Carol Burnett Seeking Legal Guardianship of Grandson amid Daughter's Substance Abuse Issues
Carol Burnett is seeking legal guardianship of her grandson amid her daughter Erin Hamilton's substance abuse issues.
"Due to addiction issues and other circumstances that my daughter, Erin, has been struggling with impacting her immediate family dynamic, my husband and I have petitioned the court to be appointed legal guardian of my 14-year-old grandson," Burnett says in a statement to PEOPLE.
"Guardianship will be for oversight purposes concerning his health, education and welfare and not intended to deny him nor the parents proper visitation with one another. We look forward to recovery being the next stepping stone towards normalization and ask for privacy at this time to allow that process to occur," Burnett says.
In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Burnett, 87, asks that she and her husband Brian Miller be appointed Dylan's temporary guardians.
The iconic actress and comedian is seeking to provide Dylan with temporary care, maintenance and support, as well as handle her grandson's affairs.
"Throughout her adult life, and since Dylan's birth, Erin has suffered from severe substance abuse and addiction issues," states the court filing. "In the past 19 years, Erin has been in and out of rehabilitation centers and has been institutionalized a total of eight times for a minimum of 30 days each time."
The filing also states that Burnett's daughter threatened suicide in July. The LAPD was called to complete a wellness check on Hamilton, who was placed on a 51/50 hold for "suicidality and drug use," according to the court documents.
Dylan's father, Hamilton's ex-husband Tony West, is also reportedly unable to care for the child as he recently checked himself into a rehabilitation center, according to the documents. As stated in the filing, Burnett and her husband believe that West plans to relocate to Nevada after he checks out and recognizes that he is unable to provide financial support for Dylan.
"Dylan's living environment has long been unstable, unpredictable and unhealthy for a child," the filing states. "This culminated in a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigation and juvenile dependency proceedings in 2018 and 2019." (According to the filing, Burnett was appointed her grandson's educational rights holder in September 2018.)
"Carol is Dylan's maternal grandmother and Brian is Carol's husband of nearly twenty years," the filing states. "Although Brian is not Dylan's biological grandfather, he has known Dylan for Dylan's entire life and loves him like his grandson."
"Proposed Co-Guardians have always had a close relationship with Dylan and they have financially supported him for the entirety of his life," the filing continues. "This financial support includes providing for his medical insurance, dental insurance, educational needs, as well as his basic living and housing expenses. At this time, Proposed Co-Guardians are his sole source of financial support, and his primary source of emotional support. ... Proposed Co-Guardians' appointment is in Dylan's best interests and consistent with the love and care they are already providing to him. This will further Dylan's interests in a stable, secure, and loving environment and ensure that his needs are met on a consistent basis."
Hamilton is the youngest of Burnett's three children, all of them daughters, with her second husband, late TV producer Joe Hamilton.
Burnett's filing comes after she recently opened up about how her eldest daughter, Carrie, lived her life to the fullest right before her death 18 years ago.
In PEOPLE's exclusive first look at AARP The Magazine's August and September 2020 issue, Burnett looked back on how Carrie overcame drug addiction and learned the value of her life.
"My daughter Carrie got into drugs. In that situation, don’t be their best friend," Burnett told the magazine. "When we got her into a third rehab, oh, she hated my guts! You have to love them enough to let them hate you."
Carrie, who died in January 2002, "got sober before her 18th birthday, and we had a good 20 years," Burnett said.
"We were joined at the hip for a while there," the actress continued. "Carrie died of cancer at 38. But in the hospital, she said, 'Every day I wake up and decide today I’m going to love my life.' And that was her mantra."
Carrie died from pneumonia, a complication from lung cancer that spread to her brain.
The Blast first reported the news of Burnett's court filing.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.