'Hulk' star Lou Ferrigno's wife alleges abuse in divorce filing

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Hulk’ star Lou Ferrigno’s wife of 43 years Carla files for divorce, accusing him of openly flaunting his mistress and keeping her ‘trapped’ in an abusive marriage following her dementia diagnosis

  • Carlotta Ferrigno, 74, responded to husband’s dementia claims in court filings
  • She leveled disturbing allegations in petitions for divorce and restraining order
  • It comes after Lou accused his own daughter of elder abuse against Carla

The wife of the ‘The Incredible Hulk’ star Lou Ferrigno has filed for divorce, accusing him of flaunting a mistress, and trapping her in an abusive and controlling marriage after she was diagnosed with dementia, DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal.

Ferrigno’s wife Carla, 74, made the disturbing claims in recent court filings in San Luis Obispo County, California, as she opposed his attempt to establish a court-ordered conservatorship to control her affairs.

It comes after Ferrigno, 71, claimed in court that Carla has ‘advanced dementia’ and accused their own daughter, 42-year-old Shanna of ‘elder abuse’ for attempting to drive Carla to the bank to withdraw $500,000.

In response, Carla now accuses Ferrigno, her husband of 43 years, of covertly cutting off her access to their joint finances, and of keeping her physically isolated to prevent her from divorcing him.

In a signed declaration, she also alleges that Ferrigno has a brazen affair with a mistress named Lisa, ‘with whom he spends most of his time, traveling to his various appearances and flaunting in my face even when he is home.’

Lou Ferrigno is seen with wife Carla and their children Lou Jr and Shanna in 2020. Carla has filed for divorce and is firing back at Lou’s claims her daughter is responsible for ‘elder abuse’

Ferrigno was a bodybuilding rival of Arnold Schwarzenegger before becoming an actor best known for The Incredible Hulk

‘While his infidelity may not be abuse, when I get upset with him about her being around, he physically intimidates me, by getting into my face and using his much larger size—he will remind everyone that he is the Hulk—compared to my slight stature, to scare and control me into submission,’ said Carla.

‘While towering over me, he yells at me, claiming horrible things about me and making sure that I understand that I am ruining his life and that he will not care for me,’ she adds.

Ferrigno was a bodybuilding rival of Arnold Schwarzenegger before becoming an actor best known for The Hulk – and their competition was the subject of the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron.

Ferrigno’s attorney Vatche Zetjian responded in a statement to DailyMail.com, saying: ‘Lou’s priority remains his wife’s welfare. All of the Restraining Orders recently mentioned in the press have been suspended upon mutual agreement of the parties. 

‘Lou and Carla, through counsel, have agreed to mediate and Lou’s hope remains that they reach an amicable resolution. Lou requests privacy for all his family members at this time.’

Although Carla confirms in the filings that she has been diagnosed with dementia, both her doctor and attorney say she has consistently expressed her desire for a divorce for years, and has the capacity to understand that decision. 

‘Lou decided to hatch what can only be described as a Machiavellian scheme to try to trap Carla in the marriage so that he can hold on to all the assets Carla and Lou accumulated throughout their 43 year marriage,’ Carla’s attorneys wrote in a filing. 

Those assets include the $2.9 million mansion the couple purchased in 2019 in Arroyo Grande, California. 

California’s community property law typically requires any assets earned during a marriage, or purchased with those earnings, be equally split in a divorce. 

Text messages between Lou and Shanna, including in the filings, purport to show Lou lamenting that Carla wanted to divorce him over a year ago.

In multiple messages, Lou shares his concern that a divorce would mean the loss of their mansion, writing ‘She can take my house away’ and ‘she wants to take away my beautiful home.’

Carla’s attorneys alleged that Ferrigno is keeping her ‘trapped’ in their marriage because he fears losing the $2.9 million mansion they bought in 2019

Text messages between Lou and Shanna, including in the filings, purport to show Lou lamenting that Carla wanted to divorce him over a year ago

It comes after Ferrigno, 71, accused their own daughter, 42-year-old Shanna (above) of ‘elder abuse’ for attempting to drive Carla to the bank to withdraw $500,000 

According to the court filings reviewed by DailyMail.com, Carla met with her attorneys Gary Hunt and Alex Newsum on September 8 to seek a divorce.

‘Without divulging any attorney-client communications, I can state that Carla expressed a clear desire to divorce her husband, Lou Ferrigno, and to hire our office to pursue that action,’ Newsum said in a signed declaration. 

Newsum said he followed up with a phone call with Carla’s neurologist of the past three years, Dr. Robert Price, to consult on her mental state.

According to Newsum, and verified in a signed letter from Price, the doctor stated his belief that Carla had the capacity to understand and express her desires regarding a divorce, and pursue the necessary legal action.

Price in his September 13 letter wrote that during their first meeting in 2020, Carla had ‘complained bitterly’ about her marriage, in particular the recent move to Arroyo Grande and the mansion, which she felt was ‘solely inspired by her husband and his needs.’

On September 14, Carla’s lawyers filed a petition for divorce, and a request for a restraining order, which included declaration describing the alleged abuse and a supporting statement from hired caregiver Kari Shaw. 

‘Through recent filings and statements through his attorneys, Lou has made it known that I have been diagnosed with dementia, but what he leaves out is that his own frustration with that fact and my aging in a way that prevents me from keeping up with him, has led to him being abusive of me in many ways,’ she said in the declaration. 

‘I do not deny that I am not in the same condition as I was when I was younger, but I know what is going on around me, how Lou treats me, and that he is trying to ensure that I am treated as completely incompetent so that he can use our estate and leave me to die,’ she continued.

‘I know that I want a divorce and that Lou is trying to stop that by isolating me from other family members,’ said Carla.

Lou and Carla Ferrigno are pictured in 1985 in Los Angeles. They married in 1980

Lou Ferrigno was a famous bodybuilder and later actor in the 1970s and 80s

Carla also appeared to address Lou’s prior claims that her daughter, Shanna, attempted to trick her into withdrawing $500,000 from his bank account — though the filing does not explicitly say she is describing the same incident. 

In a restraining order request, Lou claimed Shanna, a fitness trainer, and her aunt, Carla’s sister Pam Voge, were attempting to siphon Carla’s assets, and accused them of ‘financially exploiting’ Carla. 

Carla said in her declaration: ‘I believed that I had access to some joint accounts and credit cards, but recently went to the bank to access this, and Lou had used estate planning documents to limit my access and he was notified at my attempt, came to the bank and made sure that I was not able to access our money, in any way.’

The declaration makes disturbing allegations that Lou severely restricts Carla’s movements within the mansion by locking interior doors, restricting her to her bedroom and the kitchen.

She alleges that he has failed to make the home safer for her declining mental condition by installing traction on the stairs, or a fence around the pool. 

She claims that her bed smells like dog urine, because her 17-year old dog had difficulty going down stairs to get outside, and that Lou refuses to steam clean the carpet.

‘Lou has and is continuing to assert total control over me by way of physical intimidation, emotional abuse, restricting my movement within our own home, depriving me of access to our estate, and, most concerning to me, trying to make sure that I do not have access to my family, including our own children,’ said Carla. 

She alleged that Lou’s restraining order request against Shanna was an attempt to cut her off from family who could help.

‘While for a long time Lou was willing to allow me to be cared for by our daughter and my sister, as well as hired care takers, now that they are calling him out on his abuse, he is taking steps to limit my contact with them,’ said Carla. 

Carla told the court that she would like her daughter Shanna to manage her affairs, or alternatively, her son Lou Jr. 

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