In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Sally says that he and Shepherd agreed to have a child via surrogate – using Sally’s sperm and a donor egg after doctors found that Shepherd’s eggs were not viable – within a year of their 2011 wedding.
“[Sherri] said, ‘I will love the baby like it’s mine,'” says Sally.
(Shepherd and her rep declined to comment to PEOPLE.)
Then six months into the pregnancy, he says the star – who recently weathered a tough custody battle over her 9-year-old son, Jeffrey, with ex-husband Jeff Tarpley – blindsided him with the news that she wanted a divorce.
Still, “she never said she didn’t want the baby,” says Sally.
Now the exes are tangling over financial responsibility for baby “L.J.,” whom Shepherd has never met, according to Sally. The Los Angeles-based scriptwriter is also asking for Shepherd, who is currently appearing on Broadway in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, to be named as the mother on the baby’s birth certificate.
“I think it’s the worst thing in the world for L.J. to look at his birth certificate at 16 and see it says, ‘Mother unknown,’ ” says Sally.
A pretrial hearing is set for Oct. 2 in Pennsylvania.
For much more on this story, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands Friday