Lewis's lawyers claim his surrogate, Alexandra Trent, signed away her right to sue him when she agreed to do the show

By Mackenzie Schmidt
September 18, 2018 01:53 PM
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Jeff Lewis and Monroe after her birth
Source: Jeff Lewis Facebook

Jeff Lewis wants a lawsuit brought by his estranged surrogate thrown out, saying she signed away her right to sue him when she joined Flipping Out.

Alexandra Trent, the surrogate who carried Lewis and his partner, Gage Edward’s 22-month-old daughter, Monroe, brought a lawsuit against Lewis, Edward, as well as Bravo and the show’s production company, Authentic Entertainment in June.

The suit claimed that Flipping Out producers filmed Trent giving birth without her permission in footage that showed her vagina. She also stated that Lewis and Edward made “disgusting” remarks about her while she was in labor with their child, according to a complaint obtained by PEOPLE.

She is seeking damages for unlawful recording, invasion of privacy and fraud.

Jeff Lewis/Instagram

At the time, Lewis told PEOPLE, “This is like a blow to the head. We are completely blindsided by this. We are just devastated. I thought we had a nice relationship, a friendship. We treated her like an extended member of the family. So you can imagine this is pretty stunning.”

He also called her claims bogus and without merit,” adding, “This smells to me like a financial shakedown.”

WATCH THIS: Flipping Out’s Jeff Lewis and Gage Edward Are Trying for Baby No. 2 — a Boy!

The off-color joke the suit refers to were filmed in an interview setup after the birth and aired on the show in a season 10 episode. Lewis remarks that, “If I was a surrogate, and I had known there was going to be an audience, I probably would have waxed. And that was the shocking part for Gage. I don’t think Gage had ever seen a vagina, let alone one that big.”

That comment — and the fact that producers had filmed her delivery — “deeply damaged Trent” and “caused incredible anguish, self-loathing, contempt and depression,” according to the legal documents.

Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Lawyers for the famous house flipper filed a complaint, obtained by The Blast, in response on September 12, requesting that Trent’s suit be thrown out. They argue that she signed a “binding contract” before appearing on the show that stated she would “never sue any of the. . . parties because I do not like the manner in which producers . . . took or used . . . footage and materials in the program.” Instead, the document states, any disagreements, including those regarding “rights of privacy and publicity,” would be settled in “confidential arbitration.”

The file goes on to claim that Trent, who made several appearances over two seasons of Flipping Out, knew before she began filming that the producers could portray her in any way they saw fit. Her contract stated the show “may reveal or relate information about me of a personal, private, surprising, defamatory, disparaging, embarrassing or unfavorable nature,” the document says.

Jeff Lewis/Instagram

In response to the suit, Lewis claimed, “we were upfront and honest from the beginning, to the point where her appearance release was a part of the surrogacy agreement because the whole idea was to document this journey,” he said. “It was part of her agreement, it was all tied in. So how do you now say that you didn’t know you were being filmed?”

Trent’s suit claims her labor was secretly filmed from behind a curtain in the delivery room and she was not aware of it until the show aired and a colleague brought it to her attention.

His surrogate is not the only Flipping Out colleague Lewis has fallen out with recently.

Nicole Wilder/Bravo/Getty Images

He and Jenni Pulos, his former assistant and friend of nearly 20 years, recently parted ways after an explosive fight. He alleges she brought complaints of “abuse and victimization,” and later wrongful termination, against him. Lewis said the claims put his “entire career in jeopardy.” Reps for Bravo and Pulos had no comment.

Pulos is also Monroe’s godmother.

Flipping Out airs Tuesday nights at 10PM on Bravo.