By ROBIN MIZRAHI
NYPD Blue star Kim Delaney has lost custody of her 15-year-old son after he testified in court papers that she was endangering his life by driving around with him while drunk.
It is the latest humiliation for the 42-year-old Emmy award-winning actress following a string of booze-related scandals that have plagued both her career and personal life.
A court in Santa Monica, Calif., temporarily gave full custody of son Jack to Kim’s ex-husband actor Joe Cortese, from whom she was divorced in 1994.
In a dramatic statement to the court, Jack said: “My mother came to pick me up at a friend’s house… [She] was drunk. Her speech was slurred and the smell of alcohol was on her breath. I attempted to keep her from driving her car, but she was very demanding.
“My mother demanded that my friend go with us. He refused to drive with her because she was drunk… Unfortunately this is not the only incident in which I have seen my mother drunk.
“I have not seen my mother since August 11. I do not want to be with her until she has completed rehab and is sober. I am very concerned for my safety when I am with her… I want to live with my father.”
Cortese — a veteran TV and film actor — testified in court papers that Jack “is tired of being embarrassed and being placed in jeopardy by her excessive alcohol drinking.”
Cortese, 57, also alleged that Delaney was arrested in January 2002 for drunk driving, had been in rehab four times and had suffered incidents of alcoholism over the past few years. A close friend of the Cortese family told The National Enquirer: “Joe cares very much for Kim, but he has to think about the repercussions of Jack living with an alcoholic mother, and driving around with her when she’s drunk.”
Sources said that in another incident in June, Kim turned up at Jack’s private school with alcohol on her breath, and school personnel told her never again to arrive there drunk.
“Joe had no choice but to request full custody of Jack,” the friend revealed. “Not only is it what Jack wanted, but Joe would never forgive himself if Jack were ever injured in an accident caused by Kim’s drinking.”
The court ruled Delaney could only see her son under strict supervision and could not drink alcohol up to 24 hours before any visit. She also must submit to random alcohol tests upon two hours’ notice. The National Enquirer attempted to reach Cortese for comment, but he was not available. Delaney’s spokesman said the actress “is out of town, and cannot be reached for comment.”
Delaney, a Pennsylvania-born former model, began her TV career on the daytime drama All My Children, and then hit it big on NYPD Blue as detective Diane Russell. But her ex-husband told the court a subsequent stint on CSI: Miami was short-lived when she was fired in the first season due to alcoholism.
She has continued to work on various projects, including two guest appearances on the cult hit TV series The O.C. But her demons returned while filming a TV movie in Toronto recently when, court papers claim, she was asked to leave the set after appearing drunk.
Delaney saw her beloved brother John, a 47-year-old father of twins, die of a heart attack while playing a family game of basketball in Vetner, New Jersey, on July 17.