Why Jay Cutler Does NOT Deserve Half of Kristin Cavallari’s Business After Their Divorce
A 10-year relationship ended in separation – and the proceedings are currently being held up thanks to a demand from Jay for 50% of Kristin’s jewelry business. A look through their relationship up to their split shows his claim is unreasonable at best.
The year was 2009, and then-reality TV star Kristin Cavallari was focused on her career. So focused in fact, that when she got a call from her publicist that a football player named Jay Cutler wanted to take her out, she declined. “Jay wanted to fly me out to Chicago,” Cavallari says, recounting the start of the relationship, but she didn’t know who he was and “was in the middle of filming ‘The Hills’” in Los Angeles. Her response was succinct.
“I don’t want a boyfriend in Chicago.”
Even though their relationship wasn’t to be at that moment, due to her focus on work and convenience, the two would later meet in 2010 and spark off a whirlwind romance of engagement, breakup, reunion, and marriage. Of course, we now know that the relationship would end with a messy, protracted divorce, but dreams still exist, right? Perhaps the rocky start, with Cavallari’s focus remaining on her business, was a sign of what was to come a decade down the line.
Fast Forward to 2017…
When after nearly 4 years of marriage – and 3 healthy babies – Kristin Cavallari was ready to announce a fourth new addition to their family:
The Uncommon James Jewelry line.
A few days after the launch, Cavallari reflected on getting the business going. “I’ve really poured my heart and soul into it. I’ve been involved in every little detail, so it’s extremely meaningful to me. This is my baby!”
By this point, Cavallari had some experience with designing jewelry, having cofounded Emerald Duv in 2014 with her friend Chelsa Bulte. The difference was this was Cavallari’s first solo foray into jewelry design, and she wasn’t shy about detailing just how much she was doing to make it a success.
“I am involved in every facet of the company, from measuring out the actual jewelry to overseeing all of the shipments to creating the line sheet.”
As for Jay Cutler’s part in the business? At this point, Kristin herself admitted he was responsible for half of Uncommon James.
As in, half the name.
“[Jay] would kill me if I didn’t give him credit for the ‘uncommon’ part,” Cavallari joked in an interview with People Magazine. Had it been up to her, she would have named it simply “James,” due to it being her daughter’s middle name, her brother’s middle name, and a name she fancied in general for a female.
“That’s, of course, impossible to patent,” she said. “So Jay came up with Uncommon and I loved it. So yes, I have him to thank.”
But was that really all that Jay Cutler, Pro-NFL football player who signed a contract with the Miami Dolphins for $10,000,000 that same year (his final year before retiring), contributed to the jewelry line? From the way Cavallari spoke about the brand in public interviews, she painted a picture of her being the sole visionary leading it. It is interesting to note that we, as outsiders to the industry and their marriage, do not really know how much work, time, effort, or money he actually put in. Listening to Cavallari though, this was her effort alone. But since he was involved in the naming, we can surmise he at least gave his time and attention to her project. Is listening worthless? Is Jay’s time worth anything here?
Did Jay bring nothing to the table?
An episode of Very Cavallari (a reality show following Kristin as she went through the launch and management of Uncommon James) gives us some brief insight into what Jay Cutler likely contributed to the business, other than one word in half of the name.
In a 2-minute clip featured on E Online, Jay drops into the store while Kristin is away to – as Kristin puts it – “terrorize” the employees.
While he mostly lounges around and teases the women, the clip from 2018 shows us several important things:
- Even at this point, it was known that Jay believed he “owned half of the company.” Kristin dismisses it as ridiculous and laughs it off, treating it as just another joke from her then-husband.
- When the employees are working (while Jay says he’s “overseeing [their] operation”), the employees scoff at him and Jay jokes that he “launched” the empire, prompting one of them to remember that he did “use to fill [these forms] out,” referring to the tasks the three of them are busy tackling.
He even suggests an alternative to their working methods, although it’s dismissed by the employees (who have established their own groove and seem to have been running things fine based on the later success of the brand).
While it’s clear Jay was exaggerating some of his contributions to the business for laughs, it’s also apparent that while Kristin mostly speaks about her own hard work put into the business to ensure its launch, behind-the-scenes, Jay was contributing in some manner as well. Even if the contribution became unhelpful or unwanted, it was still there.
What’s more nebulous is to what degree he was contributing, and for how long. From this clip it seems that he was mostly helpful in the naming and then only until Cavallari hired some employees to take over managing specific tasks instead, if he was ever helpful past adding a word here or there.
The idea that Cutler was really contributing a significant amount – monetary or otherwise – to the business, and yet he was not credited as a partner – nor did he take part in any of the press or overt visibility of the brand while it was being formed – seems unlikely, to say the least.
Beyond these hints at what he may have done before Kristin eventually hired employees to bring her vision to life, Jay repeatedly shows up on the Very Cavallari show. However, instead of being shown somehow contributing to the business in more revealing manners, he’s noted to be seen doing such antics as https://pagesix.com/2018/07/25/kristin-cavallari-probably-wont-be-going-into-business-with-husband-jay-cutler/ giving the opinion time and again to fire someone, as if that would solve every problem.
He was a foil – to the mindset and energy the women provided on the show, and to the productivity of the business itself. Such a role could be pivotal in having breakthroughs when it comes to approaching problems from a new angle or distinguishing yourself from your competitors, but it seems that Jay was more often than not only in it for his own entertainment, not so much the success of the business.
Maybe he was playing a role for the cameras? NFL reporters themselves noted that Cutler was “very much himself” on the show.
Cutler is presented mostly as an apathetic bystander with a crazy open schedule and not much ambition to fill it.
This doesn’t have to be a knock on Jay, however. Maybe, instead, it’s a testament to how confident he was that his then-wife could handle the success of Uncommon James on her own.
The keywords being, “on her own.”
Jay was a supporter, naturally, of his wife. As far as is known, he didn’t put up any money in the business, and he was never credited or seen doing the work you would expect of a full-time co-partner, or even a full-time employee. According to TMZ, even his initial desire to own half of the company is merely driven by the fact that “Kristin launched it while they were married.”
Is that enough to claim half of the ownership of a business alone? What sacrifices did Jay have to make? It seems it would be doing Kristin and her employees a disservice to agree.
Did Jay help his Kristin out while she was in the initial stages of the business? Almost certainly.
Did he put in the work and hours of a co-partner, worthy of a 50% stake in the business? Doubtful.
With a 50/50 custody of their 3 kids and their hinted cooperation even despite the split, these two seem reasonable and driven enough to reach their own independent levels of success while still providing loving households to their kids. That said, the idea that Jay should try to snatch half ownership of Kristin’s company seems laughable, and indeed – as we’ve seen on Very Cavallari – that’s all the idea was initially – just a joke. However, is he entitled – well under North Carolina law, yes. He would be entitled, but remember we have courts of equity and there are plenty of reasons to ask for an unequal equitable distribution here for Cavallari.
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