared to be a sizeable engagement ring in Paris last weekend 

Youcef's mother-in-law Beverly Stephenson said in her court documents that her daughter's marriage to Youcef had serious issues from the beginning, that he never moved permanently into the marital home in Murrieta but rather stayed in his apartment in Santa Monica and would visit on the weekends

Youcef’s mother-in-law Beverly Stephenson said in her court documents that her daughter’s marriage to Youcef had serious issues from the beginning, that he never moved permanently into the marital home in Murrieta but rather stayed in his apartment in Santa Monica and would visit on the weekends

Court declarations filed by Apryl's parents accuse Youcef of not being a responsible parent regarding their children's hygiene and failing to establish boundaries. They say he's more of a 'playmate' to them than a parental figure

Court declarations filed by Apryl's parents accuse Youcef of not being a responsible parent regarding their children's hygiene and failing to establish boundaries. They say he's more of a 'playmate' to them than a parental figure

Court documents filed by Apryl’s parents accused Youcef of not being a responsible parent regarding their children’s hygiene and failing to establish boundaries. They say he’s more of a ‘playmate’ to them than a parental figure. Their five-year-old twins are pictured 

Over the few years that Youcef would visit his children at their house, Apryl's mother claimed she had observed 'he was ill-equipped to properly care for them. He did not honor a routine. He did not bathe them or brush their teeth or take time to change their clothes or comb their hair'

Over the few years that Youcef would visit his children at their house, Apryl’s mother claimed she had observed ‘he was ill-equipped to properly care for them. He did not honor a routine. He did not bathe them or brush their teeth or take time to change their clothes or comb their hair’

Beverly said, ‘The children are early risers, but Ben would stay up very late at night, generally until 2am, so he would wish to not wake-up early with the children. The children would be confined to their bedroom by child safety locks where they would play until they could get someone’s attention.’

She added that ‘many days he would sleep while they watched TV.’ 

When the mother-in-law questioned Youcef as to why the children would be in their pajamas all weekend long, Youcef would reportedly tell her, ‘They like being in their pjs.’

She said, ‘They were never out of their pj’s, they weren’t given baths. Their hair wasn’t combed. They didn’t brush their teeth.’

She added that ‘Ben has a hard time understanding he is the adult, and they are the children, and they need structure and guidance, not just a playmate.’

She also claimed that apart from the food Youcef buys his children, ‘Ben never spent time buying them any article of clothing, shoes, toothbrushes, or personal items…I am not sure he ever bought them anything.’

She said that Youcef fails to watch out for his children’s safety.

‘He needed to use the restroom while at the pool and left the 3-year-old twins in the jacuzzi with a 10-year-old, which is terrifying especially given the fact that they couldn’t swim at the time.’ 

Divorce papers confirm the couple are still legally married and their split is anything but amicable

Divorce papers confirm the couple are still legally married and their split is anything but amicable

She claimed that Youcef doesn’t have them in their car seats, driving on his lap, asking someone he barely knows to ‘keep an eye on the kids so he can fill up his water bottle.’

But said, ‘Ben does love his children and they love him.

‘I do not believe Ben is capable of caring for his children at this time any more than he has in the past until they are a great deal older and into their teens.’

In court documents Youcef denied ‘the baseless allegations.’  

He vehemently denied the childcare claims made against him, telling DailyMail.com that they were ‘lies and fabrications… as you are well aware these sorts of lies are typical in divorce cases.’

 According to his wife’s friend, ‘Apryl is hopeful that now Ben has found Sandra that he’ll move on and quit fighting her on the divorce. Apryl just wants to live in peace and raise her children. She wants Ben to be more proactive in their children’ lives.’

The friend said that ‘Sandra has met the kids and has spent a lot of time with them. The twins really like her. They think she looks like their grandmother.’

Youcef and Sandra Lee reportedly met at a charity event last spring in Santa Monica.

The pair were photographed on the streets of Paris hugging and kissing last Saturday. Sandra Lee was photographed wearing a sizable engagement ring on her finger.

In documents that Youcef filed with the courts in his divorce in October 2020, he claimed that he receives $900/month in unemployment compensation and $1300/month from acting. 

Sandra Lee is reportedly worth $20 million and just purchased a Malibu beach house for $3.4 million dollars in late 2020 after moving out of the New York home she shared with Andrew Cuomo. She sold her Mt. Kisco, New York home – named ‘Lily Pond’ – for $1.85 million last October.

Cuomo, meanwhile, gave his two-weeks’ notice on August 10, just a week after Attorney General Letitia James released a scathing report concluding that he sexually harassed 11 women while in office.

Youcef and Sandra Lee reportedly met at a charity event last spring in Santa Monica. The pair were photographed on the streets of Paris hugging and kissing last Saturday

Youcef and Sandra Lee reportedly met at a charity event last spring in Santa Monica. The pair were photographed on the streets of Paris hugging and kissing last Saturday

Sandra Lee is reportedly worth $20 million and just purchased a Malibu beach house for $3.4 million dollars in late 2020 after moving out of the New York home she shared with Andrew Cuomo

Sandra Lee is reportedly worth $20 million and just purchased a Malibu beach house for $3.4 million dollars in late 2020 after moving out of the New York home she shared with Andrew Cuomo

He had repeatedly denied those claims, even as he announced his resignation, saying: ‘Part of New York tough is being New York smart. New York smart tells us that this situation and moment are not about the facts. It’s not about the truth. It’s not about thoughtful analysis. It’s about how do we make the system better.’

Lee had dated Andrew Cuomo for 14 years until they broke up in 2019

Lee had dated Andrew Cuomo for 14 years until they broke up in 2019

‘Now you know me. I’m a New Yorker, born and bred. I am a fighter, and my instinct is to fight through this controversy because I truly believe it is politically motivated,’ he continued.

‘I believe it is unfair and it is untruthful, and I believe that it demonizes behavior that is unsustainable for society. If I could communicate the facts through the frenzy, New Yorkers would understand. I believe that, but when I took my oath as governor, then it changed. I became a fighter, but I became a fighter for you, and it is your best interests that I must serve.’

‘And I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing. And, therefore, that’s what I’ll do because I work for you, and doing the right thing is doing the right thing for you. Because as we say, ‘It’s not about me. It’s about we.”

The same day that Lee reportedly became engaged, Cuomo’s daughter, Michaela Kennedy-Cuomo, 23, was seen carrying cardboard boxes, tote bags, a backpack and a ukulele case from the Executive Mansion into a black SUV.

His resignation goes into effect on August 24. 


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button