Loading articles...

Incoming viceregal Julie Payette drops bid to seal her U.S. divorce records

Last Updated Aug 22, 2017 at 1:20 pm EDT

Julie Payette smiles on Parliament Hill in Ottawa after she was introduced as governor-general designate, Thursday July 13, 2017. Incoming governor general Payette says she's dropping her attempt to block access to documents concerning her 2015 divorce in the United States.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

OTTAWA – Incoming governor general Julie Payette says she’ll drop an attempt to block access to documents concerning her 2015 divorce in the United States.

In a written statement issued Monday to a media consortium challenging her in court, Payette said she decided to drop her bid for transparency reasons.

Payette said her initial move to prevent several Canadian media organizations from viewing the records was aimed at preserving her privacy and protect her family.

She added it was consistent with the legal principles governing matriomonial and family law cases in her home province of Quebec and in Canada.

“Though a Maryland court was currently considering an appeal to maintain our family’s privacy, for reasons of transparency and to leave no doubt, I have decided to voluntarily drop this appeal and release the divorce files,” Payette said in the statement.

“I trust Canadians and media will distinguish between matters of public interest and private life.”

The retired Canadian astronaut said she has done everything possible to turn the page and act in the best interests of her teenage son.

“As I move forward, it is my son I think of first,” she wrote. “His relationship with both his parents is paramount and this is what I will continue to safeguard.”

Payette began divorce proceedings in 2013 from her spouse, William “Billie” Flynn, a retired Air Force pilot who now is a Lockheed Martin test pilot for the F-35 fighter jet.

The lengthy divorce proceedings ended in late June of this year, based on online Maryland court records.

The motions to seal the proceedings as well as accompanying affidavits were filed in Maryland court in mid-July.

Payette is expected to start her new job in the fall, replacing the outgoing David Johnston, who is retiring.