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Host of "Top Chef" contest in own battle over custody of daughter

Former model and current "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi might not be as accustomed to the competition the challengers face on the hit Bravo show, but it sounds like the time for her to fight has come. Rather than fighting for the title of "Top Chef," however, Lakshmi is in the fight for the title of primary parent.

In February of last year, Lakshmi, 40, gave birth to a daughter, her first child. The child's father is reportedly Adam Dell, brother of the founder of Dell computers. Lakshmi, along with the rest of the world, found out this week that Dell is so unhappy with current child custody arrangements that he has filed for sole custody of their 11-month-old daughter.

According to reports, Lakshmi is upset over the entire situation. She wants family matters to be kept private and suspects that Dell's recent legal action is more about media attention than about protecting his rights as a father or the best interests of their child.

But Dell and his attorney insist that the move to change the custody agreement is a heartfelt one that's become necessary due to Lakshmi's alleged habit of limiting Dell's visitation with the child. Says Dell's lawyer: "Unfortunately, Ms. Lakshmi has severely limited his time with their daughter and has refused to negotiate a reasonable co-parenting agreement. Mr. Dell has tried his best to avoid going to court, but Ms. Lakshmi has given him no other choice at this time."

Reports suggest that though Dell has filed for sole custody, his honest goal is that he and Lakshmi will come to an agreement on shared custody. Currently, Dell is allowed to see their daughter about seven hours every week, time that he often misses due to Lakshmi's schedule.

If a joint custody agreement is what would be best for the baby in this case, hopefully the pair will find a way to work it out in an amicable way. We will track the progress in the case and post an update with any developments.

Source

CBS News, Celebrity Circuit: "Adam Dell Fighting Padma Lakshmi for Custody of Daughter," Jessica Derschowitz, 26 Jan. 2011

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