Monday, Oct. 26, 2009 | 11:24 a.m.
Ten days ago, the showbiz dreams of Fantasy star Angelica Bridges crashed on the very night she premiered in the 10th anniversary of the topless Luxor cabaret show. Her two young daughters were being held “hostage” in Canada, and in the international tug-of-war child custody battle, the stunning redhead was given an ultimatum:
“Resign from the show and move out of Las Vegas, or the kids will remain in Canada.”
The Strawberry Blonde singer and former Baywatch beauty quit and fled Las Vegas in tears, driving alone through the desert back to Los Angeles to begin a weeklong series of long-distance telephone negotiations.
Now in an amazing breakthrough achieved yesterday, Angelica and her former husband, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray, have patched up many of their differences, and she will drive back here tomorrow morning and resume appearances in Fantasy as of tomorrow night. Click HERE for our story a week ago when Angelica told us of her heartbreak over being forced to quit her dream Las Vegas show.
Now she’s already found a new home in the guard-gated, chic Las Vegas Country Club community, and her children and mom will follow next weekend to move in Nov. 1. “I raced in, looked at 10 houses in four hours and picked that one with a one-year lease. Today, I’m going to get a Vegas school organized and find a nanny.
“I’m beyond Cloud 9 with happiness,” she told me in her first exclusive interview. “Is there a Cloud 10?”
“I was on an emotional roller coaster that went into a dark tunnel, and I thought everything was over and I wouldn’t come out the other end. It may have only been a matter of days, but it felt like an eternity. I went from crying with a broken heart the last week to tears of joy and happiness that we worked it all out yesterday.
“Perhaps we had to go to this extreme explosion to get it all resolved and finalized. Perhaps the ultimate confrontation had to take place in order to get it worked out. It could have been a horrible ending, but now it’s all worked out so well -- all in a matter of days! It’s better than any movie script any Hollywood writer could have come up with.
“I went from seeing my dream come true at my premiere collapse. I almost lost my children. I had to resign in order to get my daughters back. That was the first hurdle, and I felt so happy to get them home again snuggled up in bed with me. It’s always been solely about the two of them.
“I felt horrible. All the money that Luxor had spent in advertising. All the new show routines staged around me. All the planning and rehearsals. It just crashed and went up in smoke. But the lawyers demanded my resignation. Otherwise, I wouldn’t see my kids again, so I had to quit in order to get the children back.
“Then we started talking, and finally we reached an agreement. We wrote it up between us on email, exchanged a first draft. Made changes. Retyped it and then we signed it, and now that’s going to the family court judge as our declaration of our total understanding and agreement.
“Amazing -- and we did it without lawyers. We both said forget our differences and us. Let’s just focus on what’s best for the children -- what can we do so that everybody wins -- but most importantly the kids win, and the fight using them as pawns in the middle comes to an end.
“There will be no more litigation. The drama is over, finished, ended. All the claims between us both are dropped, and we move forward. What a wonderful ending!
“I get to return to Fantasy and live in Las Vegas. I am free again to live my life. The key to it was communication, talking one-on-one between us and opening up the door solely to talk about the children and what would keep them happiest in their lives.”
Angelica says her two girls Scarlett, 2, and Valentina, 6, have red hair and blue eyes, just like her. She said that Fantasy producer and choreographer Anita Mann stuck by her side during the ordeal.
“Anita was a single mom in a similar custody situation while she was choreographing shows in Vegas back with Elvis Presley. She won, and her children adore, admire and respect what she did for them.”
“I wanted the same for me. I want my two daughters to understand it’s OK to go for the golden dream and win. Now we can all go forward with that goal. I will be able to live in Las Vegas with them and provide them a comfortable life in a nice home. We’re not going to be living in a hotel because they are used to living in a home.”
The negotiations were finally agreed to on Friday after hours of long-distance international telephone calls and emails.
Said Angelica: “I played lawyer and wrote it up, and then we agreed to everything and signed last night. In the end, it became an amazing conversation with both of us wanting each other to be happy. We’d had no communication in several months except through lawyers. Then somehow we got it all off our chests, and that opened the gates and out everything flooded, and we found the common ground of respect for both of us.
“By putting the kids first and putting us to the side, we both agreed to care about the kids first of all, and that ended this love-hate contest that’s gone on for the last few years -- even after the divorce.
“I told him when the hockey season is over, he can come to Fantasy. He can bring the entire Edmonton Oilers team with him. I can even fix the single guys up with some beautiful Fantasy dancers. If he wants to bring his girlfriend here, we’ll make sure they have a good time.”
Luxor President Felix Rappaport commented this morning: “All of us are thrilled it has all been worked out, and we cannot wait for her triumphant return tomorrow evening.”
Anita told me this morning: “I am so happy that it worked out first for her and the children, and then I’m thrilled she’s coming back to Fantasy and they’ve worked out their problems. I’m flying to Las Vegas today, and we’ll choreograph a new number for her. Tomorrow night, we’ll have her even singing a new song with rehearsals tomorrow afternoon.
“We’ll put the show now in order the way it was going to be, but we couldn’t because of all the problems Angelica was coping with. I’m now wishing her nothing but good great luck as we start it all over again. I feel so positive about the way it wound up and that it will now work out 100 percent good for her, the children and our show. The Fantasy dancers are overjoyed she’s coming back. They’d become a wonderful, close-knit family in the three weeks of rehearsals before the show opened and closed the same night. ”
Added Angelica: “I’ve signed a year’s lease, so I hope I can sign on to Fantasy now for a year. If not, I’m going to stay in Las Vegas anyway. I’ll play the girl in Criss Angel’s Believe illusion that gets sawed in half if I have to. I’ll pull rabbits out of my bra if necessary. After all, two Carrot Tops are better than one at the Luxor!
“I love what I do. I have the passion for this. I will work my tail off to make sure Fantasy is the only word people say in Vegas.” Angelica’s already agreed to appear and perform at an MGM cancer benefit event on Wednesday.
First inside word is that Angelica’s role will be expanded in the show with new routines taking advantage of her comedic, freewheeling personality, but I’m also told she will no longer be going topless.
Angelica explained: “I’ll get down to the 9’s. I’m going to get some even sexier outfits, but we’ll leave just a little more to the imagination than baring all in full glory, which really, to be honest, will be more exciting and titillating to the art of the tease. I’ll be down to a couple of threads, but now just before they vanish, we’ll go to the blackout. It will be almost, but not quite, but I promise it will be as hot as you could possibly make it.”
When Angelica and Anita meet with Luxor officials and the advertising and marketing executives tomorrow and Wednesday, they will hatch plans for another premiere to kick it off all over again. This time without the drama and international crisis!
Angelica concluded, “This time when I drive through the desert back to Las Vegas, I am going to sing all the way!”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground. Read more of Robin's stories at VegasDeLuxe.com.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter HERE.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter HERE.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter HERE.