All is not well in the otherworldly world of the second human to walk on the Moon.
Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin has sued his family, including his son Andy Aldrin, former business manager Christina Korp, and several foundations. The suit alleges that the family has taken advantage of the 88-year-old through a de facto guardianship.
Filed on June 7 in a Florida judicial circuit court, and obtained Friday evening by Ars, the lawsuit alleges that Andy Aldrin and Korp used the former astronaut’s personal credit cards, trust accounts, artifacts, and social media accounts for their own purposes. It additionally alleges the following: that the family prevented Aldrin, who has been married three times, from marrying for a fourth time; that the family has “bullied” his romantic interests; and that the family has slandered the astronaut by saying he has dementia or Alzheimer’s.
By suing, Buzz Aldrin seeks to remove Andy Aldrin as the controlling trustee of his estate and to gain full access to his space memorabilia. A spokesman for the Aldrin family declined comment on Friday evening due to the ongoing nature of the legal action.
The lawsuit comes as Aldrin’s verified Twitter account with 1.4 million followers, @TheRealBuzz, became hyperactive on June 18, after more than a month of dormancy. Among his first tweets was a bitter message toward Korp, and another of her clients, fellow astronaut Terry Virts.
Hey Twittersphere, pls RT @buzzs_xtina was terminated and does NOT represent Buzz Aldrin in ANY capacity. Her days of using Buzz’s voice & brand to self-promote/ promote her clients i.e. @AstroTerry are over. [Hope she changes her twitter handle soon as that’s just embarrassing!]
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) June 19, 2018
Aldrin’s first tweet on June 18 after a lengthy hiatus was a retweet of Lisa LaBonte, who had taken to the social medium to ask Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey to call Buzz Aldrin. According to Keith Cowing of NASA Watch, LaBonte and Linn LeBlanc (formerly affiliated with one of Aldrin’s educational foundations) appear to be involved with the astronaut’s management now. LaBonte is listed as a member of a May 2018 filling to create Buzz Aldrin Ventures, LLC.
“His Twitter account account suddenly became super-active, and had a tweet that maligned his longtime assistant and a fellow astronaut out of nowhere,” Cowing told Ars in a phone interview. “The tone and substance of the tweet got my attention. This is really uncharacteristic of Buzz. This is not the Buzz Aldrin I’ve known for decades.”
Sources in the aerospace community have raised concerns about Aldrin in recent days to Ars. They say they have tried to tell the astronaut, who still commands respect in the industry, that his family has his best interests at heart. Aldrin frequently appears at White House space events and is a member of the Users’ Advisory Group of the National Space Council, which is led by Vice President Mike Pence.
Unfortunately, one of these sources said, Aldrin was not receptive. “I told him to finish well,” this aerospace leader told Ars. “He doesn’t listen at all.”
“This is doing real harm to his ability to do what he wants to do,” said another person close to the astronaut. “He wants to be a player in space policy today, and what he’s engaging in right now is not helping that at all.”
This should be a time of celebration for Aldrin, and a moment to cement his legacy. Of the dozen humans who landed on the Moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s, just four remain alive: Aldrin, 88; Dave Scott, 85; Charlie Duke, 82; and Harrison Schmitt, 82. Next year will bring the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, and with Neil Armstrong’s passing in 2012, Aldrin, certainly the most famous living astronaut in the world, is to play a starring role.