Jeff Lewis' Doctor Backs Surrogate in Lawsuit, Says Stars Claimed Birth Video Was for 'Home Use'
Before Jeff Lewis' estranged surrogate opened a lawsuit against him, the Flipping Out star said he saw a sign that not all was going to be smooth sailing
Jeff Lewis has another foe in his ongoing legal battle with his daughter’s surrogate: her OBGYN, who claims to have overheard a crucial conversation.
On Monday, Dr. Lindsey Cafferata filed a declaration in support of Alexandra Trent, who carried Lewis and his partner Gage Edward’s now nearly 2-year-old daughter, Monroe.
Trent brought a lawsuit against Lewis and Edward, as well as Bravo and the show’s production company, Authentic Entertainment, in June claiming that the producers filmed her giving birth without her permission. Lewis has refuted these claims, alleging that Trent signed away her right to privacy when she agreed to be on the show.
In court papers obtained by PEOPLE and originally reported by The Blast, Dr. Cafferata said that she “heard Ms. Trent inform the show producers that she did not want to be filmed while she gave birth as she did not want her reproductive organs displayed on television.” The OB-GYN recalled that producers told her “that there would be no filming during the birth” but that Lewis and Edward said they wanted the video for “home use.”
Lewis was asked about that exchange during an appearance on the Wendy Williams Show on Tuesday. “I have a very different recollection of how things happened,” he told the host.
“When you agree to film a show, you sign a release,” he said. “And in this particular case, there were two releases that were signed. There was one in the very beginning and then when we did our surrogacy agreement, the release was included. … You can’t say a year later, ‘I didn’t know I was being filmed.’”
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Trent was seen on multiple episodes over two seasons of Flipping Out after Lewis and Edward hired her to carry Monroe. A season 10 episode (filmed on Oct. 25, 2016 and aired Aug. 31, 2017) documented Trent’s delivery, with Lewis and Edward — and the Flipping Out cameras — in the hospital room as it happened.
The show even captured the first moments Monroe was placed in Lewis and Edward’s arms, for skin-to-skin contact, seconds after her birth.
During interview setups filmed afterwards and spliced into the episode, Lewis made an off-color joke about Trent, saying, “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.”
The comment — and the fact that producers had filmed her delivery — “deeply damaged Trent” and “caused incredible anguish, self-loathing, contempt and depression,” according to her suit.
Lewis previously told PEOPLE that Trent’s lawsuit was “like a blow to the head” — explaining, “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 has previously tried to get the lawsuit thrown out. He also called the legal action a “financial shakedown.”
During Williams’s interview, she asked Lewis if there were any red flags in his relationship with Trent.
Lewis alleged that when Trent was carrying Monroe, she asked for a bigger financial payday. “There was a mention for more money mid-way through,” Lewis said. “We already agreed on everything, so that was the red flag.”
“That’s why I think we’re here now,” Lewis added. “It’s really an unfortunate situation. There are so many thousands of people that go through this surrogacy process. But it’s very scary when you spend tens of thousands of dollars to have multiple attorneys work on this and then the contract is just disregarded.”
Reps for Trent did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.