NFL star settles lawsuit that said he seduced NC man’s wife

Updated: Aug. 17, 2018 at 8:40 AM EDT
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A star defensive tackle with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles has settled a lawsuit in which a North Carolina man said the player seduced his wife and broke up their marriage, according to Mecklenburg County, NC, court records.

In his alienation of affection lawsuit, Joshua Jeffords of Huntersville said that Eagles player Fletcher Cox seduced his wife when she was on a work trip to Pennsylvania, as reported on by the Charlotte Observer in November 2017. After confronting his wife about the affair, Jeffords said in the lawsuit, his wife visited Pennsylvania multiple times and moved there after putting her belongings in a storage unit.

In a court filing in response to the lawsuit, reported on by the Observer in January 2018, Cox said the man's wife never told him she was married and that "no genuine love or affection" existed between the woman and Cox "by which to alienate."

Court records show the sides agreed to a mediated settlement in July, a couple weeks after saying they'd hit an "impasse."

Cox participated in the settlement talks by phone, records show.

Court records do not reveal the terms of the settlement. Jeffords had sought at least $50,000 in damages, according to the lawsuit he filed in November 2017.

In an email response to the Observer Thursday, Cox's lawyer, Mark Trigg of Atlanta, said he was unable to comment about the settlement "other than to say that the matter has been resolved with neither party admitting any liability to the other."

Jeffords declined to comment when reached by the Observer by phone Thursday. In an email response to the Observer, his lawyer, Christopher Adkins of Huntersville, offered a comment similar to Trigg's: "The lawsuit was resolved with neither party admitting liability to the other. I have no further comment."

The case has drawn national attention, with Jeffords appearing on such shows as ABC's "Good Morning America."

According to the suit, Jeffords said he and his wife were happily married until about September 2017, when he learned of salacious text messages and messages over Snapchat between Cox and his wife. At least two of the text messages from Cox said he wanted to get her pregnant, the lawsuit claimed.

According to the lawsuit, Jeffords' wife sent messages to Cox calling him "boo" and saying she was "loving everything you have to say" and "I really like you … We'd make some damn beautiful babies" and "I want to get to know you babe. I know we are compatible sexually …"

Cox also sent the woman a photo via Snapchat of his genitals, according to the lawsuit.

In response to the lawsuit, lawyers for the player countered: "The relationship … was not the result of seduction or other willful, intentional, malicious, or otherwise nefarious activities by Mr Cox; rather, it was the result of mutual attraction, and accordingly (the wife) knowingly and voluntarily consented to the relationship."

In his response to the lawsuit, Cox acknowledged communicating with Jeffords' wife over Snapchat but sai "no physical contact" occurred between the pair in North Carolina.

Jeffords said in his lawsuit that he was admitted to a facility to seek mental health treatment for "substantial emotional distress."

"It's been a nonstop roller coaster ride of bad emotions," Jeffords told Observer news partner WBTV after filing the lawsuit. "I basically have to restart my whole life over this, and I no longer have the person I thought I was going to be with the rest of my life."

In January, Jeffords filed court papers seeking a divorce from his wife, in part citing the "public ridicule" he's faced.

Staff Researcher Maria Albrough contributed. Some of the material in this story appeared in November 2017 and January 2018 articles on the topic by the author.