Jim Wilkes is very close with Erika Jayne and has been for over two decades, but the attorney tells Page Six there is nothing romantic between him and his friend-turned-client.
Late last month, the Tampa-based lawyer, 72, and the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star, 51, were spotted in Las Vegas on what fans suspected was a “date.”
Wilkes quickly took to social media to gush over his wife, Trista, whom he tells us “loves Erika.” (He was briefly wed to a woman named Jessica before marrying Trista in August 2022.)
Wilkes says his first wife, Melania – to whom he was married to for close to 20 years – also adores the Bravolebrity, as the former couple would often go to dinner with Jayne and her now-estranged husband, Tom Girardi.Jim Wilkes clears up his relationship status in an interview with Page Six after being spotted on a “date” with Erika Jayne.Instagram/1jwilkesWilkes says there is nothing romantic going on between him and the “RHOBH” star.@blndhairblckhrt/Twitter
But Wilkes tells us he stopped hanging out with the since-disbarred attorney, 84, around 2010 because he noticed “a remarkable change in personality.”
Wilkes – an elder advocate known for suing nursing homes on behalf of abused residents – claims Girardi’s mental decline came in tandem with increased alcohol consumption.
“Tom was slipping. He’d be drinking and loop stories,” Wilkes tells us of Girardi, who was diagnosed with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in March 2021.The Tampa-based lawyer adds that his wife, Trista, “loves Erika.”Instagram/1jwilkes
Wilkes claims Girardi “drank like a dish” toward the end of their friendly relationship, sometimes putting down “three bottles of wine” during a meal. He describes Girardi as a “slick” attorney who all of a sudden began “badmouthing judges,” which tipped Wilkes off that there may be a problem.
When he tried to talk to Girardi about his concerns, Wilkes tells us the former reacted with “rage.”
“He’s a cheesy chicken s–t lawyer,” Wilkes says of his former pal.Wilkes says he and his first wife, Melania, used to go to dinner with Jayne and her estranged husband, Tom Girardi.theprettymess/Instagram
Meanwhile, Jayne filed for divorce from Girardi in November 2020 after 21 years of marriage amid a string of legal issues, including accusations that he embezzled millions of dollars from his clients’ settlement funds to finance her lavish lifestyle.
In February, he was indicted on five counts of wire fraud. He did not respond to Page Six’s request for comment at that time.
Jayne has consistently maintained that she had no knowledge of or involvement in Girardi’s alleged misdeeds, and Wilkes echoes those sentiments.“Tom was slipping. He’d be drinking and loop stories,” Wilkes claims of the since-disbarred attorney.Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
In fact, he says Jayne was financially kept so in the dark throughout the marriage that she never even had a checking account.
“Tom left her with nothing,” he claims, adding that he has since opened a checking account for Jayne, whom he insists “doesn’t have any hidden accounts.”
While Wilkes believes that Jayne has borne the brunt of Girardi’s actions due to her celebrity status, fans have also come down on the reality star for seeming to lack compassion for the victims.Jayne filed for divorce from Girardi in November 2020 amid a string of legal issues.Steve Eichner/NameFace/Sipa USA
However, Wilkes claims that Jayne’s previous legal team urged her to keep quiet because showing empathy would be seen as an admission of guilt. He clarifies that is not the case.
“I’m so tired of people saying she doesn’t care,” Wilkes tells us. “Goddamn, she cares.”
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Despite rumors, Wilkes also insists that Jayne and Girardi did not have an open marriage, going on to claim that the “Housewife” discovered her then-husband was allegedly having affairs around 2017 or 2018.
As for why she did not leave him then, Wilkes suggests it was out of “fear” but does not elaborate.“Tom left her with nothing,” Wilkes claims.Instagram/1jwilkes
He also corroborates Jayne’s story that Girardi got into a serious car accident during this time, alleging that Girardi “got lost” following a boozy date with a suspected mistress.
Wilkes claims Girardi got out of his Aston Martin near a cliff on his way back to his Pasadena, Calif., home and “fell 60 feet.”
Wilkes also tells us he and his wife, Trista, are very happy these days but admits that they were recently “looking to get a divorce.”Wilkes claims Jayne discovered Girardi was allegedly having affairs around 2017 or 2018.theprettymess/Instagram
In April, he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, which is a felony, and misdemeanor battery after firing two shots inside his home during a domestic dispute.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Wilkes told cops that he and the woman – whose name and relationship to the attorney were redacted from the police report – were arguing when she hit him in the head.
Wilkes told cops he grabbed a handgun and fired one round into the bed and another round into a bathroom wall to scare her. The woman alleged that Wilkes then held the gun to her head and torso and threatened to kill her, which he denied.Wilkes was arrested in Florida last month for firing two shots inside his home during a domestic dispute.
“He was attacked, and he was defending himself,” his lawyer told the newspaper at the time. “That’s the extent of it.”
According to the Times, police obtained a risk protection order to remove several guns and ammunition from Wilkes’ home. Cops said the woman might also be prosecuted.
Tom’s brother-turned-conservator, Robert Girardi, had no comment when contacted by Page Six. Jayne did not respond to our inquiry.