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Her Son Needed Brain Surgery. A Boy Band Star Had Suspicions

The convoluted case of Union J's JJ Hamblett and the ex he accused of having Munchausen by proxy
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2019 11:45 AM CDT
From left, Jaymi Hensley, JJ Hamblett, George Shelley, and Josh Cuthbert from the British band Union J arrive at Wembley Stadium in London on June 9, 2013.   (Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – A sick 5-year-old who was said to need brain surgery had that procedure postponed for six months, and it's because he was caught in the middle of a battle between his mom and his famous father. Caterina Andorfer Lopez, 32, tells the New York Post that shortly before the scheduled surgery on Oct. 10 for her son, Princeton, his third for a debilitating condition called Chiari malformation, her former beau, JJ Hamblett of the boy band Union J, called NewYork-Presbyterian. In that call, per NBC News, Hamblett, 30, is said to have voiced his suspicions that Lopez had mental illness, specifically Munchausen syndrome by proxy, and was exaggerating their son's symptoms. "It seems like she wants my son to be ill," Hamblett said, per a hospital report. A second hospital report notes Hamblett also said he "heard a doctor saying the surgery wasn't necessary."

That call apparently prompted the city's Administration for Children's Services to get involved, and the surgery was put off while an investigation ensued. During that time, Princeton was placed with an aunt and grandmother, until Lopez was able to regain custody, she tells the Post. On April 29, Family Court Judge Jonathan Shim ruled that the case should be dismissed, and chastised ACS for the "attention and manpower" given to the case. Princeton has since had the brain surgery, and Lopez's lawyer says she will be suing ACS for $10 million. Hamblett, meanwhile, tells NBC he was simply a concerned dad. "You really think I could stop a team of professionals from doing an operation that was really needed?" he said in a phone interview. "When I rang them back in October they had the same concerns I did. Any father would have done the same thing." (Read more Munchausen syndrome by proxy stories.)

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