It’s estimated that one in twenty American homes have a Thomas Kinkade painting hanging on the walls. The self-named “Painter of Light” turned his gift of rendering landscapes and other words of art into a tremendous commercial endeavor. In fact, his numerous corporate holdings reportedly topped $100 million in annual sales some years, primarily due to mass reproduction of his works.
But the Painter of Light was not without his demons, primarily alcoholism and a failed marriage. He died suddenly at age 54 caused by “acute intoxication” from alcohol and Valium, on April 6, 2012. His wife, Nanette, had filed for divorce two years before, and the couple was legally separated. Kinkade died while living with his girlfriend of 18 months, Amy Pinto-Walsh.
The girlfriend and estranged wife began fighting almost immediately after Kinkade passed. Pinto-Walsh was kept from the funeral and slapped with a lawsuit for breach of a confidentiality agreement. The family wanted her to remain quiet and not share any personal details with the media.
Pinto-Walsh did not rest on her laurels. She went to probate court to enforce two handwritten wills (called “holographic” wills) that she says Kinkade wrote for her benefit in late 2011.
These two handwritten wills are interesting, to say the least. The first one, dated November 11, 2011, bequeaths to Pinto-Walsh the sum of $10 million dollars “from my corporate policy” and his house and property next door “for her security.”