Judge Rules Tomi Rae Hynie Is James Brown’s Legal Widow

Last month (Dec 2014), we informed you that the late James Brown’s estate is still being contested by his children. A judge was scheduled to review legal documents from each party’s claim to determine if Brown's "marriage" to his female companion Tomi Rae Hynie was valid or not. Hynie (who bore Brown’s son James III and was a background singer for the legend) also contested the will to fight for a share of Brown's estate, even though she was NOT mentioned in the will.

Well, according to The New York Times, Judge Doyet Early III has found Hynie to legally be Brown’s widow. You see, in 2001, she and Brown married but he filed for an annulment after he found out that she was married to another man named Javed Ahmed, “an immigrant who needed an American spouse to allow him to remain in the country,” The article continues, “However, that marriage was called into question on the ground that he already had several wives in his home country.”

Judge Early III writes, “All bigamous marriages are void’ from the start. Since Mr. Brown in 2004 didn’t continue through with the annulment, “he was married to Mrs. Brown at the time of his death,” the judge wrote in a 46-page ruling. Hynie (Mrs. Brown’s) laywer Robert Rosen stated in a telephone interview, “We are obviously very happy with this result. My client has been maligned throughout this process, but she is the wife and has now been declared the wife.”

So, where does the late legend’s estate case go from here? Rosen says he’s willing to come to a financial settlement agreement with the six children named in Brown’s will. However, since his will was made, two other children have proven to be Brown’s children after taking a DNA test, which, of course, could be the beginning of another lengthy legal battle.