Auckland socialite and celebrity Sally Ridge was left with "zero money" after she stopped receiving payments from her ex-partner and former international cricket player Adam Parore, a court has heard.
"I couldn't even go and buy groceries," said Ridge, appearing at the first day of dispute over assets between the ex-couple in the Auckland High Court.
The dispute is centered on the couple's company Small Business Accounting (SBA), and is set down for seven days before Justice Murray Gilbert.
Ridge formerly received payments from the company. However, from September 2011, these payments were stopped "without warning, or justification," by Parore, according to Ridge's lawyer Daniel Grove.
When the payments stopped, Ridge was left without an income, she told the Court.
"It was the worst time of my whole life. Adam had moved on and had a new life. I had zero money," she said.
She was forced to borrow money from her parents, take a mortgage holiday, and has taken out a second mortgage to pay for the litigation.
She wants the situation restored to the pre-September 2011 arrangement and back payments made for the money she believes she is owed.
Ridge's financial position was a lot different when she first entered into a relationship with Parore.
Ridge claims that she brought $2 million to the relationship - cash and equity from her divorce settlement with her ex-husband and former sports star Matthew Ridge.
Parore had an apartment worth approximately $100,000, a share portfolio of $100,000-$200,000, and art valued to $50,000, according to his lawyer Zane Kennedy.
On advice from her mother, Ridge started a family trust because of the financial difference of the couple when they first began their relationship.
"At the commencement of our relationship Adam was in a relatively poor financial position," she said.
And when the couple bought a $2 million home, they entered a property sharing agreement because Ridge's trust was contributing $1.21 million, Ridge told the court.
She estimates she eventually lost $900,000 after the renovation of the Freemans Bay home turned into a rebuild, and was eventually sold in a weak property market.
"It was a lot more expensive than we had anticipated," Ridge said.
Because of his superior financial knowledge Ridge placed the oversight of her finances completely with Parore.
"I don't have a business brain. I would do what Adam would tell me to do. Adam had a law degree and an accountancy background, I 100 per cent trusted him," she said under cross-examination by Kennedy.
At the time Ridge was the director of five companies, including the failed clothing company James and August, and a trustee of three trusts.
Ridge and Parore first moved in together in 2002. The couple were engaged but never married. They have two children together.
The couple separated in 2010 but remained friends until September 2011.
Legal action began in 2011 when Ridge applied to freeze Parore's assets. Parore opposed.
Previous proceedings were ruled confidential, but some details from the hearing can now be reported after a High Court judge lifted the confidentiality order.
However, any financial information regarding Small Business Accounting remains suppressed.