Celebrity Chef Sandra Lee's New Fiancé Is STILL MARRIED – & An 'Opportunist'?!
Sandra Lee may be known for her “semi-homemade” recipes — but right now, she’s making headlines for the fact that her new fiancé is still semi-married!
As fans know, the 55-year-old accepted the proposal of actor Ben Youcef during a romantic Paris vacation last weekend. However, it looks like the pair won’t be rushing down the aisle anytime soon, as Ben is still legally married to Apryl Stephenson, according to a shocking report from DailyMail.com.
When asked to confirm their marital status, the real estate broker told the outlet:
“Yes, Ben and I are still married. We are going through a divorce and I wish Ben and Sandra the best of luck. But I have nothing more to say.”
A classy response!
Thankfully, a friend of Apryl’s did what true friends do best: s**t talk her ex so she didn’t have to! The pal went as far as to call Ben an “opportunist,” telling the publication:
“Ben is an opportunist. I’m sure he is loving the media attention he is getting. He craved this sort of attention for several years and now he has it. Months ago, he told people he is dating a ‘celebrity,’ he was so proud to say it.”
Yikes. That might be a red flag!
The confidant went on to express pity toward Sandra, who previously dated disgraced governor Andrew Cuomo before meeting Ben at a charity event last spring in Santa Monica, sharing:
“Poor Sandra. She’s gone from a sexual predator in Andrew Cuomo to Ben, an opportunist. He has his own agenda.”
Again, not the best review!
The Algerian actor reportedly moved to El Lay after being discovered by Steven Spielberg, who put him in a small role in the spy film Munich. He’s since landed guest spots in popular police shows Law & Order, NCIS, and Chicago PD.
Apryl filed for legal separation from Ben in July 2018, three years after they tied the knot, then filed for divorce in January 2020. To make matters messier, court papers show the couple’s divorce is anything but amicable: Youcef wants joint legal and physical custody of their twins, who were born in December 2015, but Apryl is fighting him on this.
She doesn’t want him to have shared custody? That’s red flag #2…
Court declarations filed by Apryl’s parents accused Youcef of not being a responsible parent in regards to their kids’ hygiene and failing to establish boundaries. They described him as more of a “playmate” to the kids than a father figure, writing:
“ was ill-equipped to properly care for . He did not honor a routine. He did not bathe them or brush their teeth or take time to change their clothes or comb their hair.”
Apryl’s momma said in her declaration that her daughter’s marriage to Youcef had serious issues from the beginning, claiming he never moved permanently into the marital home in Murrieta, California but stayed in his apartment in Santa Monica and would visit on the weekends. She added:
“Apryl and Ben lived a short time together as husband and wife, they never really lived together as husband and wife after the twins were born. Ben always maintained his 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom rent controlled apartment.”
Sounds like someone wasn’t that committed?
Apryl’s mom said that after the couple separated, Youcef would spend his weekends with his kids at a guest house on his in-law’s property in Murrieta, and even then she observed neglectful behavior on his part, writing:
“The children are early risers, but Ben would stay up very late at night, generally until 2 am, so he would wish to not wake up early with the children. The children would be confined to their bedroom by child safety locks where they would play until they could get someone’s attention… many days he would sleep while they watched TV… They were never out of their pj’s, they weren’t given baths. Their hair wasn’t combed. They didn’t brush their teeth.”
She went on to say that Youcef fails to watch out for his children’s safety, claiming:
“He needed to use the restroom while at the pool and left the 3-year-old twins in the jacuzzi with a 10-year-old, which is terrifying especially given the fact that they couldn’t swim at the time.”
She also alleged that Youcef doesn’t have his kids in their car seats, but drives them on his lap instead. In court docs, Youcef denied “the baseless allegations,” and told DM that they were “lies and fabrications… as you are well aware these sorts of lies are typical in divorce cases.”
Amid all the drama, Apryl’s friend said she’s hoping that Ben’s new romance will make him stop fighting her on child custody, explaining:
“Apryl is hopeful that now Ben has found Sandra that he’ll move on and quit fighting her on the divorce. Apryl just wants to live in peace and raise her children. She wants Ben to be more proactive in their children’ lives.”
Like we said, it’s all very messy. The question is: how much of this has Sandra been privy to?!
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